Connecticut Education Law Blog

Connecticut Education Law Blog

Category Archives: Labor and Employment

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Teacher Tenure Laws Take Another Hit

Posted in Labor and Employment
Teachers generally enjoy job protection which is much greater than all other public sector employees.  Such laws have been much criticized in recent years as a result of the increased focus on student performance.  Reports of “rubber rooms” in New York, where incompetent teachers were parked, have been much publicized and much maligned.  Some states, … Continue Reading

Teacher Absenteeism Impacts Learning

Posted in Labor and Employment
While the concept is intuitive, a recent study has confirmed that teacher absenteeism has a direct and measurable impact on student learning.  In a report entitled “Roll Call:  The Importance of Teacher Attendance” the National Center on Teacher Quality found that teachers miss on average 11 out of 186 days of school; and one in … Continue Reading

LABOR BOARD REBUKES TEACHER UNION CLAIM THAT NEW SOFTWARE CAUSED INCREASED WORK LOAD

Posted in Labor and Employment, Special Education
In a move that seemed to defy logic, the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) on behalf of its local affiliate the Milford Education Association, filed a complaint claiming that a popular software program, specifically designed to make easier the process of completing paperwork following a Planning and Placement Team meeting (PPT) for a special education student, … Continue Reading

Arbitration Panel Awards New Haven the Right to Privatize a Substantial Portion of School Custodians

Posted in Labor and Employment
 In what will no doubt be viewed as a landmark decision, an interest arbitration panel has issued an award which will allow the New Haven Public Schools to privatize 86 of the 186 positions in its custodial and maintenance union, and in the process save nearly $4 million dollars. Faced with skyrocketing pension and health … Continue Reading

FOI Rules That Arbitration Hearings Under the TNA Are Open To The Public

Posted in Labor and Employment
In a decision which is likely to change the dynamics of interest arbitration proceedings in Connecticut, the Freedom of Information Commission has ruled that the decades long presumption that teacher interest arbitration hearings are closed to the public, is incorrect.  In the case at issue, the Waterbury Republican-American Newspaper sought entry to an interest arbitration … Continue Reading

Bullying Not Just a Problem Among Students Anymore

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education, Student Matters
In an opinion by the Honorable Superior Court Judge Henry S. Cohn, the Connecticut Superior Court dismissed the appeal of a teacher whose name was placed on the child abuse and neglect registry after a Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) hearing officer determined, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101g (b), that the teacher … Continue Reading

Connecticut Supreme Court Addresses Whether Mid-Year Increase in Teacher Workload Constitutes Unilateral Change of Condition of Employment

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education, Special Education
In a decision released by the Connecticut Supreme Court on November 16, 2010, Board of Education of Region 16 v. State Board of Labor Relations et al., Region 16 appealed to the Superior Court challenging a decision by the state board of labor relations (“SBLR”) which concluded that the school district had unilaterally changed a … Continue Reading

U.S. District Court Rules that Employees’ Social Networking Sites Are Discoverable in a Sexual Harassment Suit against Employer

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Labor and Employment
In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Simply Storage Management, L.L.C. and O.B. Management Services, 2010 U.S. Dist., LEXIS 527661, (“E.E.O.C. v. Simply Storage”) the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, was asked to decide a basic discovery issue in a novel context when the parties to this sexual harassment suit failed to agree … Continue Reading

Arbitration Panel Awards No Increase for Non-Certified Employees

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education
Demonstrating that at least some arbitrators understand the constraints on municipal employers caused by the recession, a panel of arbitrators chaired by Arbitrator Susan Meredith has declined to award a non-certified bargaining unit in the Town of Sterling any wage increase for the 2009-10 fiscal year. It also awarded a 2.5% increase for 2008-09 and a … Continue Reading

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Signed Into Law

Posted in Labor and Employment
On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (“Ledbetter Act”) into law. Pub. L. No. 111-2. The new law changes litigation of pay discrimination claims in the following ways:         (1)       Resets the statute of limitations clock for filing a wage claim each time an employee receives a paycheck, benefits, or … Continue Reading

Elimination of Secret Ballot Elections in Favor of Union Authorization Cards?

