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New Requirements for Substance Abuse Screening in Public Schools

This is a brief overview of the Massachusetts substance abuse screening regulations that were signed into law in 2016 and are applicable to all public school districts. As a reminder, the regulations impose new requirements on school districts for the 2018-2019 school year. An Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention (the Law) […]

Reminder Regarding Changes to Special Education Regulations Effective July 1, 2018

This is an overview of some of the key amendments recently made to the Massachusetts Special Education Regulations regarding students in foster care. These amendments went into effect on July 1, 2018. They are prospective, meaning they apply to placement decisions made after July 1, 2018. Assignments made during the 2017-2018 school year for the […]

Federal Court Decision Outlines Potential Pitfalls of FMLA Retaliation

On July 23, 2018 a federal judge in this district denied a defendant Town’s motion for summary judgment on a Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) claim brought by a former employee. The employee sued the Town and two supervisors alleging retaliation for taking FMLA leave to care for her ill spouse. The decision is […]

Federal Court Decision Illustrates School District’s Duty to Address Reports of Student-on-Student Harassment Under Title IX

This past spring a judge in this federal district issued an order denying a private school defendant’s motion for summary judgment on a Title IX claim based on alleged student-on-student harassment. The ruling is instructive for all schools, public and private, regarding what facts trigger a school’s duty to take action under Title IX and […]

Basics of the New Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law

The following is a summary of several key provisions of the new paid family and medical leave law. It is not intended to cover all aspects of the new law. This law is mandatory for all private sector employers effective January 1, 2019. Because it is a local option statute, public employers will not be […]

Appeals Court Reaffirms that a Police Chief’s Power to Assign Officers Cannot be Subjected to Arbitration

In a decision issued this morning the Appeals Court has reiterated the Massachusetts rule that a police chief’s decisions regarding the assignment of police officers are immune from collective bargaining and arbitration. In Town of Framingham v. Framingham Police Officers Union, No. 17-P-1178 (2018), the court reversed a Superior Court ruling. That ruling had denied […]

Update on Janus Decision

As pointed out in our June 27, 2018 Client Advisory, the Supreme Court released its decision yesterday in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, U.S. No. 16-466 (2018), which held that a state statute which allows public sector unions to charge non-member employees an agency service fee for activities connected with their collective bargaining activities as […]

Supreme Court Holds That Requiring Union Agency Service Fees For Public Sector Union Non-Members Is Unconstitutional

In a 5-4 decision released this morning the Supreme Court decided Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, U.S. No. 16-466 (2018). The Court held that the Illinois statute which allows public sector unions to charge non-member employees an agency service fee for activities connected with their collective bargaining activities as exclusive representative violates the First Amendment […]

Superior Court Judge Orders Temporary Prohibition of School Committee Public Speak Policy

On June 5, 2018, a Middlesex Superior Court judge issued an order enjoining the Natick School Committee from enforcing its public speak policy during meetings. While this order is not a final decision in the case and is binding only on the parties to that lawsuit, it may carry significance for other districts which have […]

Teachers’ Union Could Not Arbitrate the Termination of a Teacher with Fewer Than 90 Days in School District

The Massachusetts Appeals Court held yesterday that a public teachers’ union could not arbitrate on behalf of a former teacher who had worked for fewer than 90 days in the school district. Under the state statute governing teacher dismissals, G.L. c. 71, § 42, the former teacher was an employee at will and, as such, […]