- New Jersey arbitrator’s ruling: “Teacher Who Was Late to Work 111 Times in 2 Years Will Keep His Job” [AP/Time]
- Claim: feds’ Title IX regs on campus discipline and sex were OK, but colleges went overboard [Sam Bagenstos, Washington Monthly; my different view; Scott Greenfield] Related on OCR power: David Savage and Timothy Phelps, L.A. Times;
- Bon temps rouler: Louisiana public universities claim $274 million in damages from the BP/TransOcean gulf spill [AP/Insurance Journal]
- Washington Supreme Court flexes muscle on school finance case, fining state $100,000 a day until it falls in line with higher spending [Seattle Times]
- Not a parody: major in social justice rage at Washington State U. [one syllabus, another via Daily Caller] Hounding of Nobelist Tim Hunt in a British university milieu not so different from ours [Jonathan Foreman, Commentary]
- “Disparate Impact in School Discipline: What Does the Public Think?” [Education Week] “How Eric Holder’s Disparate Impact Crusade Leads To Quotas” [Hans Bader, Daily Caller]
- “Want Safer Kids? Send Them Into Traffic” [Lenore Skenazy on pedestrian safety practice for little ones]
In 2009, a driver with Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc., admitted to the company that he had an alcohol problem. The company told him that it would no longer allow him to drive heavy trucks for the firm. (It said it offered him a less safety-sensitive, but also significantly lower-paying, dock job.) The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) stepped in and sued on his behalf under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It conceded that Old Dominion could (and indeed had to) take the keys away from a heavy truck driver it found to be currently drinking on the job, but contended it had failed in its obligation to “make an individualized determination as to whether the driver could return to driving and provide a reasonable accommodation of leave to its drivers for them to obtain treatment.” Of course backsliding and remission are common following rehab treatment, which means as a group drivers with known past alcohol problems will have a higher risk profile than drivers without. That is why at an earlier stage of the case I asked, “Are we really required to take chances with 18-wheelers on the highway?”
Now we know the answer: Yes. A jury agreed with the EEOC and awarded the driver $119,000 in back pay.
P.S. On the other hand, upholding the decision of a federal district court in Georgia, the Eleventh Circuit has ruled that Crete Carrier Corp. did not violate the ADA when it declined to employ a truck driver with a “current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism,” a bar to driving under DOT regulations.
Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids fame, often linked on this site, has a new TV series Thursday evenings on the Discovery Life channel.
…and if you have trouble finding hazards that’s no excuse [Lenore Skenazy, Free-Range Kids reader comment]
Sad on multiple levels [AP]:
[Omaha assistant city attorney Tom] Mumgaard said courts in Nebraska have decided cities must protect people, even if they make poor choices.
Most people realize that cities must restrict potentially dangerous activities to protect people and guard against costly lawsuits, said Kenneth Bond, a New York lawyer who represents local governments. In the past, people might have embraced a Wild West philosophy of individuals being solely responsible for their actions, but now they expect government to prevent dangers whenever possible.
I’d say there’s more than one kind of downhill toboggan momentum we might want to worry about. Commentary: Lenore Skenazy (“If we believe that ‘whenever possible’ = ‘imagining all possible dangers, no matter how remote, and actively preventing them all, all the time, even by drastic decrees,’ then we get a society that puts 100% safety above any other cause, including fairness, convenience, exercise, rationality — and delight”); Ira Stoll (“This is the sort of story that you’d think might build some political support for tort reform.”).
According to an account in The Hill last month, “the number of deaths caused by Christmas lights has declined to about one person each year from a high of 13 people each year in the early 1990s.” That might seem like an encouraging record, leaving what might seem a low residual risk considering the millions of households that decorate with seasonal lights, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is moving ahead with expensive regulations anyway [Hannah Yang, Heartland]. I’m quoted:
The CPSC’s filing notes that less than one percent of holiday lights affected by the rule have been determined to contain defects, as “voluntary conformance” with industry standards is nearly universal.
Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, criticized the new rules against cheery Christmas lights, explaining “the CPSC—like other agencies—has an interest in justifying its own existence.”…
“They’ve become somewhat truculent from all the criticism,” he said, adding that CPSC actions and regulations often seem to be intended to send a message of “‘see how much you laugh when we send our lawyers after you.’ …As we know from other CPSC regulations, it can be quite expensive to comply with a CPSC rule, even if your product is not in violation.”
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has extracted an $85,000 settlement and other relief from Atchison Transportation Services, Inc., of South Carolina on charges that one of its managers terminated two motorcoach drivers who were 75 and 76 years old respectively. As with disability discrimination, federal law on age discrimination generally requires that termination be based only on cause-based individualized determinations of unfitness; in practice, an employer may be well advised to premise such determinations only on evidence that would stand up under legal scrutiny as objective, such as, for example, a driver’s loss of license or involvement in an accident. [EEOC press release, h/t Roger Clegg]
- Gabriel Kolko: “A historian who understood why big business wanted regulation” [Tim Carney, Washington Examiner, earlier]
- Thumbing nose at Hill, Interior Dept. moves to tribalize native Hawaiians by decree [Ilya Shapiro, NACRP, related PDF, Hawaii Free Press, also, background]
- Cellphone 911: “Safety Mandates That May Reduce Safety” [Coyote]
- Liability-expanding California decision: knowing breach of a material contractual provision may trigger state False Claims Act [Sidley] Plus Chamber’s ILR on state False Claims Acts and more;
- Feds to GM: write smoking-gun memos for trial lawyers’ benefit, or else [Daniel Fisher; more on $35 million NHTSA fine at WSJ, National Law Journal, background on Toyota]
- Child-grabbing in safety’s name: “CPS and Free-Range Parents” [David Pimentel 2012 via Free-Range Kids]
- Maryland Court of Appeals affirms denial of class certification over $29.64 wage garnishment [decision in Marshall v. Safeway, PDF via Michael Schearer]
Following up on the sensational Blue Line crash at the Chicago Transit Authority’s O’Hare Airport terminus: “The CTA’s contract with the Amalgamated Transit Union authorizes the agency to fire rail operators who have had two serious safety violations in a short period of time [emphasis added], and officials said the two incidents when [Brittney] Haywood dozed off qualify her for termination.” Falling asleep just once at the controls of a train wasn’t enough! [CBS Chicago] More: Bill Zeiser, American Spectator.