All Posts By

Erik Stanley

Federal Court: Women’s Homeless Shelter is not a Public Accommodation

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Late last week, the federal court in Alaska granted a homeless shelter’s request to stop the City of Anchorage from designating is as a public accommodation under the Anchorage Municipal Code. My friends and former colleagues at Alliance Defending Freedom have been litigating this case. The issues in this case may sound technical, but what is at stake has profound ministry implications for nonprofit ministries. Read More

7th Circuit says church organist cannot sue for employment discrimination

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Yesterday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided an important case under the ministerial exception to employment discrimination laws. The case was Sterlinski v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago and it involved a lawsuit brought by Stanislaw Sterlinski who claimed he was fired from his position as a church organist because of his Polish heritage. Mr. Sterlinski used to hold the position as Director of Music but was then demoted to the job of organist and subsequently terminated from employment. The Court stated that, while Sterlinski was Director of Music, he was a “minister” for purposes of the ministerial exception to Title VII and could have been fired for any reason. But the question the Court wrestled with was whether Sterlinski could be considered a “minister” after he was demoted to the position of organist and, more importantly, who gets to decide the answer to that question? Read More