Is a Nun an Employee?

An Orthodox Christian nun in Canada is suing her former convent for wrongful constructive dismissal. The ex-nun alleges that she worked for the convent for 14 years, providing services that included sewing, caring for elderly sisters, and hosting guests, until she quit, allegedly because of mistreatment by the other nuns. She now seeks back pay and damages. The convent argues that nuns are not “employees” in the civil-law sense, but volunteers who vow to live with other nuns in poverty, chastity, and obedience. “Monastic work is for God and not for people,” the convent argues. “It is not a career.” An article from a Toronto newspaper about the lawsuit is here.

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