2nd Circuit dismisses minister’s age discrimination suit

The Second Circuit dismissed an age discrimination suit by a minister against his denomination, congregation, and bishop — but only on the second go around. Hankins v.  NY Ann’l Conf. of the United Methodist Church, et al., 07-4556.

The district court first dismissed under the constitutional “ministerial exception” to the ADEA; the Court of appeals reversed, holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applied.  On remand, the district court held that the ministerial exception still applied, even if rooted in the RFRA.  And on the second appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the RFRA was trumped by the US Constitution, and affirming the application of the constitutional ministerial exception.