Teachers, citing religious objection, allege California unions violated constitution rights

By Jenie Mallari-Torres | Nov 21, 2018

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) – Two public school teachers allege their rights as religious objectors were violated because they were compelled to pay an equal amount to a charity in lieu of a fair share service fee because they did not join a union.

James Imhoff and Lucille Imhoff filed a complaint as individuals and on behalf of others similarly situated on Nov. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division against California Teachers Association and Colusa Educators Association citing unconstitutional agency shop.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs allege they refused to join or financially support the California Teachers Association because it advocates for policies that violate their religious beliefs. They allege in consequence, they were "forced" to pay money to a third-party charity in lieu of paying fair share service fees to the union in violation of their constitutional rights.

The plaintiffs hold California Teachers Association and Colusa Educators Association responsible because they allege they have a constitutional right to refrain from joining or lending financial support to a union because of contradictions to their religious beliefs.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek judgment against defendants, certify class action, declaratory and injunctive relief, award costs and attorneys’ fees, and all other relief that the court deems just. They are represented by Jonathan F. Mitchell of Mitchell Law PLLC in Austin, Texas and Bradley Benbrook of Benbrook Law Group PC in Sacramento.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, Sacramento Division case number 2:18-cv-02934

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