Posts tagged as:

teacher tenure

How bad do these stories get? This bad. More: Radley Balko on a Hoboken cop; and commenter VMS criticizes the linked New York Post report.

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A dismissed teacher’s case against the school system in Lowell is now before Massachusetts’s Supreme Judicial Court. Phanna Rem Robishaw, a native of Cambodia originally hired to teach bilingual programs, had received favorable evaluations for years but received an unsatisfactory rating in English fluency after the state began requiring that teachers be tested on that skill. An arbitrator reinstated her but a state court judge reversed the reinstatement, terming her performance on an interview test tape “utterly incomprehensible”. Robishaw’s lawyer says the arbitrator excluded the tape from evidence and that the judge should not have considered it, and that the judge failed to observe the presumption against overturning arbitration results. “In 2002, Massachusetts’ voters passed Question 2, requiring all school superintendents to attest to the English fluency and literacy of their teachers where ‘the teacher’s fluency is not apparent through classroom observation and assessment or interview assessment.’” [Lowell Sun]

Readers with long memories will recall the 1990s controversy over a hard-to-understand foreign-born teacher in Westfield, Mass. which led Massachusetts voters to adopt Question 2; I wrote about it for Reason here. By coincidence, presumably, Robishaw attended Westfield State College.

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September 23 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 23, 2009

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September 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 15, 2009

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…now suing the Mount Vernon, Ohio school district, claiming that he’s the target of religious discrimination. [Popehat, Mount Vernon News with complaint in PDF; coverage of the cross incident last year at Courthouse News; commentary critical of teacher at Panda's Thumb, supportive at WorldMag]

Having been critical of the Los Angeles Times yesterday, let me accord all due credit to the paper for its investigative series on the near-impossibility of firing teachers in L.A. The district has spent more than $2 million, for example, trying to get rid of Matthew Kim, a special ed teacher accused of harassing teenagers and colleagues who has been collecting full salary for seven years without actually teaching. One underlying problem: “Kids don’t have a union.” Bloggers react: Ken @ Popehat, Mickey Kaus, Amy Alkon, Brian Doherty. Meanwhile, reports Seyward Darby in the New Republic (via Nick Gillespie), “About 1,400 teachers in New York City are receiving full salaries and benefits even though they don’t have permanent jobs. Two hundred and five of them have been without full-time work for three years. And they can continue receiving payments indefinitely even if they never secure new positions.” It’s called the Absent Teacher Reserve.

March 17 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 17, 2009

  • Asks to have $12.6 million verdict set aside because juror Twittered about the case [Little Rock, Ark.; AP/Yahoo]
  • Florida legislator opposes “animal husbandry,” thinks it’s sin forbidden in Book of Leviticus. And “Larcenia” is probably the most perfect first name for a politician I’ve ever heard [Popehat]
  • Eleventh Circuit upholds most charges against Alabama ex-Gov. Don Siegelman [AP/New York Times, earlier]
  • D.C. Council member bullies tiny non-profit paper, says advertiser “will be held responsible” [Marc Fisher, WaPo; Brookland Heartbeat]
  • “Worst teachers are rarely formally removed from the classroom” [Denver Post]
  • Blogger calling fashion model a skank makes an unsympathetic figure, but the implications for blog anonymity could be serious [NY Post, Scott Greenfield, (Cit Media Law, earlier]
  • Barbie says, “Governing West Virginia is hard!” [@cathygellis; Lowering the Bar; earlier]
  • Student journalists are blogging dismissed professor Ward Churchill’s lawsuit against the Univ. of Colorado [Race to the Bottom via Ambrogi, Legal Blog Watch]

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Teacher tenure follies

by Walter Olson on July 11, 2008

On Long Island, even a teacher’s guilty plea and likely prison sentence for a fifth DWI arrest in seven years is not necessarily enough for termination. The teacher continues to draw paid leave at an annual salary of $113,559, with a disciplinary hearing coming up next month. (Frank Eltman, “Firing tenured teachers isn’t just difficult, it costs you”, AP/USA Today, Jun. 30). Related: Ray Fisman, Slate.

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How many lawyers does it take to eject an underperforming teacher from a Gotham classroom? Apparently quite a few:

The Bloomberg administration is beginning a drive to remove unsatisfactory teachers, hiring new teams of lawyers and consultants who will help principals build cases against tenured teachers who they believe are not up to the job. …

At the center of the effort is a new Teacher Performance Unit of five lawyers, headed by a former prosecutor fresh from convicting a former private school principal who had a sexual relationship with a student….

The plans, at a cost of $1 million a year [including five additional consultants whose job includes documenting underperformance], are described in a memo and an accompanying letter to principals from Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein. In the letter, he urged principals to help teachers improve but added, “When action must be taken, the disciplinary system for tenured teachers is so time-consuming and burdensome that what is already a stressful task becomes so onerous that relatively few principals are willing to tackle it. As a result, in a typical year only about one-hundredth of 1 percent of tenured teachers are removed for ineffective performance.

“This issue simply must be tackled,” he wrote. …

Randi Weingarten, the president of the city’s teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, called the lawyers a “teacher gotcha unit” and said she found it “disgusting” that the Education Department would issue such a memo after the release of new school report cards that bluntly grade schools A through F.

(cross-posted from Point of Law). More: Jane Genova isn’t a fan of the initiative (Nov. 27).

