Legislation passed by the Missouri General Assembly this term will have a significant impact on Missouri schools. First, the General Assembly quickly passed a right-to-work bill that Governor Greitens signed into law less than a month after his inauguration. Second, on June 30, 2017, Governor Greitens signed a bill into law changing the requirements for state employment discrimination claims and providing a statutory basis for whistleblower suits. Continue Reading Missouri Schools Face Changing Employment Laws This Year

Columns_000017257808_LargeA recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision should serve to remind schools of the importance of engaging in the “interactive process” with employees
who may request work-related accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and comparable state laws.

In this case, the plaintiff was a special education teacher living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  The School District that employed her became aware of her diagnosis when she requested a leave of absence and transfer to another school due to a deteriorating relationship with the school principal that led to a PTSD relapse. Her requests were granted, and the teacher was transferred to teach in a program for children with learning disabilities as well as behavioral and emotional disorders. Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Finds School Failed to Accommodate Teacher with Mental Disability

JOSEPH SOHM VISIONS OF AMERICA © 1999 PHOTOSPIN www.photospin.comLabor unions are still able to collect “agency fees” (at least for now) following a 4-4 split decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Friedrichs v. The California Teachers Association, lead plaintiff and public school teacher Rebecca Friedrichs argued that a California state law violates the First Amendment right to free speech and association by compelling financial support for an organization with which she disagrees. This argument is premised on the idea that agency fees laws require public sector non-union member teachers – as a condition of their employment – to pay agency fees to the union that goes to support the union’s collective bargaining efforts; and because public-sector bargaining is inherently a political activity, non-union members are effectively being forced to finance political activity that they do not support. Friedrichs argued that non-union member public sector teachers should not be forced to pay hundreds of dollars each year to unions to which they did not belong, and in some instances did not agree with or support. Defendants – and unions who stood to lose significant funding – argued that without being forced to pay agency fees for collective bargaining work, non-union members would get the benefits of collective bargaining from the union (e.g. increased compensation, better benefits, etc.) without paying any union fees for these benefits. Continue Reading Labor Unions Score Victory with Friedrichs Supreme Court Decision