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Appeals court hears discrimination case against archdiocese
2019-11-07

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On Nav. 5, attorneys for former Catholic church music director Sandor Demkovich appeared in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in oral arguments against the Archdiocese of Chicago and Calumet City's St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic Parish.

Kristina Buchthal Alkass of Schaumburg-based Lavelle Law argued before a three-judge panel, answering questions about whether the federal appeals court should allow Demkovich's claims of harassment and hostile work environment to proceed. Demkovich, who is gay, filed suit in December 2016 after he was terminated from his job as a music director at St. Andrew when he married his longtime partner in 2014.

The suit alleges that Demkovich was subjected to harassment and a hostile work environment based on sex, sexual orientation, marital status and disability while he was employed as music director during 2012-14 at St. Andrew.

On Sept. 30, 2018, Judge Edmund Chang in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that Demkovich's claims for hostile work environment and harassment as to his disability could proceed. However, Chang dismissed Demkovich's harassment and hostile work environment claims as to sex, sexual orientation and marital status. The archdiocese appealed that order to the federal appeals court, claiming that the litigation infringes on the church's constitutional rights under the First Amendment.

The appeals court has not given a date for its ruling.

Windy City Times reached out to the archdiocese and St. Andrew for responses. The archdiocese stated, "We do not comment on lawsuits."


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