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Wilmington, N.C.: “The parents of a 16-year-old girl who recently married a 40-year-old former high school coach have filed a lawsuit against the Brunswick County Board of Education, saying school officials failed to protect their daughter.” According to the school board, administrators at South Brunswick High School “closely monitored and limited” the apparent mentoring relationship between student Windy Hager and track coach Brenton Wuchae “but never found evidence of any romance.” On Jun. 18 Wuchae resigned his position and married Ms. Hager. Superintendent Katie McGee stated the next day that “when dealing with tenured employees, suspicion alone cannot warrant dismissal.” Now parents Dennis (“Bubba”) and Betty Hager are suing the school for not doing more, and “have said they reluctantly signed a consent form allowing their daughter to marry her coach”. (AP/WSOC-TV, Jul. 11; WWAY first and second reports; Brunswick Beacon; Wilmington Star-News; ABCNews.com)(via Above the Law).

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Preggers, with tenure?

by Walter Olson on December 21, 2005

New right spotted on the horizon: that of continuing to teach at a private Catholic elementary school, though unmarried and pregnant, and despite having signed a pledge to “convey the teachings of the Catholic faith by [one's] words and actions”. The New York Civil Liberties Union is suing to force St. Rose of Lima school in Rockaway Beach, N.Y. to rehire Michelle McCusker. A New York Daily News editorial says, “It’s called freedom of religion. By all rights, the NYCLU should defend the school’s position rather than assault it.” (“Bigotry – on whose part?”, Nov. 23; Josh Getlin, “Pregnancy sparks faith-based clash”, L.A. Times/Chicago Tribune, Nov. 27; John Leo, “The case of Michelle McCusker”, syndicated/TownHall, Dec. 5).

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As Joanne Jacobs puts it, remarkable and refreshing: “The New York City teachers’ union proposed yesterday cutting to six months the time it takes to remove incompetent teachers, speeding up a process that can now drag on for years.

“As part of a broad overhaul of the disciplinary process and evaluation system for teachers, the union president, Randi Weingarten, also called for ending so-called rubber rooms, where more than 200 teachers facing charges of malfeasance are sent to languish, some for years, while still receiving full pay. She proposed the appointment of a special master and a task force of pro bono lawyers to clear the backlog of cases.” (David Herszenhorn, “Failing City Teachers Face a Faster Ax”, New York Times, Jan. 15) (more)

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U.K. roundup” (perennial litigant), Jun. 12-15, 2003.

‘Resumé spam saddles employers’“, Jun. 3, 2003.

Fair Labor Standards Act, overtime and employee classification suits, 2003:Schools roundup“, Apr. 9.  2001:Wal-Mart- as-’cult’-suit: it is about the money“, Jun. 14.  2000:Goodbye to gaming volunteers?“, Sept. 12 (& update Oct. 3); “Why rush that software project, anyway?” (California overtime law), March 29; “And so now everybody’s happy” (temps fired in wake of Microsoft decision), Feb. 17 (& see letters, Dec. 20); “Strippers in court” (challenge to independent contractor status), Jan. 28; “Microsoft temps can sue for stock options“, Jan. 11. 1999:Don’t call us professionals!“, Oct. 1-3; “Click here to sue!” (AOL volunteers who want to be recategorized as employees), Sept. 7; “Do as we say (I)” (overtime suit filed against Justice Department on behalf of its own lawyers), Aug. 30; “Click here to sue!” (Seattle law firm offers easy way to sign up for labor law class actions), Aug. 19.

It ain’t heavy to him, he’s my brother“, May 1-2, 2003; “Firehouse blues” (too-short firefighter), Feb. 20-21, 2002; “Non-pregnant rescuers, please“, Sept. 13, 2001; “Litigators vs. standardized tests, II: who needs sharp cops?“, Feb. 9-11, 2001; “Slow down, it’s just a fire” (Canadian high court strikes down firefighter speed test), Sept. 17-19, 1999; “Perps got away, but equity was served” (Lanning v. SEPTA: challenge to running test given to prospective transit cops), Sept. 15, 1999 (& Oct. 5-7, 2001, Oct. 25-27, 2002).

U.K.: ‘Killer wrongly sacked for axe attack’“, Apr. 7-8, 2003.

Maybe crime pays dept.” (annual roundup of weird employment and labor law cases), Apr. 1, 2003.

Their own petard, 2003:Wellstone campaign didn’t buy worker’s comp for its employees“, Feb. 6-9. 2002:‘Civil Rights Agency Retaliated Against Worker, EEOC Rules’“, Jun. 14-16; “‘Disability rights attorney accused of having inaccessible office’“, Apr. 25. 2001:EEOC sued for age bias“, Mar. 6.  2000:White House pastry chef harassment suit“, Sept. 18.  1999:Do as we say (I)” (overtime suit filed against Justice Department on behalf of its own lawyers), Aug. 30 (more).

Race-bias cases gone wrong“, Jan. 24-26, 2003.

Vt. high court: ALL-CAPS DISCLAIMER on front page of employee handbook not unambiguous enough“, Jan. 17-19, 2003.

Ninth Circuit panel sniffs collusion in bias settlement fees“, Dec. 16-17, 2002.

