Biel v. St. James School, No. 17-55180 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) against St. James after she was terminated from her teaching position when she told the school that she had breast cancer and would need to miss work to undergo chemotherapy. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the school, holding that, based on the totality of the circumstances test under Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. E.E.O.C., 565 U.S. 171 (2012), the First Amendment's ministerial exception did not foreclose plaintiff's claim. In this case, plaintiff did not have any credentials, training, or ministerial background; there was no religious component to her liberal studies degree or teaching credential; St. James had no religious requirements for her position; and St. James did not hold plaintiff out as a minister.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 25, 2019.