• Posts by Sharon Ormond
    Partner

    Sharon Ormond chairs the firm’s Education Law Technology group and is a member of the firm’s Higher Education, Title IX, Civil Rights, and Wage and Hour groups.  She represents numerous Community College Districts and other ...

Within the past month, California courts have issued rulings expanding the types of lawsuits that may be filed against website operators for failing to maintain certain accessibility standards.  Given these rulings and the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights’ recent trend towards focusing on website accessibility for local educational agencies (LEA), it is more important than ever to assess whether your websites meet industry standards for accessibility.

On June 3, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a rare unanimous decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis (2019) — S.Ct. —, 2019 WL 2331306.  The Court held the charge-filing requirements specified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are not jurisdictional.  If a requirement is jurisdictional, courts may not adjudicate a claim unless the requirement has been met.  Challenges to a court’s subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by a defendant at any time during litigation.  On the other hand, if a claim-filing requirement is simply a procedural prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, a defendant employer must timely object based on the plaintiff’s failure to comply, or forfeit the objection. 

A federal district court in Massachusetts recently ruled against Harvard University in an ongoing lawsuit filed on behalf of disabled individuals challenging the accessibility of online video content on the university’s websites. (National Association of the Deaf v. Harvard University (D. Mass. March 28, 2019) 2019 WL 1409302, No. 3:15-cv-30023-KAR.) On the same day, the court issued a similar ruling in a companion lawsuit against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, relying on the rationale from the Harvard University decision. (National Association of the Deaf v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (D. Mass. March 28, 2019) 2019 WL 1409301, No. 3:15-cv-30024-KAR.)

Categories: School District

Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, section 55220 has long provided community college districts with immunity from claims for injuries sustained on field trips and excursions, including travel related to interscholastic athletic events.  While California courts have recognized that the immunity provision allows districts to enhance the educational experience by reducing exposure to injury claims and thereby lessening costs (Sanchez v. San Diego County Office of Education (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 1580, 1584), a California Court of Appeal recently clarified the extent of this protection.

For many people, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn are essential for communicating in their daily lives.  Social media plays an integral role in the transmission of news, ideas, opinions, and personal expression.

Identifying a need “to step up the pace of improvement” within the California Community College (CCC) system, Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley recently announced the CCC Board of Governors’ adoption of a strategic vision, set forth in a new report titled “Vision for Success.” The report articulates various goals and commitments intended to overcome the challenges facing the CCC system to better ...

Categories: Higher Education

Beginning in 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice investigated complaints against the University of California, Berkeley, that Berkeley’s free audio and video online content was not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. The primary complaint was filed by the National Association for the Deaf on behalf of members of the public who alleged they could not adequately access course content ...

In early January 2017, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, established under the Obama Administration in 2014, released “Preventing and Addressing Campus Sexual Misconduct: A Guide for University and College Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators.” The Guide, which is available online (click here), offers insight and practical recommendations in six ...

On November 22, 2016, a federal court in the Eastern District of Texas halted implementation the Department of Labor’s rule amending the salary basis test for overtime exemptions in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule was scheduled to take effect December 1, 2016.  (Nevada v. DOL (E.D.Tex. 11/22/16) No. 4:16-cv-00731.) The court granted a preliminary injunction, which temporarily delays the ...

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) was enacted in 1991 to lessen the impact of calling practices that invade consumer privacy and threaten public safety.  One such intrusive calling practice is known as a “robocall.”  Robocalls are made either with an automated telephone dialing system (autodialer) or with a prerecorded or artificial voice.  The TCPA and its implementing rules prohibit ...

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