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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, […]

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 […]