The National Labor Relations Board recently overturned nearly 40 years of legal precedent prohibiting faculty members at religious universities from forming or joining a union because doing so could violate the religion clauses of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In another example of dramatically expanding the scope of Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, the Board granted itself jurisdiction over university faculty members unless the institution first provides appropriate evidence to show it offers a religious educational environment and then shows that it holds its faculty members out as performing a specific religious function. According to the Board, faculty members who are not expected to perform a specific role in creating or maintaining a school’s religious educational environment are no different from faculty at nonreligious colleges who are subject to the NLRB’s jurisdiction.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at email@example.com.