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The California Public Employment Relations Board Broadly Construes Protected Activity Under Educational Employment Relations Act

The Public Employment Relations Board ("PERB") in Crowell v. Berkeley Unified School District found the anti-retaliation provisions contained in the Educational Employment Relations Act ("EERA"), Cal. Gov. Code § 3540, et...more

South Carolina Legislative Update

The South Carolina House of Representatives last week adopted the South Carolina Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, several ethics reform measures, and revisions to the South Carolina Whistleblower and Public Employee...more

Reasonable Accommodation of a Disability Does Not Require Elimination of an Essential Job Function

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in employment against a qualified individual on the basis of disability, and discrimination includes failing to make a reasonable accommodation. The...more

Ninth Circuit to Consider Civil Rights Issue in Review of California SIP

On February 12, 2015, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in El Comite Para El Bienestar De Earlimart v. EPA, a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of provisions in a...more

Justice Department Settlement Casts Doubt on Mandatory Medical Leave - Universities Should Be Well Trained in ADA Compliance and...

On Jan. 12, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement with Quinnipiac University, a private institution located in Connecticut, to resolve allegations that the university violated the Americans with...more

Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney to Focus on Discrimination in Schools

Educational institutions – including public and private schools, colleges, and universities – may have to defend various types of discrimination claims brought by students, and in various arenas. In addition to federal court...more

Two California Appellate Decisions Expand the Scope of Tameny Claims Based on Whistleblower Laws

Two significant decisions on whistleblower protections were recently issued by two districts of the California Court of Appeal. Both courts reversed trial court dismissals of claims for wrongful termination in violation of...more

Eighth Circuit: Custodian Failed to Establish Constructive Discharge Following Wife's Public Comments

A school custodian’s hours and work assignments were changed six days after his wife spoke about eliminating the superintendent’s position at a school board meeting about budgetary issues. The custodian’s reassignment...more

Transgender Student Restroom Assignment Revisited

You may recall my colleague Zachary Schurin’s recent discussion of Doe V. Regional School Unit 26. In that matter, the Maine Supreme Court determined that the defendant school district’s requirement that a transgender...more

EEOC Gets Schooled: Court Expels Challenge to College’s Separation Agreements

For the second time in less than two months, a federal district court judge has dismissed a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) challenge to an employer’s separation agreement due to the agency’s failure to...more

California Public Policy Prohibits Employer Retaliation Based on Mistaken Belief That Employee Engaged in Whistleblowing Activity

In Diego v. Pilgrim United Church of Christ (November 21, 2014) --- Cal. App. 4th ---), the California Fourth District Court of Appeal considered whether California public policy precludes employers from retaliating against...more

Court Affirms Three-Part Title IX Test Applies to High Schools

In a recent decision, Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High School District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial court finding that a public school district intentionally discriminated and retaliated against female...more

Student and Alumni Litigation

In This Issue: - Unionization of Students ..The New Meaning of “Student Union” ..Overview of Labor Laws and Organized Labor ..Unionization of Graduate Students ..The Northwestern University Case ...more

Circuit Court Finds Stay Put Does Not Apply to Unilateral Placement

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides that during the pendency of a dispute, a student must remain in his/her “then-current educational placement”; this is known as stay put. The IDEA does not,...more

The “Program Accessibility” Exception for Public Entities Under the ADA

Public owners, as well as private owners and tenants of commercial and retail properties, are at risk of lawsuits brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and related state law alleging that their...more

Update: District Court Finds First Amendment Does Not Protect Former Guidance Counselor’s Sexually-Explicit Book

The Northern District Court of Illinois found that Rich Township High School District 227 did not violate the free speech rights of former guidance counselor and girls’ basketball coach Bryan Craig when it dismissed him based...more

Fifth Circuit Upholds the Use of Race in Admissions at the University of Texas

For a second time, the Fifth Circuit dismissed Abigail Fisher’s claim against the University of Texas at Austin (the “University”), holding that the University’s admissions policy, including the use of race as a factor,...more

Fifth Circuit Issues Important Ruling on Affirmative Action in Higher Education

Earlier this week, in Fisher v. University of Texas, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the constitutionality of the undergraduate admissions program at the University of Texas at...more

Sex Discrimination--No debate. Decision to hire male professor not gender discrimination

Famous college football player and coach Bear Bryant is credited with saying, “I didn’t have a thing to do with picking a coach, and didn’t want to. But I didn’t think they’d pick one I didn’t like.” Bryant’s statement...more

Wells v. Xavier University: Investigating Campus Sexual Assaults and The Perils of Predetermination Under Title IX

The recent wave of Title IX complaints filed with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”], claiming that colleges and universities were either ignoring or mishandling reports of sexual...more

Supreme Court Deals Affirmative Action Another Blow, But Impact on Colleges and Universities Likely Limited

The U.S. Supreme Court continued its decade-long interest in the role of affirmative action in the higher education admissions process, and decided to uphold a state law banning the practice. In Schuette v. Coalition to...more

School Districts: New York Supreme Court Holds That Public School District May Be Liable For Alleged Bullying Of Private School...

On May 14, 2014, in J.G.S. v. Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County held that the parents of a minor student could proceed with their lawsuit against the school...more

Federal Court Turns Away School District’s Attorney-Fee Claim

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas has rejected a claim for attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b), which authorizes courts to award reasonable fees in actions to enforce civil rights statutes...more

Second Circuit Says Least-Restrictive Environment Requirement Applies to Extended-Year Placements

On April 2, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the least-restrictive environment requirement (LRE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) applies to extended school-year...more

High Court Decision In Michigan Affirmative Action Case Leaves Requirements For The Consideration Of Race Untouched

The U.S. Supreme Court held yesterday that a voter-approved ban on the use of race-based preferences for public university admissions does not violate the U.S. Constitution. The decision focused narrowly on whether the U.S....more

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