Posted in Labor and Employment
In a move patterned after the proposed Employee Free Choice Act, which would apply to private sector employees, the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee recently voted favorably (9-2) on a bill that would allow state and municipal employees to unionize without the use of a secret ballot election. HB-6534 would permit a union of … Continue Reading

Impact of New Federal FMLA Regulations on School Boards

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education
   Recently the United States Department of Labor promulgated new regulations under the Family Medical Leave Act. School boards should review their policies to assure continued compliance with the FMLA.              Noteworthy highlights from the new regulations include:   (1)       Military caregiver leave: Expands FMLA protections for family members caring for a covered service member … Continue Reading

Obama’s Stimulus Package Offers COBRA Premium Reduction to Involuntarily Terminated Employees

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Labor and Employment
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (“COBRA”) provides for a temporary extension of employer-provided group health coverage, which is commonly referred to as COBRA continuation coverage. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“Act”), which President Obama signed on February 17, 2009, includes several changes to COBRA continuation coverage that employers quickly need to address. The … Continue Reading

Proposed Legislation Would Require Defibrillators in Schools as of July 1, 2009

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education
Legislation winding its way through the General Assembly could mandate that local and regional boards of education employ automatic external defibrillators as soon as July 1, 2009. In fact, S.B. 981 as proposed requires schools to train personnel in defibrillator operation and in the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation at each school under the board’s jurisdiction. In addition, … Continue Reading

Broadened Employer Obligations Under the Americans With Disabilities Act

Posted in Labor and Employment
Recent amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) are certain to have a far-reaching impact on employers, as the new amendments expand the ADA’s reach and reverse an employer-friendly trend in court decisions that interpreted the statute. By expanding certain key definitions, the 2008 ADA Amendments bring within coverage of the statute a large number … Continue Reading

Department of Labor Adopts Final Regulations to Family Medical Leave Act

Posted in Labor and Employment
The United States Department of Labor, the agency charged with the task of interpreting the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), issued final revised regulations to the Act on November 17, 2008. The regulations will take effect on January 16, 2009, just days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office. The regulations mark the first major regulatory update of … Continue Reading

Congress Broadens Obligations Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

Posted in Labor and Employment
Through H.R. 3195, our 110th Congress has vastly expanded the reach of the Americans with Disabilities Act, by effectively bringing within its reach a large number of individuals previously excluded under the current  jurisprudence interpreting the Act. The Act still maintains its primary definition as to who is included thereunder (those with “a physical or mental … Continue Reading

More Legislative Updates: Criminal Charges for Residency Misrepresentation

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education, Student Matters
Today’s bills filed in the General Assembly include Raised Bill 5833, a proposed amendment to Connecticut General Statutes Section 53a-119, which would add as a felony criminal charge "obtaining school accommodations by misrepresenting a child’s residence".  This would be defined as a parent, guardian or person acting on behalf of such person (or student if … Continue Reading

Labor Board New Past Practice Exception For School Districts

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education, Special Education
The Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations recently issued a decision, Region 16 Board of Education, Decision No. 4270 (2007), in which it held that a unilateral change in the workload of Special Education Teachers constituted a prohibited practice. In doing so, the Board created an exception to the general rule that a unit wide fixed … Continue Reading

Arbitrator Upholds Termination of Custodian For Leaving Early

Posted in Labor and Employment
In a decision rendered recently by the American Arbitration Association, a AAA Arbitrator has ruled that a board of education had just cause to terminate a custodian with a relatively unblemished record for repeatedly leaving work early and recording on their time sheets that they had worked their full shift. The case involved two evening shift … Continue Reading

Emerging Category of Discrimination – Caregivers

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Labor and Employment
On May 23, 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) issued guidance on the treatment of employees with “caregiver responsibilities.” While the federal discrimination statutes do not directly prohibit discrimination against “caregivers,” the new EEOC guidance does note that discrimination against caregivers that is grounded in a federally protected class, such as sex or disability, can … Continue Reading
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