NLRB Disentangles Itself From Religious Education Institutions

On June 10, 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) renounced jurisdiction over faculty employees at most religious educational institutions. The Bethany College case overruled the NLRB’s 2014 Pacific Lutheran University decision, through which many NLRB Regional Directors had ordered union elections at religiously-affiliated schools (such as a Catholic university in Seattle) In Bethany College, the NLRB adopted a new jurisdictional standard, adopted from a 2002 opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, University of Great Falls v. NLRB, under which it will not assert jurisdiction over an institution that: (a) holds itself out to the public as a religious institution, (b) is nonprofit, and (c) is religiously affiliated.

Alabama COVID-19 Update: Governor Ivey Issues Relaxed Safer At Home Order; Birmingham Ordinance Requires Face Masks

Alabamians are currently under a stay-at-home order that Governor Kay Ivey issued on April 4, 2020,which shut down all non-essential business. On April 28, 2020, Governor Ivey announced at a press conference that she approved a “Safer at Home” order, which goes into effect on Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. The order will relax many of the restrictions found in the earlier order and should allow some Alabama employers to put their employees back to work.

The NLRB Goes Back to Church (Schools), Gets Entangled

n our June 2015 blog post, “NLRB Moves to Assert Jurisdiction Over Religious Educational Institutions,” we reported that Regional Directors of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were beginning to exercise jurisdiction over religiously-affiliated colleges and universities—allowing unions to organize those institutions’ employees—following the NLRB’s decision last year in <Pacific Lutheran University. Last week, the Regional Director (RD) of the NLRB’s Region 19 (which is based in Seattle) pushed the limits of that decision to exercise jurisdiction over Seattle University, a Catholic institution founded and operated by the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits).

NLRB Moves to Assert Jurisdiction Over Religious Educational Institutions

Before December of 2014, religious colleges and universities could generally assume that under the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) “substantial religious character” test, the NLRB would decline to assert jurisdiction over them because of their religious missions. The Board’s Pacific Lutheran University decision, however, changed the NLRB standard to assert jurisdiction over religious educational institutions.

Alabama Heightens Attention on Misclassified Employees

The U.S. Department of Labor continues its “misclassification initiative” by adding Alabama to its list of state partners. On October 2, 2014, Alabama Labor Commissioner Fitzgerald Washington and DOL regional director Wayne Kotowski signed a memorandum of understanding designed to coordinate enforcement and facilitate information sharing in an effort to reduce misclassification of workers. The memorandum enables the agencies to coordinate and cooperate in administrative and criminal investigations, refer complaints or potential violations to one another, notify each other of requests for information affecting shared data, provide testimony, and exchange statistical data (among other things).

Alabama’s New “Guns in the Parking Lot” Law Takes Effect on August 1, 2013

On August 1, 2013, Alabama laws regarding firearms will change to permit employees to bring guns to the parking lots of their workplaces, if certain conditions are met. Provided those conditions are met, an employer may not punish an employee for possessing a firearm on that part of the employer’s premises and an employee punished in violation of this statute may sue the employer.