Public employee entrenchment, 2002:Munched zoo animals, gets six months severance” (Germany), Nov. 8-10; “Convicted, but still on their teaching jobs“, Jul. 10-11; “School told to rehire cocaine abuser“, Mar. 20-21.  2001:‘Poor work tolerated, employees say’“, Nov. 15.  2000:Reprimand ‘very serious’ for teacher” (had given 11-year-old girl money to buy marijuana), June 27; “‘Foreman who slept on job wins reinstatement’“, June 7; “From the labor arbitration front” (disallowed firing of Ct. town employee who pleaded no contest to larceny), March 28;  “Not to be dismissed” (unfireable workers, Canada and U.K.), Feb. 25. 1999:Better than reading a lunchtime novel” (IRS employee sues; fired for accessing taxpayers’ personal returns 476 times), Oct. 25; “Undislodgeable educators” (teacher peer review undermined by tenure legalities), Aug. 18.

‘Nannies to sue for racial bias’” (U.K.), Oct. 30-31, 2002.

Looking back on EEOC v. Sears” (sex discrimination, statistics and history), Oct. 28-29, 2002.

Appearance and authenticity, 2002:‘Demand for more ugly people on TV’” (Norway: higher “ugly quotas” sought), Oct. 21. 2001:Facial-jewelry discrimination charged“, Jul. 2; “Pregnant actress complains at being denied virgin role“, Jun. 21; “‘Fired transsexual dancers out for justice’“, Mar. 23-25.  2000:Appearance-blind hiring?“, Dec. 26-29; “Latest female Santa case“, Dec. 13-14 (and see Dec. 18-19); “Wal-Mart wins female Santa case“, Oct. 12; “Next: gender-blind stage casting?” (theme restaurant’s hiring of males as “riverboat tough” food servers), Mar. 24-26.

U.K.: ‘Dr. Botch’ sues hospital for wrongful dismissal“, Oct. 18-20, 2002; “Let them sue us!” (hospitals get sued if they withdraw privileges from questionable doctors), Mar. 23, 2000.

‘Inundations of electronic resumes pose problems for employers’“, Oct. 16-17, 2002.

Latest sacked-Santa suit“, Oct. 9-10, 2002 (& Dec. 13-14 and Oct. 12, 2000)

Right to break workplace rules and then return“, Sept. 16-17, 2002.

Personal responsibility roundup” (workers’ comp told to compensate worker for his suicide attempt), Sept. 12, 2002; “‘Court upholds workers compensation for drunk, injured worker’“, April 6-8, 2001.

National origin, language on the job, 2002:Hiring apple pickers = racketeering“, Sept. 9-10; “‘Surgeon halts operation over foreign nurses’ poor English’“, Jul. 25; “No ‘flood’ of Muslim or Arab discrimination complaints“, Jun. 17-18; “Must-know-Spanish rules defended“, May 28-29; “High court nixes back pay for illegal aliens“, Apr. 3-4.  2001:Sued if you do dept.: language in the workplace“, Dec. 19 (& Nov. 17, 1999); “Competitor can file RICO suit over hiring of illegal aliens“, Dec. 13-14; “Opponents of profiling, still in the driver’s seat“, Nov. 2-4; “Employee’s right to jubilate over Sept. 11 attack“, Oct. 9 (& letters, Oct. 22). 2000: Christian Science Monitor on accent discrimination, see Dec. 18-19; “Green cards gather moss” (immigration delays), Feb. 4; “Back pay obtained for illegal aliens“, Jan. 10 (& Oct. 28, 1999).  1999:52 green-card pickup” (rules against asking for too much documentation of citizenship in hiring), Oct. 29; “Say what?” (accent), Reason, November 1997.

Ambulance driver who broke for doughnuts entitled to sue“, Nov. 2-4, 2001 (& Jun. 28-30, 2002).

Not worth the hassle?” (Home Depot tries to avoid federal contractor status), Jun. 17-18, 2002.

Advertisement for ‘friendly’ employee deemed discriminatory“, Jun. 10, 2002.

Catharine MacKinnon, call your office“, May 16, 2002.

Soap star: ABC wrote my character out of the show” (“medical leave” for drug rehab), Apr. 10, 2002.

Will EU silence the pipes?” (occupational noise regulation), Mar. 8-10, 2002; “Britain’s delicate soldiery“, Dec. 22-25, 2000.

Retaliation:Inability to get along with co-workers” (employer’s counterclaim as retaliation), Mar. 8-10, 2002; “Latest lose-on-substance, win-on-retaliation case“, Oct. 16, 2001; “Latest lose-on-substance, win-on-retaliation employment claim“, Jan. 25, 2000; “Employment-law retaliation: real frogs from ‘totally bogus’ gardens“, Sept. 29, 1999.

Aerobics studio mustn’t favor the svelte“, Feb. 27-28, 2002 (& update May 10-12).

Jarring discord” (Audubon String Quartet), June 5, 2000 (& June 14, 2001, Nov. 13, 2001, May 10-12, 2002).

European workplace notes“, Feb. 25-26, 2002.

‘The Enron mythos’” (employee compensation, 401(k)), Feb. 15-17, 2002.

Sept. 11 and court awards” (price, payouts of employment liability insurance soar), Jan. 14-15, 2002; “‘Workers win more lawsuits, awards’“, March 29, 2001.

‘UK women can demand to know men’s salaries’“, Dec. 28, 2001-Jan. 1, 2002.

Menace of office-park geese“, Dec. 13-14, 2001.

‘Halliburton shares plunge on verdict’” (law-firm whistleblowing), Dec. 10, 2001.

An ill wind” (layoffs mean prosperity for employment lawyers), Dec. 4, 2001.

Rejecting an Apple windfall” (race discrimination suit), Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2001.

