Title IX: pay for better girls sports or pay their attorneys

Out of California comes a cautionary tale about fighting lawsuits and gender equity.  According to this article in the San Diego Times, the now cash-strapped school district is having troubles paying the girls' attorneys' fees. 

Many of the familiar federal mandate and remedial laws, including Title IX (as well as Title VI, IDEA, Section 504 and others) provide for fee shifting.  That is, if the school losses some part of the case, the plaintiffs are entitled to a "prevailing party" attorney fee.  Often, the plaintiffs only need to prevail on some part of their claims, not all claims, in order to recoup attorney fees.  This risk is one that schools need to consider when assessing their litigation strategies and choices.

So the bad news for the school district is that it not only is paying for a new softball field (which in fairness is something that likely should have been done before), but also the attorneys.  The good news is that the girls are reported to be thrilled with their new field. 

Changes coming for Whistleblower laws?

The House Committee on Education and Labor issued a release addressing the nation's whistleblower laws and a report issued by the Government Accountability Office.  The release, based on the GAO report, states that whistle blowers are not adequately protected from employer retaliation, that resources are inadequate including an inadequate means to track whistle blower complaints, and that the whistle blower regulations are an unworkable patchwork.

The release indicates greater funding for enforcement is likely and that House members plan on reintroducing the Private Sector Whistleblower Protection Streamlining Act (click here for the original announcement relating to this bill).