Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Friday, April 02, 2004

Mashgiach Falls Within Ministerial Exemption of the FLSA - 4th Circuit

For a case more interesting for its insight into an aspect of Orthodox Judaism, than a case of wide application see Shaliehsabou v. Hebrew Home of Greater Washington, Inc. (4th Cir. 4/02/04) [pdf]. A mashgiach is "an inspector appointed by a board of Orthodox rabbis to guard against any violation of the Jewish dietary laws." Here the majority found him covered by the "ministerial exception" to the FLSA, an exemption not found in the literal wording of the statute. In fact, the dissent pointedly argued that there was no such exemption, and if there were, it would not go as far as the majority holding would take it. Judge Luttig found it so misguided that he urged the plaintiff to seek en banc re-hearing, and if unsuccessful, to petition for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. A suggestion I have no doubt will be honored.

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