Sued if you do dept.: co-worker’s claim of rape“, Nov. 7-8, 2001.

In the mean time, let them breathe spores” (OSHA and anthrax), Nov. 6, 2001.

Judge may revive ‘Millionaire’ ADA case” (Echabazal v. Chevron: employer’s right to turn away workers who would be injured by job), Nov. 5, 2001.

‘Attorney Ordered To Pay Fees for “Rambo” Tactics’“, Oct. 5-7, 2001; “Even the chance of loser-pays helps keep ‘em honest” (pilots’ union bid for back pay), August 12, 1999.

Employment class actions: EEOC to the rescue“, Sept. 10, 2001.

Not discriminatory to kick sleeping worker’s chair” (includes item on U.K. employee privacy), Sept. 3, 2001.

Firefighter’s demand: back pay for time facing criminal rap“, Aug. 29-30, 2001.

Negligent to lack employee spouse-abuse policy?“, Aug. 29-30, 2001.

N.J. court declares transsexuals protected class“, July 30, 2001; “‘Fired transsexual dancers out for justice’“, March 23-25, 2001; “Columnist-fest” (transgender employee sues over no-skirt order), May 31, 2000.

Age discrimination law:Research for lawyers, courtesy of their targets“, July 6-8, 2001; “EEOC sued for age bias“, March 6, 2001; “‘Toronto Torch’ age-bias suit” (stripper), May 23, 2000; “Take the settlement, sue anyway“, March 13; “‘Tenure Gridlock: When Professors Choose Not To Retire’“, March 3-5; “‘The case for age discrimination’“, Jan. 20, 2000; “Age-bias law expands” (Calif., N.J. developments), Aug. 12, 1999.

Court says tipsy topless dancer can sue club“, Jul. 3-4, 2001.

‘Hearsay harassment’ not actionable“, Jun. 12, 2001.

Dispatches from abroad” (U.K. policeman claims snoring resulted from inhalation of cannabis), May 28, 2001.

Six-hour police standoff no grounds for loss of job, says employee“, May 21, 2001.

Letter to the editor” (arbitration agreements), Apr. 16, 2001.

Comparable worth in Maine” (state enacts “pay equity”), April 20-22, 2001; “Comparable worth: it’s back“, May 17, 2000.

’2000′s Ten Wackiest Employment Lawsuits’“, Apr. 13-15, 2001.

‘Kava tea drinker alleges bias in FedEx firing’“, Mar. 19-20, 2001.

Ergonomics:Narrow escape from ergonomic regs“, March 9-11, 2001; “‘Cop’s claim: gun belt too heavy’“, Feb. 23-25, 2001; “Born to regulate“, June 28, 2000; “Go ahead and comment — if it’ll do much good” (OSHA ergonomics regulations), March 17-19, 2000; “Repetitive motion injury Hall of Fame” (phone sex operator), Nov. 22, 1999.

Forbidden paint zone” (New York City schools’ 10-foot rule), Feb. 27, 2001.

Employees not tenured in California“, Feb. 7-8, 2001.

Digital serfs?“, Jan. 26-28, 2001.

‘Firms mum on troubled workers’“, Jan. 22-23, 2001.

Police-record discrimination:Coming soon to a school near you” (applicant with police record OK’d since no convictions), Jan. 17, 2001; “‘Killer’s suit alleges job discrimination’“, Jan. 15, 2001; “You were negligent to hire me” (undisclosed rape-related conviction), May 30, 2000; “Hire that felon, or else“  (Wisc. law protects felons from job discrimination), Jan. 7, 2000 (& earlier commentary: Sept. 24, 1999).

Stressed out in New Hampshire” (stress from legitimate workplace criticism triggers workers’ comp), Jan. 4, 2000; “Stress of listening to clients’ problems” (masseuse wins benefits), June 21, 2000; “Weekend reading” (workplace psychological injury claims), July 31-August 1, 1999.

Damages, big numbers:Big numbers” (Kroger Co. hit for $55 million after workplace accident), April 16, 2001; “Property taxes triple after wrongful-termination suit“, Dec. 20, 2000; “‘Stock Options: A Gold Mine for Racial-Discrimination Suits?’“, Dec. 11-12; “How to succeed in business?” (Christian Curry case), Nov. 20; “Wonder Bread hierarchy too white, suit charges“, July 10 (updates Aug. 4: jury awards $132 M damages and Oct. 10: judge cuts award by $97 M); “Penalty for co.’s schedule inflexibility: 30 years’ front pay” (ADA), June 16-18; “Record employment verdict thrown out” (Lane v. Hughes Aircraft), March 9, 2000; “From our mail sack: memoir of a morsel” (Calif. employer’s story), Nov. 24-25, 1999; “The stuffed-grape-leaf standard” (litigator says $300K isn’t that much money), August 14-15, 1999.

Promising areas for suits” (broken interview promises, third party suits to sidestep workers’ comp limits), Dec. 7, 2000.

‘Company Is Told to Stay and Face New Union’“, Nov. 24-26, 2000; NLRB lurches left”, Oct. 11, 2000.

Obese soldiers class action“, Nov. 10-12, 2000.

New unfairness for old” (Employment Non-Discrimination Act), Oct. 26, 2000.

Prospect of injury no reason not to hire” (ADA), July 5, 2000; and see disabled-rights page.

Judge tells EEOC to pay employer’s fees“, Oct. 5, 2000.

When sued, be sure to respond” (Wal-Mart transsexual employee), Jul. 21-23, 2000 (update Sept. 6-7: judge grants retrial after default judgment).

