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Supreme Judicial Court Discusses Public Policy Exception to Vacating Arbitration Awards

On October 3, 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court sustained an arbitration award reinstating a police officer who had filed a police report that the arbitrator found was “intentionally misleading” but not “intentionally false” and that did not result in a wrongful arrest, a wrongful prosecution, or a deprivation of civil rights. The decision, City of […]

Appeals Court Holds Public Employee Unions Can Negotiate Pay Schedules that Differ from those in the Massachusetts Wage Act

In a 3-2 decision issued earlier this week, the Appeals Court held that unions have the authority, through collective bargaining, to act on behalf of the employees they represent by negotiating a different schedule for making payments of earned overtime than the deadline established by the Wage Act, G.L. c. 149, §§ 148 and 150. […]

Appeals Court Reaffirms Requirement to Exhaust Grievance Procedures in Collective Bargaining Agreements

In Tortolano v. Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, No. 17-P-631 (2018), the Appeals Court has reiterated that employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) and its respective grievance procedure must exhaust that procedure before bringing a breach of contract claim.  Additionally, the Appeals Court held employees challenging overtime wages pursuant to M.G.L. c. 149, § 30B […]

DESE Updates Educator and Administrator Model Rubrics for Evaluation

On August 10, 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (“DESE”) released updated model rubrics for classroom teachers and school administrators. Following the release of the model system in 2012, DESE began collecting feedback from teachers and school leaders in 2016 to refine the model rubrics. While there are no substantive changes to […]

Massachusetts Legislature Enacts Non-Competition Agreement Law

On August 10, 2018, Governor Baker signed a bill reforming the use of non-competition agreements in employment contexts. The bill, referred to as the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act (the “Act”), goes into effect on October 1, 2018 and does not retroactively impact contracts entered into before that date. Definition of “Non-Competition Agreement” The Act defines […]

2018 Edition of MCLE’s Treatise “School Law in Massachusetts” Features Contributions from VDH Attorneys

The new 2018 edition of MCLE’s treatise “School Law in Massachusetts” features contributions from three lawyers at VDH.  Elizabeth B. Valerio has provided updates to her chapter entitled “Powers and Responsibilities of the School Committee”.  John Foskett and Caroline Thibeault have authored a new chapter entitled “Student Records”.  The treatise is edited by Rhoda Schneider, […]

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 […]