Tag Archives: Race

Discriminatory Behavior: Do PIPs and “Coaching Plans” Count?

Anyone familiar with educator employment has likely heard the terms PIP, PDP, or FIP before.  PIPs, short for Professional Improvement Plans, are generally the first attempt of an employer to change the behavior of an employee.  Understandably, many people find being placed on PIPs surprising and very stressful, this is particularly true when an individual has been with an employer for decades only to find themselves suddenly placed under a microscope.  Placement on a PIP can make an individual to feel targeted and harassed, which leads to the obvious question, can a PIP by itself be discriminatory?  A recent decision from a federal appellate court addresses just this issue.  See Perret v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 770 F.3d 336 (5th Cir. 2014) (hat tip to the Laconic Law Blog for pointing this case out).  Hit the jump for the analysis… Continue reading

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What exactly is a “Hostile Work Environment”?

In my experience, the prohibitions on “hostile work environment” and “harassment” are some of the most misunderstood by individuals not in the legal field.  Unlike many areas of law where archaic latin terms are used to describe legal ideas (“mens rea” or “habeus corpus” anyone?), both of these take normal everyday words and press them into service as specific legal terms.  Therefore, while we can all understand when someone is feeling harassed or that their workplace is hostile, determining when legal rights have been violated is far more complex.  Hit the jump for a look at four (count ’em four!) cases that investigate the gamut of “hostile work environment” and “harassment” law.  Continue reading

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Legislative Changes Put Schools in a Lose-Lose Situation

While most of my job involves protecting public school employees from new or overzealous applications of state law, every once in a while I get a reminder that districts themselves can be placed in impossible situations by changed laws.  The current hostility to public education has pushed some legislatures to create ever more restrictive and burdensome school laws and, unfortunately, they aren’t always sensitive to the consequences of their actions.  A recent case from Ohio demonstrates just such a situation where a school district was faced with the decision to follow either state law or federal law with no way to follow both.  See Waldon v. Cincinnati Public Schools, No. 1:12-CV-00677 (S.D. Ohio, April 24, 2013).

Hat tip to the Employer Law Report for pointing this case out.

Hit the jump for all the darned-if-you-do-darned-if-you-don’t details… Continue reading

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Filed under Discrimination, Legislation