Thursday, June 11, 2020

NLRB Reduces Its Jurisdiction Over Religious Colleges

In Bethany College, (NLRB, June 10, 2020), the National Labor Relations Board overruled its 2014 decision in Pacific Lutheran that had expanded NLRB jurisdiction over religiously-affiliated colleges.  The NLRB said in part:
[W]e now hold that the Board does not have jurisdiction over matters concerning teachers or faculty at bona fide religious educational institutions. We further hold that the test set forth in the D.C. Circuit’s Great Falls case is the appropriate test.... Under this bright-line test, the Board will leave the determination of what constitutes religious activity versus secular activity precisely where it has always belonged: with the religiously affiliated institutions themselves, as well as their affiliated churches and, where applicable, the relevant religious community. Applying the Great Falls test will remove any subjective judgments about the nature of the institutions’ activities or those of its faculty members.... It will prevent the type of intrusive inquiries that the Supreme Court prohibited in Catholic Bishop.... Finally, and importantly, it will provide the Board with a mechanism for determining when self-identified religious schools are not, in fact, bona fide religious institutions, therefore protecting the rights of employees working for those institutions.
[Thanks to Steven H. Sholk for the lead.]