EEOC: offbeat beliefs may be protected against workplace bias“, Sept. 5, 2000.

Losing your legislative battles?  Just sue instead” (contraception coverage by employer health plans), July 26-27, 2000.

Coke:‘Coca-Cola settles race suit’“, Nov. 17-19, 2000; “Class-action lawyers to Coke clients: you’re fired“, Jul. 21-23; “‘Coke plaintiff eavesdrops on lawyers; case unravels’“, Jul. 19-20; “‘Ad deal links Coke, lawyer in suit’” (Willie Gary, suing Coke on behalf of clients, enters into a lucrative ad deal with it), May 11, 2000.

Chutzpah is. . .” (marital-status discrimination case by boss’s ex-son-in-law), Jul. 18, 2000.

Welcome readers” (CNNfn article advising workers thinking of suing employers; cites this site), Jun. 19, 2000; “Favorite bookmark” (head of Employment Policy Foundation likes this site), May 23, 2000.

Look for the Kiwi label” (sweatshops), Jun. 9-11, 2000.

Another Mr. Civility nominee” (associate at law firm asks for bonus, is fired), June 2-4, 2000; “Smudged plumage” (Angelos’s Orioles won’t hire Cuban defectors), May 24, 2000.

Funny hats and creative drawing“, May 1, 2000.

Employer-based health coverage in retreat?“, Mar. 31-April 2, 2000.

OSHA and at-home workers:OSHA & telecommuters: the long view“, April 7-9, 2000; “Update: OSHA in full retreat on home office issue“, Jan. 29-30; “OSHA at-home worker directive“, Jan. 8-9; “OSHA backs off on home-office regulation“, Jan. 6; “Beyond parody: ‘OSHA Covers At-Home Workers’“, Jan. 5, 2000.

Feds’ mission: target Silicon Valley for race complaints“, Feb. 29, 2000.

Judgment reversed in Seinfeld case“, Feb. 26-27, 2000.

Private job bias lawsuits tripled in 1990s“, Jan. 19, 2000; “Employee lawsuits increasing” (Society for Human Resource Management survey), August 25, 1999.

Warn and be sued” (industrial psychologist found liable for warning co-workers of patient’s violent fantasies), Jan. 12, 2000; “Indications of turbulence” (pilot whose mental fitness for duty was challenged wins partial back pay), Dec. 1, 1999.

Christmas lawyer humor” (“Restructuring at the North Pole” parody), Dec. 23-26, 1999.

Truth in recruitment?” (N.J. jury verdict), Dec. 17-18, 1999.

From the quote file” (Legal Times: U.S. Supreme Court as nation’s chief human resources manager), Dec. 15, 1999.

Under surveillance at work?Hold your e-tongue” (employee emails), Nov. 9, 1999; “EEOC encourages anonymous harassment complaints“, Sept. 3; “Please — there are terminals present” (email censorship and harassment law), July 30; “‘Destroy privacy expectations: lawyer’” (advice managers are getting), July 26, 1999.

Bring a long book” (New York takes average of seven years to adjudicate discrimination complaints), Nov. 4, 1999.

Perkiness a prerequisite?” (bias suit says employer wanted workers to look like “Doris Day or the boy next door”), Nov. 2, 1999.

New Jersey court system faces employment complaint“, Oct. 21, 1999.

Blackboard jungle” (Ann Arbor, Mich. substitute teachers’ suit gets $30 million), Sept. 14, 1999.

Labor Day: ‘Overworked America?’“, Sept. 7, 1999.

Big numbers” (Kroger worker $55 million award not blocked by workers’ comp), April 16, 2001; “Block PATH to lawsuits” (claims against NY-NJ commuter line under Federal Employer’s Liability Act), Sept. 1, 1999.

Ohio high court says forget tort reform; should unionists be cheering?” (unions exempted from exposure to many injury suits), August 17, 1999.

You made me defame myself” (workplace defamation law doctrine of “self-compelled publication”), August 10, 1999.

All have lost, and all must have damages” (suit against employer by insurance agent who sold allegedly deceptive policies), August 3, 1999.


Other writings by Overlawyered.com‘s editor: The Excuse Factory: What Happened When America Unleashed the Lawsuit (Free Press, 1997); writings on disabled rights/ADA; on harassment and sex discrimination law; on other branches of discrimination law.


Grades and honors, 2003:‘Student sues over top title’” (N.J. valedictorian), May 3-4 (& update May 13: wins case); “Teachers afraid“, Mar. 31; “My lawyer says I’m the valedictorian“, Feb. 18; “‘Student sues to get A+, not A’“, Feb. 10.  2002:Welcome Salon.com readers, Bill O’Reilly listeners“, Jul. 12-14; “Welcome Fox News viewers/ readers“, Aug. 2-4; “‘Student gets diploma after threatening lawsuit’“, Jun. 13.  2000:Lawsuits over failing grades“, Jan. 4. 1999:You shoulda flunked me!” (suit by athlete over too-lenient grading), Dec. 27-28. 

