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BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law

16 Nov Supreme Court Declines To Hear Seventh Circuit Ministerial Exception Appeal

In a disability discrimination case involving a teacher at a Jewish school in Milwaukee, the Seventh Circuit has for the first time addressed the ministerial exception in light of the Supreme Court’s 2012 Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & Sch. v. EEOC decision. In Grussgott v. Milwaukee Jewish Day School, the court found a teacher who taught both Hebrew and Jewish studies demonstrated that her role furthered the school’s religious mission and that her position therefore fell under the ministerial exception, barring her disability discrimination claims….

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05 Oct Can Charter School Teachers Unionize? Here’s How to Know

In many states, charter schools are a creature of statute often operating within the blurred line between public oversight and private ownership, which places them in a legal grey area when it comes to federal labor statutes.   The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) applies to most private employers, but its jurisdiction does not extend to the federal government or any state or political subdivision thereof. Although the NLRA does not define “political subdivision,” it has long been defined to include two situations: when an…

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23 Aug Letterhead Policy Not Airtight in Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Last month, an Eighth Circuit federal appeals panel reinstated a lawsuit that alleged an athletic director was wrongfully terminated after using district letterhead to write a letter supporting a reduced sentence for his nephew in a child pornography case.   The district received the letter from a relative of the athletic director who was evidently upset after his nephew was granted an early release. The district met with the athletic director and expressed concerns about the use of district letterhead to advocate for early release…

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13 Jul Binary Bathrooms? Schools Emerge As Fulcrum On This Issue

Deliberations over the adoption of policies regarding bathroom access can be tricky, especially when the disputes involve young children and concerned parents.  Within the last year, profound disagreement has arisen among what schools should do regarding transgender students and bathroom policies.    In February, President Donald Trump’s Education Department confirmed that it is no longer investigating civil rights complaints from transgender students barred from school bathrooms that match their gender identity. The Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill in response to questions from The Washington Post…

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31 May Simple Reminders For Developing Healthy Workplace Culture

All work environments develop their own workplace cultures, regardless of company size or industry. The role of culture, when consciously shaped and reinforced, is to bring consistency to the work environment through clear expectations.  Workplace cultures shape, reflect, and sustain business values and ethics, and condemn harassment and discrimination.  This is often accomplished through the physical environment of the office (i.e. open door policy); strong workplace policies prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination; workplace training; and a complaints process that protects employees from retaliation.   Despite…

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