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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, […]

Appeals Court Issues Decision Discussing School District Liability for Student Head Injuries

Today, in Stahr v. Lincoln Sudbury Reg’l High Sch. Dist., the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the dismissal of a former student-athlete’s claims against the Lincoln Sudbury Regional High School District for injuries sustained during a varsity field hockey practice. The court dismissed the claims based on its determination that they fit the exception in § […]

Supreme Judicial Court Discusses Competing Statutory Definitions of “Employee”

On May 10, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Camargo’s Case (SJC-12368) that in determining whether someone is an employee or an independent contractor for workers’ compensation purposes, the definition of “employee” from the workers’ compensation statute, G.L. c. 152, § 1, must be applied, as opposed to the definition from the independent contractor […]

Doe v. Town of Stoughton

On April 25, 2018, the federal district court for the District of Massachusetts issued an order dismissing several claims against the Town of Stoughton, the Stoughton Public Schools Superintendent, and the Stoughton High School Principal. Those claims were brought by a former student who alleged that she was subjected to illegal sexual harassment by a […]

Civil Service Commission Addresses Truthfulness Standard in Bypasses

On April 12, 2018, the Civil Service Commission (“Commission”) released a decision, Dabene v. Boston Police Department, in which it opined on the requisite level of untruthfulness to substantiate bypass of a candidate for a police officer position.  It is well-established in decisions under the Civil Service Law, G.L. c. 71, that honesty is a […]

SJC Upholds Massachusetts Cap on Charter Schools

On April 24, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Doe No. 1 v. Secretary of Education (SJC-12275) that students who attend public schools in Massachusetts are not constitutionally entitled to attend charter schools.  Five students filed a complaint in Superior Court challenging G.L. c. 71, § 89(i), which caps the number of all charter […]

Supreme Judicial Court Defines the Scope of State Middle and Upper Managers’ Rights to Revert or “Bump” Back to Former Tenured Civil Service Position

In a decision released March 27, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the right of a middle or upper level state manager to revert to a previously-held civil service position under G.L. c. 30, § 46D applies only to involuntary terminations, not to voluntary resignations. The case, Spencer v. Civil Service Commission, SJC-12326, involved […]

SJC Overrules Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law Guidance Regarding Circulation of Employee Performance Evaluations to Quorum of Board of Selectmen in Advance of an Open Meeting

On April 5, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Boelter v. Board of Selectmen of Wayland, SJC-12353, that the email circulation of employee performance evaluations among a quorum of a public body in advance of an open meeting violates the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A, §§ 18, 20 (the “OML”) unless the evaluations are publicly disclosed at the same time.

Attorney Liz Valerio Discusses New Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

Attorney Liz Valerio discussed the new Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) at the annual School Law Day conference of the Massachusetts Association of Personnel Administrators (MASPA) on March 23, 2018.