Religious Institutions

News & Analysis as of

Shaking Down the Thunder From the Sky: Part 2 of Notre Dame's Challenge to the Contraception Mandate

For the second time in as many years, the Seventh Circuit has declined to grant Notre Dame’s request for an injunction exempting the university from the contraception requirements of the Affordable Care Act. As was true back...more

Religious Institutions Update: May 2015

Religious institutions commonly keep ministry supporters and members abreast of developments through newsletters, correspondence and other communications. Sometimes, the developments reported are embarrassing to those...more

Religious Freedom and the Affordable Care Act

The fascinating interplay that weaves between the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to march...more

The ERISA Litigation Newsletter - April 2015

Editor's Overview - In this month's Newsletter, Robert Rachal discusses recent "church plan" rulings where some federal judges have declined to give deference to long-standing, consistent guidance from the Internal...more

The NLRB Weighs In on Faculty Unions for Religiously-Affiliated Schools

Back on December 16, 2014 the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”), in its Pacific Lutheran University decision, announced a new standard for the exercise of its jurisdiction over religiously-affiliated colleges and...more

In Childhood Sexual Abuse Case, California Appellate Court Finds Church has No Duty to Prevent Its Members from Harming Each Other

In Conti v. Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. (filed 4/13/15, A136631), the California Court of Appeal, First District, reversed an award of $8 million in punitive damages, on the ground that a Jehovah’s...more

NLRB Jurisdictional Ruling Clears Path for Unionization of Religious Schools

A National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) Regional Director recently issued a ruling that could clear the way for more unionization of faculty members at private, religious schools. The Regional Director for NLRB Region 19...more

Utah passes historic legislation against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination

On March 12, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed into law newly enacted legislation aimed at preventing employment and housing discrimination against gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals. The monumental legislation...more

St. Louis Homeless Shelter Files RLUIPA Claim and Requests Preliminary Injunction to Continue Operations

Plaintiff, New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc., (“New Life”), an interdenominational Christian Church formed in 1972 by Reverend Larry Rice, recently sued the City of St. Louis, Missouri (the “City”) in the Eastern District of...more

Utah Legislature Expands Antidiscrimination Laws to Address LGBT and Religious Rights

Last night, the Utah House passed landmark legislation (the "Act") already approved by the Senate that modifies Utah's antidiscrimination and fair housing acts to provide protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender...more

Religious Institutions Update: March 2015

Several interrelated legal developments make it more important than ever for religious institutions intending to qualify for exemptions to generally applicable laws to do the hard work before litigation or administrative...more

Spiritual Director Doesn't Have a Prayer When it Comes to Her Discrimination and Termination Claims

Religious employers can rejoice once again, as yet another court upholds the ministerial exception and dismisses an employee's discrimination and termination claims....more

The NLRB Appears To Clear The Path Toward Greater Unionization Of Private Colleges And Universities

In a decision notable for not just one, but two revisions to established National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) analytical framework, the Board appears to open the door toward increased unionization of private...more

Appellate Division Review - Business Judgment Rule, Privilege, Child Support, Animal Rights

The more things change, the more they remain the same. As we enter a new year, New York’s Appellate Division faces the same and greater challenges: increasing caseloads, staff shortages, judicial vacancies, and legal disputes...more

Employee Could Proceed With Whistleblower Lawsuit Based On Employer’s Mistaken Belief She Had Complained

Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ, 231 Cal. App. 4th 913 (2014) - Cecilia Diego, the former assistant director of Pilgrim United’s preschool, sued her former employer for retaliation in violation of public...more

No Room at Nut Tree. But Why?

A pregnancy clinic that offers ultrasounds and counseling to expectant mothers signed a lease last October at the Nut Tree Road Medical Arts Center in Vacaville California. Alpha Pregnancy Clinics was looking for more square...more

Illinois District Court Holds That a Plan Maintained by a Religiously Affiliated Organization Is Not a Church Plan

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois recently had the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of whether a religiously affiliated employer was exempt from federal regulation of its employee...more

Kennesaw, Georgia Back in the News: Suffa Dawat Center Files “Preventative” Lawsuit

In December, we reported that Kennesaw, Georgia’s City Council reversed its initial decision to deny an Islamic place of worship and education center in a retail shopping plaza.  Despite the approval, the applicant, Suffa...more

Religious Institution - January 2015

Experience over the last couple decades teaches that religious institutions face as much or perhaps more liability than secular organizations and, therefore, need to take risk management seriously. From operating their own...more

“Integral Yoga” Group and Swami Hope to Find Their Inner Balance in Federal Court; Lawsuit Alleges Religious Discrimination by...

The Spirit of Aloha Temple (“Spirit”) and Fredrick R. Honig a/k/a Swami Swaroopananda are suing the County of Maui and the Maui Planning Commission (“Commission”) over the Commission’s denial of their proposal to use an...more

NLRB Issues Significant Decision on Faculty Unionization

The National Labor Relations Board (Board) recently ruled that it would assert jurisdiction over Pacific Lutheran University's (PLU’s) full-time contingent faculty members. In the context of a union's attempt to organize...more

Glee Camp Not So Happy: Auburn’s Zoning Enforcement Action Alleged to Violate RLUIPA’s Equal Terms Provision

The First Presbyterian Church of Auburn (the “Church”) has hosted a musical theater day camp (“Glee Camp”) in Auburn, New York for approximately three years. In July of 2014, Auburn’s code enforcement officer issued a...more

NRLB Significantly Alters Framework for Analyzing Jurisdiction over Private College and University Faculty

Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued its decision in Pacific Lutheran University and Services Employees International Union (Pacific Lutheran). In a ruling that could expand union formation among faculty...more

The National Labor Relations Board Strikes Again – How Managerial Are Your Faculty and How Religious Is Your Institution?

In the latest example of dramatic changes to well-developed principles of federal labor law and policy, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or “Board”) issued its long awaited decision in Pacific Lutheran University,...more

St. Anthony, Minnesota to Pay $200,000 to Settle RLUIPA Suit Brought by Department of Justice

Earlier this year, we reported on the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) against the City of St. Anthony Village, Minnesota (“City”) over the City’s denial of Abu Haraira Islamic Center’s (“Center”)...more

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