The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai A Professional Corporation

Worker sues Catholic Diocese over contract dispute in California

Employment laws are meant to maintain a safe environment in the workplace. These laws protect workers as well as employers in order to ensure all parties are treated fairly. However, many times these laws are not exactly straightforward and are open to interpretation. This may be the case in a recent contract dispute lawsuit initiated by an employee working for the Catholic Diocese in California.

The woman employee was working as a teacher for Holy Trinity Catholic School when the dispute erupted. At the time the woman was being harassed by her ex-husband who was physically abusive. The woman had filed a restraining order against her ex-husband, however he still decided to come to the school where the woman was teaching in order to continue harassing the woman.

This caused the school administrators to become concerned about the children's safety. The school decided to not renew the woman's teaching contract and claimed that her ex-husband was a danger to the children attending the school. The woman argues that the school was in violation of Canon Law as well as employment discrimination laws. However, a 2012 Supreme Court ruling stated that religious organizations can claim exemption from these laws.

However, the school will still have to present its legal argument in court in order to defend itself against the contract dispute lawsuit filed in California. Since the defendant may attempt to use the Supreme Court decision to claim exemption from employment discrimination laws, the defendant will have to fully understand the proper context of the court decisions. The defendant will then have to apply this case law to the relevant statutes as well as this specific situation at hand.

Source:, Domestic Violence Victim Suing Catholic Diocese For Breach Of Contract, Megan Burke and Maureen Cavanaugh, Sept. 10, 2013

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