“Annals of zero tolerance”, 2002:Black eye for zero tolerance” (students say they found pills on school grounds), Sept. 30; “Steak knives, finger ‘guns’“, May 16; “‘Positive nicotine test to keep student from prom’” (over-18 student, off-premises consumption), Apr. 26-28 (& update May 10-12: school backs down); “Zero tolerance leaves ‘em gasping” (asthma inhalers), Apr. 8-9; “School told to rehire cocaine abuser“, Mar. 20-21; “Goodbye to zero tolerance?“, Jan. 25-27.  2001:Under the Christmas tree” (toy soldiers), Dec. 21-23; “John Leo on Overlawyered.com“, Aug. 15; “The rest of Justice O’Connor’s speech“, July 6-8 (& letters to the editor, Aug. 1); “Bagpiper prom garb” (skean dubh knife), June 21 (& letter to the editor, July 6); “Drawing pictures of weapons“, May 15; “Zero tolerance spiral” (roundup), April 12; “Non-gun control” (second-graders’ paper gun), March 23-25; “ABA criticizes zero tolerance“, Feb. 21-22; “Pointing chicken finger“, Feb. 2-4; “Fateful fiction“, Jan. 30; “Gun-shaped medallion“, Jan. 18; “‘Boy faces jail for slapping girl’s bottom’“, Jan. 5-7.  2000:U.K.: skipping, ‘conkers’ taboo in schoolyards“, Dec. 15-17; “School now says hugs not forbidden“, Oct. 4; “Tweety bird chain” (also African tribal knives case), Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (& update Oct. 4); “Kopel on zero-tolerance policies“, Sept. 25-26; “‘NZ kids get ‘license’ to play with toy guns’“, Sept. 8-10; “Ease up on kids” (Salt Lake Tribune), Aug. 4-7; “Annals of zero tolerance” (six-year-old’s “sexual harassment”, finger guns, ABA Journal), May 22; “Kindergartners’ ‘bang, you’re dead’“, April 17; “Don’t play James Bond” (fifth grader’s plastic toy gun), March 28; “Scissors, teacher’s beer“, March 15; “Hug protest in Halifax“, March 2.  1999:Roundup“, Dec. 27-28; “Weekend reading: columnist-fest” (John Leo), Dec. 11-12; “Scissors, toy-gun cases“, Dec. 8; “The fateful thumb” (gunlike hand gesture), Nov. 20-21; “More nail clippers cases“, Nov. 10; Cannon shots banned” (yearbook photo posed on artillery), Oct. 30-31 (update Nov. 26-28: school relents); “Zero tolerance strikes again” (knife to cut cake), Oct. 23-24; Dog searches of junior high lockers” (South Carolina), Oct. 15; Annals of zero tolerance” (“Billabong” label clothing), Sept. 2 (& Sept. 8 update); “For your own good” (transparent backpacks only), August 4.

Stop having fun, 2003: Letter to the editor, Mar. 31.  2002:Helmets for roller skaters“, Jun. 7-9; “‘Remove child before folding’” (George Will on playgrounds), Jun. 5; “Overprotecting the kids“, Feb. 18-19.  2001:Dodge ball on endangered list“, June 13; “By reader acclaim: ‘Clowns told to get custard pie insurance’“, Apr. 9. 2000:U.K.: skipping, ‘conkers’ taboo in schoolyards“, Dec. 15-17; “Good Humor man busted for ringing bell“, Nov. 6; “‘NZ kids get ‘license’ to play with toy guns’“, Sept. 8-10; “The forbidden cookout“, Jun. 2-4; “Musical chairs disapproved” (game said to encourage violence), May 24; “Dismounted” (horseback program for mentally impaired kids), May 12; “Little League lawsuits“, May 3; “Gray sameness of modern playgrounds“, Apr. 25-26; “Columnist-fest” (Girl Scout horseback riding disclaimer), Apr. 6; “Rise of the high school sleepover disclaimer“, Mar. 22; “Girl puts head under guillotine; sues when hurt“, Mar. 8.  1999:A lovable liability risk” (principal’s golden retriever), Nov. 18-19; “Seesaws as museum items” (towns sued over playgrounds), Sept. 27; “Spreading to the U.K.” (schools adventure trips, etc.), Aug. 5; For your own good” (ban on clothing or shoes that might cause students to trip; non-transparent backpacks), Aug. 4Also see pools and swimming; scary things

School violence cases, 2002:Florida school shooting: the deep pockets did it“, Dec. 13-15.  2001:Put the blame on games“, April 24 (& see March 6, 2002: judge dismisses case).  2000:‘Just put the candy in the bag, lady’“, Sept. 4; “Principal, school officials sued over Columbine massacre“, Jul. 21-23 (update Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 2001: judge dismisses most counts); “Columnist-fest” (Anne Roiphe), May 2; “Overlawyered schools: three views“, Apr. 21-23; “Judge dismisses case blaming entertainment biz for school shootings” (Paducah case), Apr. 13.  1999: Descent of the blame counselors“, Nov. 2; “Nominated by reader acclamation” (Klebold parents sue), Oct. 18; “Censorship via (novel) lawsuit“, Jul. 22.

