Michael Blacher

Michael Blacher Partner

Michael Blacher is the Chair of the firm's Private Education Practice Group. He represents educational institutions in all aspects of labor, employment, and education law. Michael has successfully defended claims involving alleged harassment, discrimination and retaliation, disability accommodation, First Amendment, and alleged violation of wage and hour laws. Michael also advises educational institutions in Office of Civil Rights investigations and has handled a number of Title IX cases. Michael often advises boards on governance and other issues, including updates to bylaws. He works extensively on contractual matters such as employment and enrollment agreements as well as employee and student handbooks. Michael also represents clients during arbitrations and administrative hearings.

A frequent presenter, Michael has provided a number of individualized trainings for schools, such as AB 1825 training. He also regularly presents at the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Trustee/Head of School conference, the National Association of Independent School (NAIS) annual conference, and the National Business Officer (NBOA) annual meeting. He is one of the firm's most popular trainers.

Prior to joining Liebert Cassidy Whitmore, Michael worked on documentary films, including the Academy Award winner, The Long Way Home. He also worked at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

Education

  • JD, Loyola School of Law, Los Angeles

  • MA, University of California, Los Angeles

  • BA, University of California, Riverside

Sep 1, 2020 On-Demand Training
Private & Independent Schools: 2-Hour Supervisory Harassment Prevention Training

LITIGATION

Wrongful Termination Claim (2015) - A private university obtained summary judgment against a former employee who alleged harassment and discrimination. The University's former Director of Student Recruitment claimed that the University terminated her in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Specifically, she alleged that her termination was motivated by her race and disability. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of the University. The Court determined the documented complaints, and verified attempts by plaintiff's supervisor to improve her performance, constituted legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for separating her. Plaintiff could not proffer sufficient evidence to support her claims of harassment or discrimination.

Discrimination Claim (2011) - A private school terminated employee for misconduct. He then filed a claim with the EEOC and threatened litigation based on a claim of discriminations. The School put forth legitimate, nondiscriminatory basis for terminating the employee who then formally dropped the suit.

Religious Discrimination (2011) - A religious school restricted applicants to those whose religious beliefs were consistent with those of the school. Within the School rejected an applicant based on religion, he filled a claim with the EEOC. The School responded that it appropriately followed state and federal law. Both the EEOC and applicant dropped the complaint.

Defense Verdict For School District On Student Discipline (2010) - School district disciplined a student for cheating. Parents appealed using internal district procedure and lost at each level. Then parents sought a writ, which the court denied.

Breach of Contract Claim (2010) - A private school laid off a secretary who brought suit in breach of contract. The secretary sought attorneys' fees, damages, and penalties under the Labor Code. The School demurred and the court granted the motion without leave to amend.

Education

  • JD, Loyola School of Law, Los Angeles

  • MA, University of California, Los Angeles

  • BA, University of California, Riverside

Sep 1, 2020 On-Demand Training
Private & Independent Schools: 2-Hour Supervisory Harassment Prevention Training
Dec 7, 2020

Permissibility of Requiring that Employees at Private Schools Receive the COVID-19 Vaccination

Note: On December 16, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) provided updated guidance concerning COVID-19 vaccinations. While that guidance confirms the legal analysis and conclusions provided in this bulletin, including that employers may permissibly require COVID-19 vaccinations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), we recommend that employers use the information provided in this bulletin and the one we issued following the EEOC update in order to develop a comprehensive approach to COVID-19 vaccinations for employees.  

Given the recent news coverage concerning COVID-19 vaccines and the government’s distribution plan for such vaccines, many of our private school clients have inquired whether it will be permissible to require school employees be vaccinated for COVID-19. This question is important from a public health perspective, complicated from a legal one, and almost certain to create controversy.

Dec 4, 2020

Governor Newsom Announces New Regional Stay At Home Order (Private Education)

On December 3, in order to slow the unprecedented rise in the rate of increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new Regional Stay At Home Order.

Dec 3, 2020

CDC Reduces Recommended Quarantine Period Following “Close Contact” Exposures to Individuals with COVID-19 – What Private Schools Need to Know

On December 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued updated guidance concerning the recommended quarantine period for individuals following a “close contact” exposure to someone with COVID-19. The guidance reduces the recommended quarantine period from 14 days to either 10 days or seven days, depending on whether the individual tested negative for COVID-19 during the quarantine period.

Nov 24, 2020

California Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Issue Updated Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings

On November 16, 2020, in response to significant increases in the incidence rates of COVID-19 in the state, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued updated guidance concerning the use of face coverings. The updated guidance requires that individuals wear a face covering at all times when outside of the home unless one of the eleven (11) enumerated exemptions applies. Unlike other guidance issued by the CDPH that is advisory in nature, the guidance concerning face coverings is mandatory. 

Nov 13, 2020

California Department of Public Health Issues COVID-19 Travel Advisory Recommending 14-Day Self Quarantine for Any Non-Essential Travel Out of State and Previous Public Health Guidance Issued Regarding Holiday Gatherings and Higher Risk Activities

On November 13, 2020, in response to alarming increases in the incidence rates of COVID-19 in other countries and states, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued a travel advisory to California residents.  This travel advisory follows recent state and federal guidance limiting personal gatherings, and updated federal guidance regarding higher risk travel and activities.

Apr 17, 2020

Federal Funding and Federal Laws: What Participating in Federal Loan Programs Means for California Private Schools

Federal funds are available to assist California private schools respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), both offered through the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as the recently announced Main Street Lending Program, established by the Federal Reserve, are designed to provide economic relief and continued employment.  Whether schools should apply for these loans depends on a multitude of factors.  One significant consideration is that participation likely will trigger compliance obligations under certain federal laws that otherwise would not apply.  Below are some frequently asked questions regarding participation in these federal loan programs.

Education

  • JD, Loyola School of Law, Los Angeles

  • MA, University of California, Los Angeles

  • BA, University of California, Riverside

Sep 1, 2020 On-Demand Training
Private & Independent Schools: 2-Hour Supervisory Harassment Prevention Training
27 April 2021
Speaking Engagements

Legal Update

California Independent Schools Business Officers Association (Cal-ISBOA) Annual Conference Webinar
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7 April 2021
Consortium Trainings

Emerging Legal Issues

Builders of Jewish Education Consortium Webinar
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31 January 2021
Speaking Engagements

Legal and Risk Management Strategies in a COVID-19 Driven World

California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Trustee School Head Conference Webinar
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31 January 2021
Speaking Engagements

Annual Legal Update for California Independent Schools

California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Trustee School Head Conference Webinar
Read more
17 November 2020
Consortium Trainings

Legal Literacy for Jewish Day Schools

Builders of Jewish Education Consortium Webinar
Read more
22 October 2020
Speaking Engagements

Legal and Risk Management Strategies In A COVID-19 Driven World

National Business Officers Association (NBOA) Fall Webinar Series Webinar
Read more

Education

  • JD, Loyola School of Law, Los Angeles

  • MA, University of California, Los Angeles

  • BA, University of California, Riverside

Sep 1, 2020 On-Demand Training
Private & Independent Schools: 2-Hour Supervisory Harassment Prevention Training
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