upon their institution, faculty members in California are covered
by a variety of laws. Faculty at public institutions fall under
Education Code and California's
Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA), while
faculty at private universities and colleges may be subject to the
Labor Relations Act.
v. National Labor Relations Board In
1980, the United States Court of Appeals ruled in "Yeshiva"
that faculty at Yeshiva University (a private institution) in New
York were "managerial employees" and not, therefore, subject
to the protections of the National Labor Relations Act. Since Yeshiva,
institutional challenges to faculty members' rights to unionize
under the NLRB have not generally been decided in favor of the faculty.
few court decisions have been rendered on the subject of faculty's
intellectual property rights, some of the most prominent decisions
(Weinstein and Hays posted below) of federal courts have followed
traditional academic practice and found that faculty authors own
copyright in their academic materials.
v. University of Illinois (1987) discusses the longstanding
tradition that higher education faculty own the copyrights in their
academic work, as stated in Nimmer's Copyright treatise and elsewhere.
v. Sony Corp. of America (1988) notes that, although college
faculty do academic writing as part of their employment responsibilities
and use employer facilities and resources to do so, "[a] college
or university does not supervise its faculty in the preparation
of academic books or articles, and is poorly equipped to exploit
their writings, whether through publication or otherwise".
v. Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd. In
1989, the First Appellate Court of California ruled on the issue
of part-time faculty's eligibility for unemployment benefits.
v. Regents In
1996, the "Pomona decision" ruled that the faculty handbook
at Pomona College does not carry the weight of contract law.
Falls v. National Labor Relations Board
In 2002, the District of Columbia United States Court of Appeals
ruled in "Great Falls" that the constitutional separation
of Church and State in such a way as to exempt employees of religiously
affiliated institutions from the protections of the National Labor
Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs
In 2002, the US Supreme Court ruled that states are not immune under
the "family leave" provisions of the Family and Medical
Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA allows employees to take up to 12 weeks
of unpaid leave to care for a sick family member.
Valley College Academic Senate v. Board of Trustees In
this 2003 decision, the court found that faculty at Irvine College
had to be provided with "a real and meaningful opportunity
to participate" in certain legislatively mandated tasks relating
to shared governance. This decision recognizes California Community
College Academic Senates as legal petitioners against local Boards
of Trustees that violate the Education Code.
Corp., 341 NLRB No. 148 (2004) In this decision, the National
Labor Relations Board ruled that employees who work in a nonunionized
workplace are not entitled to have a coworker accompany them to
an interview with their employer, even if the affected employee
reasonably believes that the interview might result in discipline.
This decision applies only to employees in the private sector and
effectively revokes the so-called Weingarten rights.
(2004) Ruling against the plaintiffs in this case, Judge Chesney
found that earlier legislation did not radically alter the "traditional
contours of copyright laws" in the protection of "orphan"
works, such as out-of-print books, old films, and academic articles
that have little or no commercial value.
v. Superior Court of San Diego County (2005) The court ruled
that the personal performance goals of the college president
were exempt under state law. It acknowledged that the disclosure
of the president's performance goals "would allow the public
to evaluate the trustees' performance in giving her satisfactory
evaluations, raises, and contract extensions."
Valley College Academic Senate v. Board of Trustees of the South
Orange County Community College District (2005) This case
interprets the meaning of CA Education Code section 87360 as
it relates to faculty hiring policy. It reinforces the 2003
decision in Irvine Valley College Academic Senate v. Board of
Trustees (see above) by affirming that "the Legislature
granted the Senates a role equal to the District's in developing
and adopting faculty hiring policies."
M. Petruska v. Gannon University
decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
in a case involving a chaplain who accused Gannon University
of discriminating against her because she’s a woman, represents
a major break with legal precedent governing the law of religious
colleges and faith-based institutions generally. The decision
says that ministers or other religious officials may sue a religious
college for employment discrimination if the institution’s
reasons for taking the contested employment action are not grounded
in “faith, doctrine, or internal regulation” of
the church, a divided federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.