Wyatt Employment Law Report

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Obama Administration Issues Guidance to Public Schools Regarding Transgender Access to Restrooms

By Amanda Warford Edge

diverse classroomOn Friday, May 13th, 2016, the Obama administration issued guidance directing all public schools in the country to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. This guidance was issued amidst a court fight between North Carolina and the federal government over North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, which bans people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond with their biological sex.

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. said that the guidance comes in response to schools and parents seeking direction on the issue. According to the Obama administration, the guidance ensures that all “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” The guidance also states schools cannot require transgender students to have a medical diagnosis, undergo any medical treatment, or produce a birth certificate before treating them consistently with their gender identity.

While this guidance does not have the force of law, its message was clear: gender identity is protected under Title IX as far as Continue reading

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Kentucky Supreme Court Clarifies “Similarly Situated” Standard for KCRA Claims

By Courtney Ross Samford

NKU-library-1On March 17, 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court addressed the “similarly situated” standard that must be established by all plaintiffs in Kentucky Civil Rights Act (KCRA) claims in The Board of Regents of Northern Kentucky University v. Weickgenannt, 2016 WL 1068245 (Ky. March 17, 2016) (unpublished).  Plaintiff Andrea Weickgenannt sued the Board of Regents of Northern Kentucky University (NKU), claiming that her application for tenure was denied because of her gender, in violation of the KCRA.  Initially, NKU’s accounting department recommended Weickgenannt for tenure to the Dean of the College of Business.  In his first tenure review since joining NKU, the Dean disagreed with this recommendation, based on his belief that Weickgenannt failed to publish three peer-reviewed articles in journals of “good quality” and her lack of a “continuing commitment to do scholarly activity in the future,” as required by the College of Business’s scholarship requirements.

Weickgenannt’s application was then reviewed by NKU’s female Provost.  She supported the Dean’s recommendation after speaking with faculty members from other Kentucky universities, each of whom confirmed that Weickgenannt’s articles were published in a journal that was insufficient to warrant tenure.  The Provost also Continue reading