Methodist Minister …Employment Status?


As there was no intention to contractually create a legally binding working relationship with God, it was considered Ministers were not employees.

Author: Dennis Chapman
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 10 years old.

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In the recent case of Moore V President of the Methodist Conference, it was argued as to what their employment status was. The Respondent had to date treated them as a non employee, claiming that as there was no intention to contractually create a legally binding working relationship with God, Ministers were not employees and thus not entitled to the rights employees are afforded, such as unfair dismissal rights.

This argument had been seen previously in the Court of Appeal case of, President of the Methodist Conference v Parfitt which the Respondent argued and in the first instance won. The Claimant appealed the Tribunals decision claiming that she was an employee due to the contract of service that she was providing.

The Claimants appeal was successful, and the Appeal Tribunal followed the ruling in the House of Lords case, Percy V Board of National Mission of the Church of Scotland which indicated that the spiritual relationship was not the primary factor to be considered here. She was subject to control by the Respondent, paid remuneration from the Respondent and was subject to remain in their post for a set number of years. It was thus held that under the usual control tests that the Claimant was in fact an Employee and able to pursue her claim of unfair dismissal against the Respondent.

Dennis Chapman

In remembrance of Dennis Chapman 1951 -2015

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