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Suffolk Superior Court Allows Governor Baker’s Vaccine Mandate to Go Into Effect Despite Challenge from Police Union

On September 23, 2021, the Suffolk Superior Court issued a ruling in State Police Association of Massachusetts v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, et al. (No. 2184-CV-02117), allowing Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s October 17th deadline for mandatory vaccinations for all Commonwealth Executive employees to remain in effect. Siding with the Commonwealth, the Court denied motions from the […]

Massachusetts Appeals Court Holds that Employee May be Terminated for Exercising Right to Submit a Rebuttal to Personnel File

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Appeals Court issued a decision, Meehan v. Medical Information Technology, Inc., 99 Mass. App. Ct. 95 (2021), holding that terminating an employee solely for exercising his right to submit a written rebuttal to his personnel file pursuant to G.L. c. 149, §52C does not fall within the public policy exception […]

Federal Court Permits Employee to Bring Both Title VII and Title IX Actions Against Educational Institutions for Gender Discrimination

On August 12, 2021, the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts issued a decision, Harrington v. Lesley University, et al. (20-11718-DPW) holding that employees of educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance may bring discrimination claims under both the Title VII and the Title IX statutes, subject to the limitations of each. Defendant Lesley University hired […]

DESE Issues Mask Mandate for 2021-2022 School Year

On August 25, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) implemented a requirement that all public school students (age 5 and above), staff members and building visitors wear a mask indoors through at least October 1, 2021.  In particular, the mandate specifies that: Masks should cover an individual’s nose and mouth; While […]

DESE Updates Masking Guidelines

On July 30, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) released a memorandum containing updated guidelines on masking, COVID-19 testing, and quarantine protocols – the guidance can be found here: DESE Guidance. Guidelines on masking are as follows: DESE strongly recommends that all students in kindergarten through grade 6 wear masks when […]

Appeals Court Addresses Public Records Law Requirements for Public Bodies

On July 19, 2021, the Appeals Court issued a decision, Bradley v. Records Access Officer, Department of State Police (20-P-0419) holding a public body violated M.G.L. c. 66, §§ 10 and 10A, (the “Public Records Law”) in ignoring an individual’s requests for public records and directives from the Commonwealth’s Supervisor of Public Records (“SPR”) to […]

CDC Relaxes Guidelines on Masks In School

On July 9, 2021 the CDC updated its guidance for schools, saying that only individuals who are not fully vaccinated need to wear masks while indoors and directed all schools to reopen, even in areas where community transmission of COVID-19 is elevated. Additionally, in general people do not need to wear masks when outdoors (i.e., […]

Federal Court Rules Against Teacher Who Refused to Use Transgender Students’ Preferred Pronouns

On July 12, 2021, a federal judge in Indiana ruled against a former teacher who alleged that his employer, a local high school, discriminated against him when it requested his resignation after the teacher continuously refused to call transgender students by their chosen names and pronouns. The Indiana case was precipitated by the school district’s […]

Supreme Court Denies New Hampshire Income Tax Lawsuit

On June 28, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a lawsuit filed by the State of New Hampshire asserting that a pandemic-era Massachusetts’s income tax policy was unconstitutional. At issue was a temporary tax rule adopted by Massachusetts that sought to maintain the pre-pandemic status quo for filing obligations, and thereby spare Massachusetts […]

Supreme Court Issues Important Decision Ruling that a Student’s Suspension from Cheerleading Based on Her “Off-Campus” Snapchat Post Violated the First Amendment but Also Indicating that Some “Off-Campus” Speech – Such as Bullying or Harassment – May be Regulated

The Specific Parameters Remain to be Developed in the Lower Courts, Including a Pending Cyberbullying Case in which VDH, Working with the NSBA, has Filed a Brief.    More than 50 years ago, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision regarding student speech rights. In Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community Sch. District, 393 US […]