On Tuesday, November 22, 2016, Judge Amos Mazzant of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas issued a preliminary injunction barring implementation of the DOL new rule (“Final Rule”) raising the salary threshold for certain overtime exemptions under the FLSA.
The Exemption from Filing a Tort Claim Applicable to Certain Claims of Childhood Sexual Abuse is Not Limited to Claims Against Employees, Volunteers, Representatives, or Agents of the Public Entity
A.M., a second grade student in the Ventura Unified School District, was sexually abused by fellow students. Her mother reported the abuse to various District employees whom she alleges told her that A.M. needed to fix things on her own and suggested she move to another school. As a result, A.M.’s mother began homeschooling her. She presented a tort claim to the County of Ventura but not to the District. A.M. and her mother then filed a lawsuit against the District and A.M.’s teacher and principal for negligent supervision of students, negligent supervision of school premises, and violation of constitutional and statutory rights.
In October, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) determined that Wesley College violated Title IX by not affording an accused male student certain procedural protections. Normally, the OCR has focused on system-wide protections for victims and potential victims, and not the rights of accused students. Here, however, OCR settled with Wesley College due to how it treated students who were accused of sexual misconduct. The investigation was sparked by the complaint of a student who was accused of live-streaming a female student’s sexual encounter without her knowledge. The accused student alleged that the College failed to fully investigate the report and then expelled him within seven days of the charge, just prior to his graduation.
City Substantially Complied with Brown Act and Subsidy Reporting Obligations Where Agenda Provided Fair Notice and Subsidy Report Estimates were Reasonable
The City of Oceanside considered an agreement under which a developer would build a luxury hotel and be paid $11 million of transient occupancy tax (TOT) receipts generated by the hotel. The City was initially obligated to pay the developer 100 percent of the hotel’s TOT receipts and, thereafter, smaller percentages until the $11 million obligation had been satisfied. When the agreement was presented to the City Council for approval, the agenda stated that the Council would consider the following: the developer’s agreement to guarantee development of the subject property as “a full-service resort”; an agreement “to provide a mechanism to share Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) generated by the Project”; and a report, required by statute, “documenting the amount of subsidy provided to the developer, the proposed start and end date of the subsidy, the public purpose of the subsidy.”
In a case handled by Geoff Sheldon, Jeff Stockley and Sarah Lustig of our Los Angeles office, the Superior Court recently granted summary judgment in favor of the City, the City Manager, and another City employee with regards to an employee’s action for First Amendment retaliation and violation of due process under Section 1983. The Court’s ruling completely disposed of all causes of action asserted by the Plaintiff.
Update: Parties Settle Case In Which Supreme Court Held That Employer “Believed” Employee Had Exercised First Amendment Rights, Thus Supporting Employee’s Retaliation Claim
In our May 2016 Client Update, we reported on the case of Heffernan v. City of Paterson (2016) 136 S.Ct. 1412, in which Jeffrey Heffernan, a police officer for Paterson, New Jersey, was demoted after he was observed picking up a campaign sign in support of Lawrence Spagnola, an individual running for City Council who was evidently opposed to the incumbent Mayor and Police Chief. Heffernan did not actually support Spagnola, but his bedridden mother asked him to pick up the sign. The US Supreme Court held that Heffernan could pursue his lawsuit for First Amendment retaliation even though he did not personally exercise the right to free speech, but because his employer mistakenly thought he exercised that right. The case was remanded back to the trial court, and the parties reached a settlement last month. According to a recent news story, the Paterson City Council approved a $1.6 million settlement for Heffernan.
School District Violated Title VII by Prohibiting Transgendered Employee from Using Both Men’s and Women’s Restrooms
Brandilyn Roberts began working for the Clark County School District as a police officer in 1994 and held the position without incident for 17 years. In 2011, Roberts began dressing for work like a man, grooming like a man, identifying himself as a man, and using the men’s restroom at work. When others complained that a woman was using the men’s restroom, Roberts’ commanding officers scheduled a meeting with him. At this meeting, Roberts explained that he is transgender and in the process of becoming a man. Robert said he wanted to be called Bradley and to use the men’s restroom. Roberts’ commanding officers told him to use the gender-neutral restrooms.