Share

Current Events

Monday, May 30, 2022

NJ Age and Disability Discrimination Lawyer, Must Individual States Follow US Supreme Court Rulings as to Rights of Employees?

Yes, there are binding precedents in the US Supreme Court as to certain employment law decisions that states must follow. Both federal courts and all state courts are obligated to follow Supreme Court precedents because Supreme Court precedents are binding precedents on all state and federal courts. This is true for employment discrimination cases and other types of employees’ rights cases. The US Supreme Court in recent years with few exceptions has issued rulings exhibiting little encouragement for workers’ rights.

By way of example, in 2020, employee rights’ advocates were alarmed when the US Supreme Court ruled that Catholic school teachers cannot sue for disability or age employment discrimination under federal laws.

In Our Lady of Guadalupe Sch. v. Morrissey-Berru, 140 S. Ct. 2049, decided July 8, 2020, which combined two cases, the US Supreme Court ruled that teachers who work at Catholic schools cannot sue for employment discrimination under Title VII and other civil rights laws. This ruling affects hundreds of thousands of teachers who work in religious schools, not just Catholic schools. Among Catholic schools alone, lay women and men comprise more than 97% of the Catholic school workforce.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote the majority opinion, holding that anti-discrimination laws, disability and age bias laws, do not protect teachers in Catholic schools. Justice Alito said the First Amendment’s protection of religious freedom forbids courts from interfering in the internal workings of religious institutions. This ruling affects thousands of teachers at Catholic elementary and secondary schools.

Justice Sotomayor, with whom Justice Ginsburg joined, issued a dissenting opinion, which expresses viewpoints similar to many employee rights’ advocates’ reactions to this decision. Justice Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion, states in part:

“Two employers fired their employees allegedly because one had breast cancer and the other was elderly. ......, the majority shields those employers from disability and age-discrimination claims. In the Court’s view, because the employees taught short religion modules at Catholic elementary schools, they were “ministers” of the Catholic faith and thus could be fired for any reason, whether religious or nonreligious, benign or bigoted, without legal recourse. The Court reaches this result even though the teachers taught primarily secular subjects, lacked substantial religious titles and training, and were not even required to be Catholic. In foreclosing the teachers’ claims, the Court skews the facts, ignores the applicable standard of review, and collapses ....careful analysis into a single consideration: whether a church thinks its employees play an important religious role. Because that simplistic approach has no basis in law and strips thousands of schoolteachers of their legal protections, I respectfully dissent...........

Today’s decision thus invites the “potential for abuse” against which circuit courts have long warned. ....It risks allowing employers to decide for themselves whether discrimination is actionable. ....... As a result, the Court absolves religious institutions of any animus completely irrelevant to their religious beliefs or practices and all but forbids courts to inquire further about whether the employee is in fact a leader of the religion.

Pause, for a moment, on the Court’s conclusion: Even if the teachers were not Catholic, and even if they were forbidden to participate in the church’s sacramental worship, they would nonetheless be “ministers” of the Catholic faith simply because of their supervisory role over students in a religious school. That stretches the law and logic past their breaking points. (Indeed, it is ironic that Our Lady of Guadalupe School seeks complete immunity for age discrimination when its teacher handbook promised not to discriminate on that basis.) As the Government once put it, even when a school has a “pervasively religious atmosphere,” its faculty are unlikely ministers when “there is no requirement that its teachers even be members of [its] religious denomination.”

 ...... It is hard to imagine a more concrete example than these cases......The Court’s conclusion portends grave consequences.....thousands of Catholic teachers may lose employment-law protections because of today’s outcome........And that says nothing of the rights of countless coaches, camp counselors, nurses, social-service workers, in-house lawyers, media-relations personnel, and many others who work for religious institutions. All these employees could be subject to discrimination for reasons completely irrelevant to their employers’ religious tenets.”

               This sweeping result is profoundly unfair. The Court is not only wrong on the facts, but its error also risks upending antidiscrimination protections for many employees of religious entities.”

If You Quit Your Job, You May Lose Right to Prevail in a Lawsuit

In many instances of discrimination, if you quit your job, you may lose right to prevail in a lawsuit unless you first take certain legally required measures to preserve your job while you are still employed. If you are thinking of quitting, or think you will be fired, you should contact this office immediately to discuss your options in the safest way for you.

What You Can Do

I am an aggressive and compassionate employment law attorney who is experienced in successfully representing persons who were discriminated against at work and was successful in recovering multiple six figure settlement moneys for them. If you are thinking of resigning, or think you will be fired, or have been fired, it is important that you consult with an attorney who is experienced in employment law. I am successful in bringing employee lawsuits against governmental entities and private employers and recovering money for victims of discrimination.

If You Complained or if You Were Terminated

If you think you have been retaliated against for complaining about or reporting to your employer what you believe are your employer’s discrimination or illegal practices, it is essential for you to contact an experienced, competent and successful employment discrimination and whistleblower attorney who will be aggressive about enforcing your rights as soon as possible.

If you are being subjected to such unlawful workplace actions, contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law today for a free consultation. I accept whistleblower and discrimination cases from all over New Jersey.

New Jersey employment attorney, Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law serves clients throughout the state, including Bergen, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Ocean, Union, Camden, Passaic, and Morris Counties with locations in Southern, Central, Western and Northern NJ to meet with clients.



Archived Posts

2022
June
May
April
March
February
January
2021
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
March
February
January
2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2018
December
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
2016
December
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
2013
2012



© 2022 Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law | Disclaimer
912 Kinderkamack Road, Suite 3, River Edge, NJ 07661
| Phone: 201-599-9600

Employment/Civil Rights Law | Disability Law | Employee Performance Evaluations | Wills and Estate Planning | School Law and Educational Rights | Municipal Court Appearances | General Practice | | Employment Law | Testimonials

Attorney Website Design by
Zola Creative