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Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Personnel Issues Jean Marie Nelson, Senior Counsel Vicki Evans, Associate Counsel.

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Presentation on theme: "Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Personnel Issues Jean Marie Nelson, Senior Counsel Vicki Evans, Associate Counsel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Personnel Issues Jean Marie Nelson, Senior Counsel Vicki Evans, Associate Counsel

2 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The Office handles a diverse mixture of legal matters on behalf of the District. Such legal services include the drafting and reviewing of contracts, resolutions, and policies; defending civil actions and administrative proceedings at all levels of state and federal courts and the Department of Administrative Hearings; providing legal advice on a regular basis on all matters concerning the operation of the District; and providing training and compliance programs. The Office of Chief Counsel is not legal counsel to parents, students, or the general public and does not advise individual citizens.

3 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel

4 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Overview of Personnel Related Laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act Prohibits Discrimination in Employment based on Race, Color, Religion, Sex, or National Origin. Discrimination is prohibited in the compensation, terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. An Employer cannot refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against the employee simply because of prejudices based upon these reasons.

5 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) prohibits an employer from discharging or discriminating against an employee because an employee files a complaint or institutes any cause of action or testifies in any proceeding where it was alleged that an employer violated any occupational safety or health standards.

6 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Fair Labor Standards Act. This regulation governs Federal Minimum Wage, Over-Time, Shipping and Receiving of Goods, as well as the Age and Work hours of Minors.

7 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits discrimination in Employment for persons age 40 and over.

8 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibits discrimination of females solely on the status of being pregnant.

9 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Uniform Services Employment and Re- Employment Act protects persons who are called to Active Duty and are required to take a leave of absence to serve in the Armed Forces. The Act covers both Active Duty as well as Reserve Duty.

10 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (a.k.a. COBRA) deals with the administration and provision of employee benefits such as Health Insurance.

11 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The Family Medical Leave Act allows an employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year due to their own serious illness, the birth or adoption of a child or to care for a sick spouse, parent, or sibling.

12 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination of Employees who have a qualifying disability and are otherwise able to do the essential functions of their job.

13 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Civic Duty Leave This allows employees to serve on local juries without any retaliation or threat of loss of job.

14 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The Federal Jury system Improvement Act which deals with employee leaves to serve on a Federal Jury or to testify or otherwise be a witness in a state administrative hearing.

15 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel School District Policies School Board Policy 3.27 Bus Drivers Handbook NCF&O Collective Bargaining Agreement

16 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Child Abuse How to identify it How to report it

17 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Your employment with the District makes you a mandated reporter of child abuse and neglect. Changes in state law now require any person who knows or has reason to suspect that a child has been abused, abandoned or neglected must report such knowledge or suspicion to the DCF central abuse hotline.

18 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Red Flags Unexplained bruises, lacerations or burns. Bruises reflect the shape of an article – belt buckle, handprint, etc. Child has many accidents and seems secretive about what happened. Fear of parent, custodian or guardian. Reluctance to go home Difficulty in walking – limping, sore joints, etc. Child is listless, detached, withdrawn, preoccupied, extremely aggressive. Poor hygiene, dirty clothes, etc. Ill-fitting, torn clothing or shoes. Unattended medical needs Child begs, steals or hides food. Child reports that he/she is left home alone for extended periods of time.

19 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Red Flags Child seeks affection or attention inappropriately. Child assumes adult responsibilities. Child reports parental behaviors – alcoholism, drug usage, etc. Bizarre or unusual sexual behaviors Child discloses that he/she has been sexually abused. Child may talk of secrets; says he/she has a secret they cannot tell. Child reports photographs taken in the nude or in sexual situations. Knowledge of sexual behaviors inappropriate for childs age. Cruelty to other children or animals. Extreme antisocial behaviors – fire setting. Inappropriate reactions. Lack of bowel control. Difficulty walking or sitting.

20 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect What if Im not sure a child is being abused? –It is not necessary for you to prove abuse or neglect. If you have a reasonable suspicion, you must report it. What if I am wrong? –Mistakes may happen but it is better to err on the side of wrongful reporting than to risk further injury to or death of a child.

21 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect Will the parents be told that I reported? –State law mandates confidentiality for all reporters of suspected child abuse/neglect. If the case goes to trial, however, you may be requested to testify. Can I be sued by the parents? –As a mandated reporter of abuse/neglect, you are immune from civil and criminal liability.

22 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Reporting Child Abuse/Neglect What if I dont report? –You may be subject to criminal liability and could be found guilty of a first degree misdemeanor. You could also be subject to civil liability from a child who is injured or killed by your failure to report. But more importantly, a child could be injured or killed. What if the suspected abuser is a teacher? –You must report whenever you suspect abuse no matter who the perpetrator.

23 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Reporting How do I report suspected abuse? –Call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 they will electronic transmit the information to local law enforcement. What information goes into the report? –Your name, the childs name and address (if known), the nature of the abuse and the specifics about the incident being reported. If you think emergency intervention is required – say so!

24 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Will I have to testify in court? –Child protective services tries to protect the anonymity of the person filing the report but the court will not exclude testimony to protect confidentiality. Do I need a lawyer to report? –No.

25 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Discussing Abuse with a Child The Five Critical Components Are: 1.Believe Him/Her... 2.Empower... 3.Support... 4.Report... 5.Follow Up...

26 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Statutory Guidelines

27 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Bus Safety Florida Statutes §1006.07(1)(a) Florida Statutes §1006.07(1)(b) Florida Statutes §1006.11 Florida Statutes §316.6145

28 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel CELL PHONES & REFUELING POSSIBLE LIABILITY TO DISTRICT WORKERS COMP INJURY TO 3 RD PARTY OSHA LIABILITY

29 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel CELL PHONES & FUEL A DANGEROUS MIX Cell phones ringing, lighting up or being turned on can release enough energy to become a ignition source caused by static electricity. Suggestions: leave cell phone in car & turn it off while fueling. Do not get back into the car during refueling If you must reenter the car during refueling close the door and make sure to touch the metal door to discharge the static electricity before pulling the gas hose nozzle out of the tank

30 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION OF STUDENTS We will discuss what is appropriate and what is not appropriate while students are in your care and how to avoid placing the District at liability for lawsuits.

31 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Appropriate Physical Contact with Students There should be no physical contact with students except for the assistance of handicapped children when boarding, exiting, or otherwise assisting them on the bus.

32 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Inappropriate Comments/Interaction with Students Inappropriate Comments/Interaction with Co-workers

33 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The Proper use of District Time, Technology, and Resources. SCHOOL BOARD POLICY 3.29

34 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel

35 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Public Records FLORIDA STATUTE 119

36 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Negligent or Improper Supervision of Other Employees A Supervisor could be held responsible for acts of those who report to you. Documentation is very necessary or key to protecting the district. A Supervisor can be sued in their personal capacity as well as their professional capacity or official district capacity for acts of subordinates.

37 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel Q & A

38 Personnel Office of the Chief Counsel The End


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