The Oldest Blog
A first amendment blog for school administrators and attorneys.
While we hope it never happens, sooner or later you may be faced with a situation in which a teacher, or other Chapter 21 contract employee, engages in behavior that warrants the employee being placed on administrative leave. Most school districts have adopted Board Policy DFBA (Local), which allows a term contract employee to be suspended with pay and placed on administrative leave by the Superintendent during an investigation of alleged misconduct by the employee or at any time the Superintendent determines that the district’s best interest will be served by the suspension. Often, however, it is hard for administrators, employees, or others to understand why the school must continue to pay a misbehaving employee. Under § 21.211 of the Texas Education Code, an employee who is under a Chapter 21 contract must be paid while on administrative leave unless the Board of Trustees has determined good cause exists to suspend the employee without pay pending discharge or in lieu of termination. This provision has been interpreted by the Commissioner to require districts to follow the termination procedures prior to suspending without pay. What this means in practical terms is that most school districts do not seek to suspend without pay due to this procedural burden and instead move forward with either the termination or nonrenewal process if it is determined that the employee has engaged in the misconduct. This often results in the district having to pay the employee for a lengthy amount of time while the legal processes are pursued. Recently, this process has been challenged and districts have attempted to place a Chapter 21 employee on leave without pay prior to the completion of a hearing. So far, districts have been unsuccessful in their attempts.
The post Misbehaving Teachers: Do We Really Have to Pay Them? appeared first on Educated Employer.
A recent court decision out of Pennsylvania provides an excellent case study on retaliation rules in Title IX cases. In M.D. v. Trinity Area School District, a Federal trial court allowed a student’s Title IX retaliation lawsuit against her school to move forward to the discovery stage. A key to the court’s decision was the “suggestive timing” between the student’s participation in the Title IX process and a negative action taken against her by a coach. The case is a good reminder of many of the fundamentals of Title IX retaliation claims, including the importance of timing.
The post Timing is Everything: Recent Case Highlights the Importance of Timing in Retaliation Cases appeared first on Title IX Tips.
While teachers and administrators enjoyed a well-deserved summer break, Commissioner Morath and the Texas Education Agency’s Office of Hearings and Appeals were busy issuing several important Commissioner’s decisions in employment matters. For this first of our regular series on Commissioner’s decisions, here is a roundup of lessons school districts can learn from this summer’s rulings out of Austin.
Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court held in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C. that emotional distress damages are not recoverable in private actions brought to enforce Spending Clause statutes. After acknowledging that “Congress has broad power under the Spending Clause of the Constitution to set terms on which it disburses federal funds”—including by conditioning an offer of federal funds on a recipient’s promise not to discriminate—the Court explained that Spending Clause legislation “is much in the nature of a contract: in return for federal funds, the [recipients] agree to comply with federally imposed conditions.” The Court then held that plaintiffs cannot recover emotional distress damages for violations of Spending Clause statutes because emotional distress damages are not generally compensable in contract law, and because funding recipients lacked “clear notice” that accepting federal funds would subject them to emotional distress damages in private actions brought to enforce Spending Clause statutes.
The post Emotional Distress Damages: How Far Does Cummings Reach? appeared first on Educated Employer.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently released a small guidance document with a big warning message to schools, colleges, and universities: Title IX requires educational institutions to protect their students and employees from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, including pregnancy termination and recovery therefrom. That means schools cannot treat students or employees differently because they obtained an abortion. Schools must also treat abortion like any other temporary disability for hospital and medical benefits, services, plans, and policies. And, under Title IX, schools must provide leave to individuals for termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom for as long as the student or employee’s physician says it is medically necessary. The guidance, issued on the 100th day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, does not provide new law. But it is a clear warning to schools that specific actions concerning students and employees seeking or who have received abortions could lead to administrative enforcement from OCR.
The post Biden’s OCR Warns Schools to Not Discriminate Against Students and Employees Seeking Abortions appeared first on Title IX Tips.
Recent data published by the EEOC shows a continuing downward trend in the number of employment-related charges. For example, EEOC data shows a decline of more than 27,000 charges filed annually in 2021 as compared to the number of charges filed in 2014. There are a number of factors contributing to this decline, including the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting labor shortages and—until recently—the relative ease of finding new employment. As the country continues to recover from the pandemic and face uncertain economic conditions, however, digging a little deeper into the data can reveal a few trends that may help guide educational employers in addressing areas of employment challenges that are certain to continue.
The post STATS 101: EEOC Filings are Still Down, but Certain Claims are More Popular than Ever appeared first on Educated Employer.