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Teachers at a Religious Preschool Not Considered Ministers

California Appeals Court says the four-factor test for ministerial status in Hosanna-Tabor was not satisfied.

Key Point 8-10.01. The civil courts have consistently ruled that the First Amendment prevents them from applying employment laws to the relationship between a church and a minister.

A California appeals court ruled that the civil courts could resolve a dispute regarding the claim of teachers in a synagogue’s preschool to benefits under a state wage-and-hour law.

Background and teaching requirements

The California Labor Commissioner sued a Jewish synagogue (the “Temple”) claiming that it had violated various provisions of the California Labor Code by failing to provide its preschool teachers with rest breaks, uninterrupted meal breaks, and overtime pay.

The Temple is a Reformed Jewish synagogue whose mission is to promote the Jewish faith and serve and strengthen the Jewish community.

The Temple's early childhood center (ECC), which employs approximately 40 teachers, is an ...

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  • March 30, 2020

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