Missouri is one of the most recent states to face challenges brought against its prohibition on same-sex marriages. While so far these decisions have come down in favor of same-sex marriage, the multiple suits, appeals, and decisions have created confusion about when and where a same-sex marriage may be recognized in Missouri. There likely won’t be a complete answer until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the matter (which may happen before summer gets here). Nonetheless federal agencies are taking the opportunity to expand right previously only provided to opposite-sex partnerships and the Department of Labor has done just that with the Family Medical Leave Act. Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading
Category Archives: Missouri
In Missouri, in order to make a claim for discriminatory harassment, the individual has to be able to show four things:
- The individual is a member of a protected class (race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, or age);
- The individual suffered harassment related to their protected class;
- The harassment occurred because the individual belonged to the protected class; and
- A “term, condition, or privilege” of the individual’s employment was affected by the harassment.
The question faced in a recent Missouri appellate decision is whether the fourth requirement can be met even in a scenario where someone has not suffered from one specific act that caused economic harm. Fuchs v. Dept. of Revenue, WD77155 (Mo. App. W.D. Aug. 26, 2014). Hit the jump for the details… Continue reading
In a decision that could have repercussions for districts across Missouri, a Missouri appellate court has upheld a jury decision against the Kansas City School District with damages totaling almost $450,000. See Hurst v. Kansas City Mo. Sch. Dist., No. WD76534 (Mo. App. W.D. April 29, 2014). The decision highlights methods that many districts are using to “creatively” cut workforce and circumstances where such methods break the law. Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading
Teachers and teacher aides dealing with violent students may feel there are few resources to correct the students’ behavior and protect themselves. Administrators, tired of dealing with the same students repeatedly, will leave the classroom staff to fend for themselves and police and prosecutors are reluctant to press criminal charges against minors. Additionally, school employees are often reluctant to protect themselves as that, almost unerringly, leads to a hotline report of child abuse or neglect. This leaves many school employees facing a workplace where they can routinely expect to be punched, bit, scratched, and spit on. However, a recent decision from the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, may provide some remedy when the student’s parents have refused to take action to alleviate the situation. See Ridgell v. McDermott, No. ED100402 (Mo. App. E.D. April 15, 2014).
Hit the jump for all the details… Continue reading
When educators are sued for situations or circumstances that occur in the course of their employment, there are a number of potential protections that can shield them from liability. A recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals analyzed the interaction of two of these protections when a student is hurt at school. See M.C.-B v. Hazelwood Sch. Dist., No. ED99601 (Mo. App. E.D. Nov. 12, 2013). The case illustrates the different immunities that may apply to educators and how those immunities interact with Missouri law. To find out more, hit the jump… Continue reading
The Missouri Supreme Court just ruled on a lawsuit regarding the Governor’s ability to withhold money appropriated for a fiscal year. For a recent example, during the run up to the legislative veto session in September, Governor Jay Nixon announced that he would be withholding nearly $400 million from the state’s 2014 budget due to concerns over the misguided tax cut bill that he had vetoed earlier in the year. The lawsuit stemmed from a similar withholding that occurred after the Joplin tornado. Hit the jump for a walkthrough of the facts and an explanation of what the Governor’s withholding powers really are… Continue reading
Anyone interested in seeing the myriad changes effected by the Missouri Legislature in the last session would do well to take a gander at the newest edition of the Missouri Bar Legislative Digest. They have done a terrific job of providing easy to understand summaries of the many, many bills passed earlier this year (with links to the full text if you really want to dig into the details). Additionally, they provide a handy index of bills by subject matter so that you can quickly see which bills will have the most impact on you. Pair this Missouri Bar resource with the list of the Governor’s actions on each of these bills, you will find yourself well prepared for the veto session that is scheduled to start on Wednesday.
If you take the time to get educated on only one issue, I would urge you to look up the facts on House Bill 253. This tax cut proposal, if Governor Nixon’s veto is overridden, is set to cut millions of dollars from education, mental health care, public works, and the legal system. Learn the facts and then contact your representative so that we continue to put the children of Missouri first.
The Children’s Division (CD) is the organization responsible for investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect in Missouri. Two recent cases from Missouri appellate courts found that CD had failed to follow the time limits set in statute, thereby negating their investigations. See Williams v. Missouri, No. WD75693 (Mo. App. W.D. July 23, 2013) and Frey v. Levy, No. SD32307 (Mo. App. S.D. May 9, 2013). Unfortunately, the causes of these failures are varied and don’t have a simple solution. Hit the jump for analyses of Williarms and Frye and some thoughts on how we’ve arrived here… Continue reading
If you read my previous article on Missouri’s student transfer law, you will know that just barely a month ago the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the statute that allows students in unaccredited districts to transfer to bordering accredited districts. Since that time as many as 2600 students planned to leave the Riverview Gardens and Normandy school districts for neighboring districts. In response, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued guidance that purported to give districts guidelines for limiting the potential influx of new students. Unfortunately, that guidance has now been called into question… Continue reading
This past legislative session introduced a small change to the child abuse and neglect mandatory reporting requirements that will effect all public education employees. Because this change comes so quickly on the heels of the much larger change to abuse and neglect reporting requirements that went into effect last year, I wanted to take a little time and do a combination introduction / refresher of reporting duties. We’ll go through the two separate reporting requirements in Missouri (you did know there were two requirements right??), talk about what some signs of abuse and neglect might be, and analyze what impact the change will have.
Hit the jump to stay updated… Continue reading