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The Legal Stuff
BT Currents - Hot Topics in Employment Law

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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20 Apr En Banc Panel Rules in Favor For Administrator In Pay Disparity Case

The question before the panel was simple: can an employer justify a wage differential between male and female employees by relying on prior salary? Based on the text, history, and purpose of the Equal Pay Act, the panel held that prior salary – whether alone or in combination with other factors – may not justify a difference in pay between male and female workers doing the same job.   The opinion was written by Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt prior to his death in early April…

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