Featured Post

New Title II and Title III ADA Regulations Take Effect October 11, 2016

StudentsTestingImageOn October 11, 2016, new regulations clarifying the definition of the term “disability” under Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will take effect.  Title II prohibits disability discrimination by state and local governments (including public schools and state colleges and universities) and Title III prohibits disability discrimination by places of public accommodations and in commercial facilities (including independent schools and private colleges and universities).  The new Title II and Title III regulations implement the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008 and are consistent with the regulations the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission adopted under Title I of the ADA, which governs employment discrimination on the basis of disability.

Continue Reading

Student Teaching Assistant Handbooks Unlawful? Maybe.

Two years ago we reported on the case before the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) related to the Northwestern University’s scholarship football players seeking the right to unionize.  The Regional Director in that case determined that the players were employees under the National Labor Relations Act (the “NLRA”) and therefore could vote to be represented by a Union in connections with negotiating terms and conditions of employment with the University.  Ultimately, the Board refused to exercise jurisdiction over the players  and therefore left open whether they are employees under the NLRA or not.  At the time we reported on the case,  we discussed some of the impacts of the decision beyond the ability of players to unionize, including that the Board may scrutinize the University’s policies to see if those policies complied with the NLRA.  More specifically, whether the policies were written in a way that would either expressly or implicitly prevent the players from engaging in protected concerted activity.   Apparently, someone did challenge the “Football Handbook” and on September 22, 2016, The Board’s Office for the General Counsel issued an advice memorandum related to that charge advising against the issuance of a complaint.

Continue Reading

Anne Littlefield and Linda Yoder to Present on ADA Accommodations for Employees at COSA 2016 School Law Practice Seminar

yoderslbloglittlefieldslblogAnne Littlefield and Linda Yoder will present the concurrent session “ADA Accommodations for Employees: Navigating the Quicksand” on October 21st at 2:30 p.m.  This presentation will provide attendees with clear insights for advising school clients on how to remain on solid ground when addressing employee disability issues.

They will present as part of the NSBA’s Council of School Attorneys (COSA) School Law Practice Seminar in Portland, Oregon. NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership, and this year’s event promises to be the premier CLE program for school board attorneys in North America.  For more information visit the COSA School Law Practice Seminar website.

Henry Zaccardi and Peter Maher Speaking at CASBO Timely Topic Workshop

zaccardislblogmaherslblogPeter Maher and Henry Zaccardi will present the topic, “Student Data Privacy & New Overtime Requirements” at the CASCO Timely Topic Workshop.  On October 1, 2016, Public Act 16-189 will go into effect and will impose significant obligations on school districts designed to protect the privacy of student information, student records, and student generated content.  Peter will explain the implications and how districts can ensure compliance. Henry will provide an overview of the new overtime regulations and the impact on school districts.

CASBO is an organization that connects school business officials with each other to share ideas and provide educational opportunities.  For more information please visit www.ct-asbo.org.

Webinar: Compliance Conundrum–Unauthorized Exports v. Discrimination

fernandezslblogmendozaslblogAlfredo Fernandez and Ashley Mendoza will be presenting in partnership with U.S. Commercial Service and Connecticut District Export Council for: Compliance Conundrum–Unauthorized Exports v. Discrimination: Find a Win in a Lose-Lose Scenario Webinar.  This webinar will address export compliance and immigration anti-discrimination laws that were covered in a recent Shipman & Goodwin International Trade Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin authored by Alfredo and Ashley. This is a critical issue for U.S. companies who hire non-U.S. persons for positions that require access to export-controlled technical data or technology.

The webinar will address:

  • an overview of the export regulations, including new definitions affecting deemed exports and technology controls;
  • immigration regulations applicable to the hiring of non-U.S. persons for jobs that may require access to export-controlled information;
  • public guidance on what types of question constitute discrimination during the hiring process;
  • what U.S. employers should consider when screening, interviewing and onboarding non-U.S. persons; and
  • best practices for developing and maintaining technology control plans

Watch the Webinar Replay *Please follow the prompts to register/log-in when launching the replay.

Employment Law Letter – Fall 2016

Employment Law Letter is published quarterly as a service to clients and friends by the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group.

