Trainee priest loses overtime fight
Published 17/03/2010 | 08:16
A US court has ruled that trainee priests are not covered by overtime laws.
An appeal court upheld a lower court ruling in the case of Cesar Rosas, a Catholic seminarian in Mexico who was assigned to a ministry training programme in Washington state.
He sued the Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle, saying that during his training he performed maintenance work for the church and assisted with Mass.
He contends he should be compensated according to Washington's minimum wage law for what he says were multiple overtime hours.
The appeals court agreed with the district court's decision that the claim fits within the "ministerial exception" to employment laws on issues such as compensation.
The judges noted that the First Amendment requires such an exception, on grounds that such laws might interfere with religious institutions' employment decisions concerning their ministers.