Special ed, disabled rights, 2003: Letter to the editor“, Jun. 20-22. 2002: ‘Ex-Teach’s Suit: Kids Abused Me’“, Jun. 26-27 (& update Jul. 24); “Minimum GPA for study abroad said unfair to disabled“, Jan. 9-10.  2001:Connecticut to ‘mainstream’ retarded kids“, Jul. 5 (& letter to the editor, Aug. 1); “Litigators vs. standardized tests, I: the right to conceal“, Feb. 9-11. 2000:‘NCAA Can Be Sued Under ADA, Federal District Judge Rules’“, Nov. 28; “Back-to-school roundup: granola bars out, Ritalin in“, Aug. 29-30; “Unwanted medical duties” (care of students), June 5; “Overlawyered schools: three views” (school discipline and IDEA, etc.), Apr. 21-23; “Disabled test-accommodation roundup“, Feb. 16; “Disabled accommodation in testing“, Jan. 12.  1999: After Casey Martin, the deluge” (youth soccer), Nov. 5-7 (updated Nov. 13-14); “Disabled accommodation vs. testing fairness“, Sept. 21; Death by mainstreaming” (hazards of mentally disabled 12-year-old’s rights), August 31; and see disabled rights generally

Higher ed, 2003: MIT sued over student’s nitrous-oxide death“, Feb. 25.  2002:‘Rocketing liability rates squeeze medical schools’“, May 28-29; “‘Tilting the playing field’” (Title IX), May 14-15; “Law hurts men, women” (Title IX), Jan. 23-24; “Class action on behalf of illegal-alien college students“, Jan. 11-13; “‘Ex-student sentenced for rape lie’” (wants to become attorney), Jan. 11-13 (& see May 26-29, 2000: Stephen Glass graduates Georgetown Law); “Minimum GPA for study abroad said unfair to disabled“, Jan. 9-10.  2001:University official vs. web anonymity“, Oct. 30; “‘We often turn irresponsibility into legal actions against others’” (Robyn Blumner on U. of South Fla. art student harassment case), Aug. 13-14; “Don’t rock the Coke machine“, Jul. 20-22; “By reader acclaim: student sues law prof over class demonstration“, June 27; “‘Persistent suitor’” (criticism of academic journals’ publisher), Feb. 6.  2000:Gets no kick from football verdict” (Title IX), Nov. 3 (& Jan. 31, 2001); “Place kicker awarded $2 million“, Oct. 13; “Don’t talk to the humans” (human-subject experimentation rules), Sept. 1-3; “Why you can’t trust letters of recommendation“, Jul. 10; “Degrees of intimidation” (book on “diploma mills”, Apr. 28-30; “Prof sues for right to flunk students” (Univ. of Mich.), Mar. 16; “Mormon actress sues over profanity” (says Univ. of Utah theater dept. insisted she utter foul language in scripts), Jan. 24.  1999:Link your way to liability?” (prof sues over “course critique” website), Nov. 15; “We didn’t mean those preferences!” (veterans’ preferences unpopular at Berkeley), Nov. 11; and see disabled rights in education

Sports, 2003:Schools roundup“, Apr. 9; “Sis-Boom-Sue” (cheerleading), Jan. 15-16. 2002:‘Father files suit after son fails to make MVP award’” (hockey, New Brunswick), Nov. 8-10; “Tour of the blogs” (Title IX), Sept. 24; “‘Parents suing youth football league’“, Aug. 28; “‘Tilting the playing field’” (Title IX), May 14-15 (& Jan. 23-24); “‘Before you cheer … “Sign here”‘” (cheerleading release forms), Mar. 15-17.  2001:Federal judge rules high-school sports schedules unlawful“, Dec. 24-27 (& letter to editor, Feb. 28); “‘Father seeks $1.5 million after son misses varsity spot’“, Dec. 13-14; “Letter to the editor” (junior varsity dance team), Sept. 3; “‘Dad sues after girl fails to make cheerleading squad’“, Jun. 4; “Suing the coach“, May 2.  2000:‘NCAA Can Be Sued Under ADA, Federal District Judge Rules’“, Nov. 28; “‘Opposition to Indian mascots intensifies’“, Nov. 8; “Gets no kick from football verdict” (Title IX), Nov. 3; “Place kicker awarded $2 million“, Oct. 13; “‘Mother sues over lack of ice time for goalie son’“, Sept. 11; “Litigious varsity“, Feb. 8-9.  1999:Gimme an ‘S’, ‘U’, ‘E’” (suits over failure to make cheerleading squads), Nov. 15; After Casey Martin, the deluge” (youth soccer), Nov. 5-7 (updated Nov. 13-14); “ADA protection for boozing student athletes“, Sept. 29.


Overlawyered.com commentary:

Schools roundup“, Apr. 9, 2003. 

Teachers afraid“, Mar. 31, 2003.

Kids’ art on walls ruled a fire hazard“, Mar. 20, 2003.

Suit: schoolkids shouldn’t attend rodeo“, Oct. 24, 2002.

Cutting edge of discrimination law” (Puyallup district, Wash.), Oct. 7-8, 2002.

Tour of the blogs” (suit vs. statewide tests), Sept. 24, 2002.

Don’t ban peanut butter from schools“, Aug. 23-25, 2002. 

Personnel:Schools roundup“, Apr. 9, 2003; “Convicted, but still on their teaching jobs“, Jul. 10-11, 2002; “School told to rehire cocaine abuser“, Mar. 20-21, 2002; “Coming soon to a school near you” (applicant with police record OK’d since no convictions), Jan. 17, 2001; “Property taxes triple after wrongful-termination suit“, Dec. 20, 2000; “Reprimand ‘very serious’ for teacher” (had given 11-year-old girl money to buy marijuana), Jun. 27, 2000; “Victim of the century?” (misbehaving principal collects disability benefits for sexual compulsion), Jun. 2-4, 2000; “You were negligent to hire me” (undisclosed rape-related conviction), May 30, 2000. 

‘Suits Against Schools Explore New Turf’“, Jun. 19-20, 2002. 

Folk medicine meets child abuse reporting” (“coining” of children’s skin), May 31-June 2, 2002. 

