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First Liberty Briefing: Do Ministries Have the Right to Hire and Fire Staff Without Government Interference?

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A court found that a Catholic Diocese in Indiana had the right to make staffing decisions according to their religious mission.

Thank you for joining us for the First Liberty Briefing, an exclusive podcast where host Jeremy Dys—also First Liberty Senior Counsel—provides an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.

Mary Beth Ginalski was hired by the Catholic Diocese of Gary, Indiana to be the Principal for Andrean High School. Her contract specifically noted that the job of Principal of a Catholic High School is a ministry. It went on to explain that such a ministry is witnessed not only in the manner in which the Principal performs his or her tasks, but also in the example the Principal sets for the teachers and students both in and outside the school and parish. Further, the contract noted that the Principal coordinates faith-building opportunities within the school community, oversees the Theology Program, and ensures that the Catholic Faith is integrated with the learning process in coordination with the Campus Chaplain.

Diocese in Indiana had the right to make staffing decisions

Image: John J. Watkins

So, when Ginalski sued the Diocese over her termination, the question became whether the Diocese could choose its ministerial leader and, therefore, be exempt from employment laws that would have otherwise presented a legal burden to the school.

The Court found Ginalski to meet the definition of “minister” and that the Diocese was entitled to use the same ministerial exception that permits churches and other religious organizations to ensure its ministry is non-hindered by those it believes may not fully advance its ministry objectives.

Religious Freedom means that religious ministries should be able to direct their religious mission, which includes staffing decisions, without interference by the State.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting Religious Liberty for all Americans, visit

First Liberty Institute is the largest organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious freedom for all Americans. Find out more here.

(This podcast is by First Liberty Briefing. Discovered by e2 media network and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not emedia network, and audio is streamed directly from their servers.)

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