New Jersey Supreme Court Issues Decision Impacting Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations in Public

For anyone who works in a public school, an allegation of child abuse leading to an investigation by the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) is an occupational hazard. For decades, the law regarding the prevention of child abuse and neglect (N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10) has provided for a report and investigation of any “reasonable cause” to believe conduct potentially injurious to a child has occurred. Those investigations in a school setting are conducted by the Institutional Abuse Investigation Unit (“IAIU”) of the DCF. Specifically, the IAIU is responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of child abuse or neglect in public schools, among other settings. Litigation related to

Third Circuit Develops Doctrine of Union Protected Right of Association under First Amendment

Courts have long struggled with how to strike the proper balance between protecting employer’s rights and protecting employee free speech. Over time that conflict has generally evolved to narrow the field of protected employee speech. However, two recent Third Circuit decisions, Palardy v. Township of Millburn[1] and Baloga v. Pittston Area School District, et al. [2], have articulated the principle that First Amendment associational claims based on union membership automatically satisfy the “public concern” prong of the Pickering[3] balancing test that determines whether public employee speech is protected. As these cases have held, “membership in a public union is ‘always a matter of publ

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