A Massachusetts Superior Court judge has denied Gordon College’s motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s discrimination and retaliation case based on the so-called “ministerial exception” to Massachusetts’ anti-discrimination laws.

In that case, the plaintiff claimed that Gordon College refused to promote her in retaliation for her opposition to the school’s anti-LGBTQI policies. Gordon College requested that the Court dismiss the case as a matter of law under the “ministerial exception,” which precludes application of the Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws to certain employment decisions made by religious institutions. The Court rejected the College’s argument, finding that dismissal was inappropriate because the parties genuinely disputed whether Gordon College qualified as a “religious institution,” whether the plaintiff was a “religious teacher,” and whether Gordon College was engaged in expressive association central to its mission.


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