Husch Blackwell’s Joe Diedrich appeared recently on the Institute for Justice’s Short Circuit podcast to provide analysis in connection with the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in Biggs v. Chicago Board of Ed. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in the case below, a dispute between a fired elementary school’s interim principal and the Chicago Public Schools system.Continue Reading 7th Circuit Affirms Chicago Board of Ed Win in Occupational Liberty Case

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has presented unprecedented challenges for public and private educational institutions across the country. As schools evaluate how to move forward, Husch Blackwell and our entire Education team is continually monitoring and responding to federal and state guidance on this issue. We have various resources ready to assist you immediately.  We discuss those resources below and assure you that we will keep them updated as new guidance is issued as the situation evolves.

Executive Action

In response to the extraordinary public health threat posed by COVID-19, President Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020.
Continue Reading Federal COVID-19 Resources for Education Institutions

Last Friday, Governor Greitens approved Missouri House Bill 1413 (“HB 1413”). Once effective, HB 1413 will prohibit Missouri labor unions from withholding earnings from public employees for the purpose of paying any portion of dues or fees, without yearly written or electronic authorization. These restrictions will apply to both members and nonmembers of labor unions.
Continue Reading Missouri Governor Approves New Law Impacting Labor Unions and Missouri School Districts

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

A 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

Labor 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