Letter to the editor” (sending kids home with slight sniffle), Apr. 11, 2002. 

‘Before you cheer … “Sign here”‘“, Mar. 15-17, 2002.

Education reforms could serve as basis for new suits“, Mar. 13-14, 2002. 

Jail for schoolyard taunts?“, Feb. 27-28, 2002. 

‘Hot-dog choking prompts lawsuit’“, Jan. 2-3, 2002. 

Australia: student wins millions over corporal punishment“, Feb. 20, 2001 (& update Dec. 15-16); “Bankrupting Canadian churches?” (Indian residential schools), Aug. 23-24, 2000. 

Overlawyered schools roundup“, Dec. 7-9, 2001. 

Educational privacy gone to extremes“, June 27, 2001 (& Nov. 28, Dec. 7-9). 

‘School sued over poor results’” (U.K.), Nov. 23-25, 2001. 

From the paint wars: a business’s demise, a school district’s hypocrisy“, Nov. 13, 2001. 

‘Teen sex offenders face years of stigma’“, Nov. 5, 2001. 

‘Never far from school halls: the lawsuit’“, Oct. 10-11, 2001; “Election roundup” (Bush proposal to protect educators from lawsuits), Oct. 23, 2000; Overlawyered classrooms” (survey of school administrators finds fear of litigation), Sept. 11-12, 1999

School email pranksters to Leavenworth?” (antihacking proposal), Aug. 10-12, 2001. 

‘Airline restricts children flying alone’“, Aug. 6, 2001. 

‘Dead teen’s family sues Take Our Kids To Work’“, May 31, 2001. 

Anonymity takes a D.C. hit” (bill to ban anonymous email, browsing in schools, libraries), May 21, 2001. 

‘Iowa Supreme Court says counselors liable for bad advice’“, April 27-29, 2001. 

‘Teacher sues parent over handshake’“, March 26, 2001. 

No more Indian team names?“, March 15, 2001. 

Appeals panel: schools’ harassment rule unconstitutional“, Feb. 27, 2001; Weekend reading” (Title IX and “student-on-student” harassment), August 21-22, 1999

Forbidden paint zone” (New York City’s 10-foot rule), Feb. 27, 2001. 

U.K.’s school bullying suits“, Feb. 14-15, 2001. 

Behind ‘Boston Public’“, Nov. 21, 2000. 

‘Internet Usage Records Accessible Under FOI Laws’“, Nov. 14, 2000.

School suspends girl for casting spell“, Nov. 1, 2000. 

Back-to-school roundup: granola bars out, Ritalin in” (allergies), Aug. 29-30, 2000; “Multiple chemical sensitivity from school construction“, Jul. 3-4; “Scented hair gel, deodorant could mean jail time for Canadian youth“, Apr. 24, 2000. 

Letourneau scandal: now where’s my million?” (boy sues), Apr. 20, 2000. 

School safety hysteria, internalized” (program encourages students to inform anonymously on depressed or angry classmates), Apr. 7-9, 2000; “Overlawyered schools: three views” (update), Apr. 21-23, 2000. 

$60,000 battle over $5 t-shirt” (dress code, heavy-metal t-shirt), Apr. 19, 2000 (update, Aug. 29-30: case settled). 

Welcome, Yahoo and About.com visitors” (this page listed), Jan. 11, 2000. 

Got milk?  Get sued” (veggie lawsuit against milk in schools), Dec. 16, 1999. 

Teachers sue students:Back-to-school roundup: granola bars out, Ritalin in“, Aug. 29-30, 2000; Drastic remedy for unruly classrooms“, Sept. 28, 1999.

Teach but don’t touch” (educators, camp counselors afraid of physical contact with kids), Sept. 15, 1999.

Blackboard jungle” (Ann Arbor substitute teacher back-pay case), Sept. 14, 1999 (& letter to the editor, Jun. 20-22.).

Undislodgeable educators” (tenure plus employment law), Aug. 18, 1999. 
 


Other online articles of interest:

Wendy M. Williams and Stephen J. Ceci, “Accommodating Learning Disabilities Can Bestow Unfair Advantages“, Chronicle of Higher Education, Aug. 6, 1999.


Articles by Overlawyered.com editor Walter Olson:

Title IX’s Invisible Ink” (“student-on-student” harassment), Reason, August/Sept. 1999.

Standard Accommodations” (special ed expands toward infinity), Reason, February 1999. 

Title IX from Outer Space: How federal law is killing men’s college sports“, Reason, February 1998. 

Opposing View: Meddlers Won’t Quit” (EEOC guidelines on college athletic coaches’ pay), USA Today, November 17, 1997. 

Say What?” (“accent discrimination”; Westfield, Mass. school case), Reason, November 1997.

The Law on Trial“, Wall Street Journal, October 14, 1997 (review of Beyond all Reason by Daniel Farber and Suzanna Sherry).

Time to Get Off the Tenure Track“, The New York Times, July 8, 1997.

Shut Up, They Explained” (zero-tolerance harassment policies), Reason, June 1997.

Have You Used a Kid Today As a Political Pawn?“, Chicago Tribune, November 14, 1996.

A Connecticut Yankee in Court” (Sheff v. O’Neill decision), City Journal, Autumn 1996.

Kidlib and Mrs. Clinton: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,? National Review, May 11, 1992. 

Breaking Ranks“, review of Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby by Stephen Carter, National Review, October 7, 1991.