Included in this issue:

  • employmentlawwidgetThree Things You Didn’t Know About Workers’ Comp
  • Retaliation Claims Are Difficult to Defend
  • “Cat’s Paw” Theory of Liability Expanded
  • Legal Briefs…and footnotes

Click here to read the Winter 2016, Employment Law Letter.

SEE YOU IN COURT – October 2016

SeeYouInCourtImageFor years now, Bob Bombast, veteran member of the Nutmeg Board of Education, has been perplexed by and concerned about the State formula for providing funds for education.  Accordingly, he has watched carefully – and patiently – as the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Educational Funding v. Rell case has wended its way through the courts since 2005.  Bob was ecstatic when he heard that the superior court ruled on September 7, 2016 in favor of the CCJEF plaintiffs, and he couldn’t wait to share that news with the public at the next Board meeting.

When the Board next met, Bob waited again patiently, this time for the Board to get to New Business.  When it did, Bob raised his hand and was recognized.

“I have an item of information, and some proposed actions for the Board to consider.  The superior court has just ruled in CCJEF v. Rell that State has failed to meet its obligation to fund education in Connecticut in a rational manner.  We all know that the General Assembly goes crazy sometimes.  Like when it gave the Board of Finance an annual opportunity to tell us how to operate more efficiently.  Who ever thought that is a good idea?  Anyway, now this judge has called the State out on a wide range of concerns, including the need to define elementary and secondary education, the need to revise the system for teacher evaluation, and the need for changes in how we approach special education.

Continue Reading

PTAC Releases Guidance Video Concerning Use of Email and Student Privacy

The Privacy Technical Assistance Center (“PTAC”), a resource established by the U.S. Department of Education, recently released a guidance video concerning the use of email in schools and student data privacy.  In this short video, the Department briefly explains the protections afforded student personally identifiable information (“PII”) by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and cautions school employees about using email as a convenient means of transmitting PII.

Student data privacy is an issue being addressed in schools throughout the country, and most specifically in Connecticut where the legislature recently passed Public Act 16-189, An Act Concerning Student Data Privacy.  While the PTAC guidance video does not address the nuances of Connecticut’s new law, which became effective on October 1, 2016, it is a helpful reminder to staff about the need to protect the confidentiality of student PII and the potential consequences of sending PII electronically.

For more information about Public Act 16-189, please see our prior postings, Governor Signs Student Data Privacy Law and Briefing on Public Act 16-189: An Act Concerning Student Data Privacy.  If you have additional questions about Connecticut’s student data privacy law or FERPA, please contact Benjamin FrazziniKendrick, bfrazzinikendrick@goodwin.com, Gwen Zittoun, gzittoun@goodwin.com, or any other member of our School Law Practice Group.

Family Policy Compliance Office Issues FERPA Privacy Guidelines

Institutions of higher education frequently offer students access to on-campus medical services resulting in institutionally maintained student medical records.  These services have grown over the last several years and, in light of this growth, the Family Policy Compliance Office (“FPCO”) of the United States Department of Education recently reemphasized student privacy interests in connection with the maintenance and disclosure of student medical records.  Through a September 14, 2016 Dear Colleague Letter (“DCL”), FPCO issued significant guidance discussing the application of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) to the disclosure of student medical records by institutions of higher education.  Specifically, the DCL addresses the disclosure of student medical records for litigation and health and safety purposes, and includes best practices for colleges and universities to follow, including issuing a notice of privacy rights to students.

Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice Release Dear Colleague Letters Jointly Announcing New SECURe Rubrics for School Resource Officer Programs

On September 8, 2016, the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (“COPS”) jointly released new guidance regarding school resource officer programs.  The new Safe School-based Enforcement through Collaboration, Understanding, and Respect (“SECURe”) rubrics are the result of the collaboration and partnership between these two federal agencies in an attempt to ensure that local and state educational agencies are implementing effective and positive school resource officer programs in the nation’s schools.  The SECURe rubric for local educational agencies aims to provide guidance to school districts on how to build trust between students and law enforcement officials through the school resource officer programs, while ensuring that school resource officer programs are administered responsibly in a non-discriminatory manner that takes a proactive approach to keeping students out of the school-to-prison pipeline.

Continue Reading