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Posts in Education.

As much of the country wound down from Thanksgiving celebrations with friends, families and everything in between last month, football programs around the country were also recuperating from one of the most anticipated weekends of the season – the historic rivalry weekend which occurs just in time for the Thanksgiving tryptophan to wear off. As an added bonus, it also happened to be that time of year for many college programs when the afternoon football game is followed quickly by a basketball game in the evening. It is, for some sports fans, the “most wonderful time of the year” ...

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In its Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia ruling in June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the prohibition on “sex” discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompasses discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The Bostock ruling raised, but did not decide, the question of whether or not other federal sex discrimination laws, such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Fair Housing Act, might also inherently prohibit LGBTQ+ discrimination. While the Bostock ruling applies only to Title VII ...

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Posted in Education

Recent college graduates (and some not-so-recent ones as well) are often saddled with student debt to the point that they do not feel like they can afford more than debt service, rent, and living expenses. Certainly, they dont always feel they can afford 401(k) plan contributions. That means that, in many cases, the recent grads are leaving an important piece of compensation on the tableif you dont contribute to the 401(k) plan, you also miss out on the employer match.

And yet, 401(k) and matching contributions are particularly valuable when one is new in their career. The younger you are ...
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Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed course and sent a case that it had previously accepted for review, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., back to the lower appellate court. The case involves the question of whether a Virginia high school must, under the anti-sex discrimination provisions of Title IX, grant a trans-male student bathroom access based on his gender identity rather than his anatomy. When the case was accepted for review by the Supreme Court, one of the legal questions up for review was whether a 2016 U.S. Department of Education (DOE) guidance document ...

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Three former University of Minnesota-Duluth coaches filed suit against the University Board of Regents on Monday in federal court. Former women's hockey coach Shannon Miller, former softball coach Jen Banford, and former women's basketball coach Annette Wiles allege that University administrators discriminated against them based on their gender and sexual orientation and failed to properly investigate reports of harassment and discrimination. The lawsuit also claims disparities between the men's and women's athletic programs at the University.
This lawsuit comes at a ...
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The National Labor Relations Board has been busy this holiday season. In the last few weeks, the Board has pushed ahead with its quickie election rules and changed the analysis it uses to determine whether to assert jurisdiction over faculty at religious institutions of higher education, and whether faculty members are managerial employees with a protected right to unionize. In addition, the Board ruled earlier this month that employers must generally permit employees to use company email systems for a variety of protected labor law activity, including union organizing. Then ...

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Adjunct faculty members at the University of St. Thomas Monday voted overwhelmingly against union representation by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 284Gray Plant Mooty's Labor Law and Higher Education Practice Teams served as labor counsel to St. Thomas in the union representation process. Since the union filed its petition for an election on May 23, GPM has been working intensively with the General Counsels office at St. Thomas to advise on the labor law, handling matters before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), assisting the university's ...

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As if to accentuate the timeliness of last weeks post on the surge in non-traditional union organizing, adjunct faculty organizing in the Twin Cities has been in the news again this past week. The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, is targeting additional local institutions for adjunct faculty organizing. In addition, the Macalester College adjunct faculty vote has been postponed, with union organizers claiming both sides need more time to consider the issues underlying the vote. Several outspoken adjunct from Macalester have voiced opposition to the ...
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While union membership has declined precipitously over the last few decades, union activity is now popping up in many new sectors.  From 1983 to 2013, according to the Department of Labor, union membership dropped from over 20% of the U.S. workforce to a little more than 11%. The public sector, particularly in the areas of education and protective services, still has the highest unionization rate.  In the private sector, the areas of utilities, transportation, and telecommunications represent the highest rates of unionization.

In recent years and months, however, we've seen a growth ...

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There has been a storm of comment and controversy since the National Labor Relations Board ruled last week that scholarship football players at Northwestern University are employees of the school who have the right to unionize under the federal labor law governing private sector employers. The College Athletes Players Association (CAPA), the union seeking to represent the players, is moving ahead full-steam with a vigorous persuasive campaign to convince the 87 Northwestern football players to vote for union representation when the NLRB conducts its election soon. On its ...
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If you work in HR or Student Services for a college or university, you're likely well aware of the Campus SaVE Act and the fact that it has added a long list of items to your to do list. When the law was first passed a year ago, its March 2014 effective date seemed so far away. Time sure flies! Not only is the Act going into effect, the U.S. Department of Education recently issued draft regulations on the law. The regulations wont be final for some time, but they will provide additional guidance to institutions on complying with the Act.
The Campus SaVE Act amends existing law to promote ...
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Confidentiality clauses are a standard provision in most agreements settling an employment dispute. Last week, a former preparatory school administrator learned the hard way that these provisions matter to employers and that violating a confidentiality clause can be costly.

An appeals court in Florida ruled last week that a Facebook post made by the former school administrators daughter violated the confidentiality clause in his settlement agreement with his old employer. As a result, the former administrator forfeited $80,000 of his settlement. 

The former ...

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Last week, the Northwestern University football team shook up the playbook by taking the unprecedented step of petitioning the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. The result to be determined will have a significant impact on the relationship between higher education institutions and their student-athletes, as well as potentially many other students who receive aid in consideration of services performed to the benefit of the schools, such as graduate assistants. 
Under the leadership of star quarterback Kain Colter and with financial support from the United ...
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The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) appears ready to extend its jurisdiction over certain private and religious schools that were previously thought exempt from the NLRBs reach. If it does assert jurisdiction in these cases, the NLRB will act to protect union efforts to organize the schools faculty and other workforces. And just as significantly, an assertion of NLRB jurisdiction over these schools will clearly usher in the potential for direct NLRB involvement in deciding school policies.
The NLRB has several cases involving religious schools lined up for review, the ...
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Last month, my colleague Kathryn Nash wrote about the dangers when employers, particularly for-profit companies, offer unpaid internships.  This is a legal issue that has been around for quite some time, but for some reason maybe because the risks of getting caught had not seemed very high many companies continue to hire unpaid interns.  (For a funny take on unpaid internships, check out the "Stuff White People Like" blog entry #105.)

Well, the stakes for companies using unpaid interns have just gotten higher.  Last Wednesday, an intern filed a wage and hour claim against Charlie Rose and ...

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The recent, shocking news floating around Penn State University has understandably caused some employers to reflect on their obligation to report and take meaningful action in response to suspected criminal sexual activity.  Most states have statutes that establish when reporting of the abuse of a minor is required, but employers who do not serve or supervise minors may have little knowledge of mandatory reporting laws. Common law, which also varies from state to state, may create a duty of care for employers that requires reasonable attention to the safety and security of employees ...
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