|Sept. 5, 2017 | www.fisherphillips.com|
School officials often receive requests from students with disabilities to bring “service animals” and “assistance animals” on campus as an accommodation. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Fair Housing Act (FHA), virtually all institutions are required to accommodate students with disabilities by allowing service animals nearly everywhere on campus, including public spaces, academic buildings, dwelling units, and other facilities. By contrast, under these federal laws, institutions are only required to allow assistance animals in campus dwelling units and in the employment context (although state or local laws may impose additional requirements).
Until recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) long held that private university student-employees were not considered “employees” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) because the relationship with their respective institutions is “primarily educational” in nature. Late last year, however, the Board overruled that long-standing precedent and found student graduate assistants to be statutory employees, and therefore eligible to organize. However, now that President Trump is in office and has the power to fill seats on the NLRB with individuals more sympathetic to management causes, Republican appointees will soon have a majority on the Board for the first time in years.
There is no question that entering into vendor contracts is an everyday necessity for independent schools across the nation. Examples of some of the more common contracts include those for food services, maintenance, after-school programs, multimedia content, curriculum resources, and marketing. The first step to ensuring your school enters into fair and equitable contracts is simply to be aware of them. Your administration must be informed of the contract’s existence before execution so you have the opportunity to negotiate beneficial terms and the agreement can be vetted by legal counsel, if necessary.