Feb 26, 2021 Published Articles

Third attempt to let legislative staff unionize has more support

Peter Brown was quoted in the February 8, 2021 Daily Journal article “Third attempt to let legislative staff unionize has more support,” which highlighted the stakes of AB 314 and its potential effects on unionized workforces.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Feb 25, 2021 Education Matters

U.S. Department Of Education Issues Questions And Answers On Combating Anti-Semitism

The U.S. Department of Education released a Question and Answer technical assistance document on January 19, 2021. The guidance provides assistance regarding Executive Order 13899 (Combating Anti-Semitism) and the Department’s Office for Civil Rights’ enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Feb 25, 2021 Education Matters

Organization Does Not Have To Allege Prejudice To Sue Under Brown Act; Court Cannot Use Judicial Notice To Support Challenge To Suit

Two non-profit organizations, Livable California and Community Venture Partners became concerned about whether the Association of Bay Area Governments, a joint power authority of nine San Francisco Bay Area counties and over 100 cities located therein, followed the requirements of the Ralph M. Brown Act, which guarantees the public’s right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies. ABAG’s governing Board of Directors, comprised of county supervisors, mayors, and city councilmembers, is subject to the Brown Act.

Feb 25, 2021 Education Matters

College Is Not Required To Have A Trial-Like Hearing Before Issuing A Written Reprimand To A Student

The South Orange County Community College District received a complaint from a female student-worker, N.R., regarding a male student, M.K. N.R. alleged M.K. followed her around campus, tried to put his arm around her shoulder and her hand on his thigh, and invaded her personal space. Pursuant to District policy, the District informally resolved the matter at N.R.’s request with a mutual no-contact order memorialized in a letter. Days after the District issued the no-contact order, M.K. continued to follow N.R. M.K. made a written apology and stated he just wanted to “make friends.”

Feb 25, 2021 Education Matters

IRS Issues Guidance On Educators Deducting Out-Of-Pocket Expenses For COVID-19 Protective Items

On February 4, 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Procedure (Rev. Proc.) 2021-15.  Rev. Proc. 2021-15 entitles “eligible educators” to deduct from their 2020 gross income, certain expenses incurred in order to prevent or limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 in their classrooms.

Feb 25, 2021 Education Matters

A City’s Decision To Lease Property To A Private Entity Does Not – In And Of Itself – Subject The City To Liability For The Discretionary Decisions Of Its Lessee

Pasadena Republic Club (Club) contracted with Western Justice Center (WJC), a private nonprofit organization, to rent space in WJC’s building for a speaking event.  WJC leased the space from the City of Pasadena (City).  Shortly before the event, WJC learned the speaker for the Club’s scheduled event led a politically active organization that, as WJC explained, holds “positions on same-sex marriage, gay adoption, and transgender rights [that] are antithetical to [its] values.”  WJC canceled the rental agreement with the Club and, in response, the Club filed suit against WJC and the City alleging viewpoint discrimination and other violations of the Club’s First Amendment rights.  Relying on Burton v. Wilmington Parking Auth. (1961) 365 U.S. 715 (Burton), the Club claimed that WJC’s leasing arrangement with the City constituted sufficient grounds to bring constitutional claims against WJC, a private section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to civic improvement.  WJC moved to dismiss the action, and the City moved to have the court decide in its favor, without a trial. The district court held that “the undisputed facts show that the City did not delegate to WJC any final policy-making authority of the City that caused the Club’s alleged constitutional violation.”  The Club appealed.