• Posts by Aaron O'Donnell
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    Aaron O'Donnell represents California community college districts, universities, and school districts in education and employment-related matters. He provides experienced advice and counsel to clients in all aspects ...

As the #MeToo Movement placed a glaring spotlight on the continuing problem of sexual harassment in the workplace, outgoing California Governor Jerry Brown signed several bills aimed at curbing harassment. All of them impact California employers, both public and private.

The typical workplace bulletin board is densely packed with legally required posters and employee notifications. As laws change, the posters must be updated to reflect the changes. For example, the minimum wage in California increased to $10 an hour on January 1, 2016; the required poster specifying the minimum wage should reflect that most recent increase.

One of the most difficult areas of Title IX compliance is coordinating Title IX investigations with local law enforcement agencies.  If coordination is handled correctly, local law enforcement can provide vital assistance to colleges in their efforts to comply with Title IX, and the Clery Act by sharing information and resources.  However, violations of Title IX often occur when colleges allow police ...

Tags: Title IX

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) introduced a new Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, on March 8, 2013, for immediate use, along with a new Handbook for Employers. The new form, which is identified with “version (Rev. 03/08/13)” in the lower left corner, features several new revisions:

• Expands the form from one page to two pages. The first page is to be ...

Categories: Labor/Employment
Tags: Form I-9

California community colleges are required to admit any California resident with a high school diploma.  But what if an applicant has been expelled or faces expulsion proceedings from another district for violent acts? Could such an applicant simply re-enroll in a neighboring district?  A new law, effective January 1, 2013, allows a district to deny admission, after holding a hearing to determine whether the ...

On March 1, 2013, deep cuts to the federal budget will take effect. These cuts, known as “Sequestration,” will result in $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next 10 years. Approximately half of the cuts will be made to the Department of Defense and half will be made through cuts in domestic discretionary spending programs. Although some commentators have noted that school districts have more time than other agencies to brace for the impact of Sequestration — because the impact would not occur until July 1, 2013 — we have all become familiar with the reality that potential cuts beginning July 1 require preliminary action in the spring.

Legal challenges of affirmative action, and of affirmative action bans, in public higher education continue to occupy the courts.  In 2012, the federal courts gave conflicting rulings on the constitutionality of affirmative action bans enacted by California and Michigan, and the Supreme Court has been asked to give the final say.

Proposition 209, approved by California voters November 1996, added Article ...

Where is the boundary between the free speech rights of public employees who express controversial or offensive ideas or opinions, and the authority of public employers to limit employee speech that is claimed to be inconsistent with policies prohibiting harassment or other discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics? This question can be particularly ...

Categories: Higher Education

Public colleges and universities across the country are frequently faced with issues involving free speech activities on their campuses. Some campuses permit students and non-students to engage in free speech activities (such as gathering signatures on petitions or speaking with students about religious, political or social issues of interest) anywhere on campus without restriction. More often, campuses set limitations that apply to everyone or at least to non-students, such as requiring that speakers engage in speech activities in a designated free speech area or zone and to give prior notice of their intent to use the area.

The California Assembly is considering a bill, Assembly Bill 2039, that would amend Section 12945.2 of the Government Code relating to family and medical leave. Currently, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), like the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to refuse to grant a request by an eligible employee to take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid ...

Categories: Labor/Employment

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