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San Francisco Education Law Blog

How is disability defined under California's equal access laws?

When it comes to ensuring equal access for people with disabilities, California has three major laws:

  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act
  • The Unruh Civil Rights Act
  • The Disabled Persons Act

These laws apply to businesses, employers and housing providers and require them to make reasonable accommodations to allow equal access for anyone with a covered disability. California law is generally broader than similar laws at the federal level.

What rights does the IDEA give parents?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, guarantees each child a free and appropriate public education that prepares them for employment, further education and independent living. This is guaranteed for children with disabilities between the ages of three and 21. It includes the right to an individualized education plan (IEP).

If your child qualifies as a person with a disability, he or she should be assigned an IEP that specifies what services are to be provided and how often. It should describe how your child is doing presently and how their disability or disabilities affect their academic performance. It should specify any modifications and accommodations to be provided. Once the IEP is in place, every member of the faculty must follow the plan.

TikTok policy discriminated against disabled video posters

The Chinese video-sharing app TikTok has roughly 800 million users every day. While it works to bolster an image as a hub for global self-expression, it works with the Chinese government to suppress dissent. Now, recent documents show that TikTok also suppressed images of people that it didn't feel gave the best impression of Chinese society, including people with disabilities.

Videos showing poverty or unpleasantness of any kind are being suppressed, and that includes videos showing people with disabilities. The plans to suppress these videos is laid out in internal documents obtained by the Intercept.

What should you know about limited liability companies?

If you're thinking about starting a business, you have probably heard about the limited liability company, or LLC. It is a popular type of business entity for several reasons. First, it protects your personal assets from being used to pay business losses or other liabilities. Second, it allows pass-through taxation to the owners ("members") of the LLC.

An important thing to understand about business entities is that most require some degree of setup with the secretary of state. If you don't choose a specific entity and set it up with the secretary of state, the default business entity is that of a sole proprietorship or general partnership, depending on how many people are involved.

Should DHS use face recognition technology on Americans?

The government of China is running one of the most expansive surveillance networks in history, but the United States isn't far behind. Is a society where we are constantly tracked, compared to watchlists and hauled in for legal violations the society we really want?

The use of face recognition technology is already becoming pervasive in the United States, but nowhere as common as it is at the airport. There, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), through its agency Customs & Border Protection (CBP), is running a face recognition protocol called the Traveler Verification Service, or TVS.

A few tips on your tips

In California, any tips you receive from a customer or patron are yours to keep. Unlike in other states, employers cannot deduct your tips as a credit against the minimum wage. Tips are fully your property, although you may be required to share the tips with other front-of-the-house employees who served the same customer.

Your tips are your own. California law defines a tip or gratuity as any money that is paid, given to or left to the employee by a patron of the business that is over and above the actual amount due for the goods and services sold. Tips belong to the employee, not the employer.

ARE EMPLOYEES ENTITLED TO PAID LEAVE DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC?

The Leigh Law Group represents employees in California and federal employment-related matters. During this unprecedented time coping with COVID-19 and quarantine orders, our clients and potential clients alike have been asking what their rights are, especially relating to leave time. We provide the following information to help you understand the relief and legal protections enacted to address COVID-19. However, the following should not construed as legal advice: if you believe you need an attorney, you should retain legal counsel to avoid missing any potential statute of limitations that may affect your case.

The Leigh Law Group team remains fully operational, even while sheltered in place, and is ready to take your call to determine if representation is appropriate: (415) 399-9155.

GASLIGHTING: AN IEP DILEMMA FOR MANY PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

According to Wikipedia, "gaslighting" refers to when a person or group attempts to sow seeds of doubt in an individual through denial, misdirection, contradiction, or misinformation. This office regularly fields calls from well-meaning parents all over California who have been "gaslighted" by a school district.

Parents have reported school administrators attempting to talk them out of initial assessments, claiming the child would never qualify for an IEP without any testing data whatsoever. (This is illegal.) Very recently, a parent shared that a District member of her IEP team made her feel belittled her over an extremely reasonable request for a 1:1 aide after her autistic child had eloped from the school and into oncoming traffic. (This is a denial of FAPE.) This same IEP team member went on to question the child's medical diagnosis in spite of clear medical opinion that the child was in fact autistic.

Federal appeals court: American students have a right to literacy

Does the U.S. Constitution guarantee the right to a basic level of education? The document doesn't directly say so, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently ruled that it does guarantee the right to basic literacy. This is because literacy is fundamental to exercising the rights that are directly mentioned in the Constitution, such as the right to vote.

In the past, the U.S. Supreme Court has expressed a seemingly contrary view. In San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, the high court ruled on a 5-4 vote that families in poor districts have no right to demand the same levels of funding provided to wealthier districts. It acknowledged that the system was not fair but determined that the Constitution offered no remedy to those receiving a less valuable education.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND GUIDANCE ISSUED BY THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA AND ITS AGENCIES REGARDING REGIONAL CENTER SERVICES

The Leigh Law Group has been and continues to track changes to the laws protecting disabled children, special-education students, Regional Center consumers, and IHSS recipients. While the below is guidance and not intended as legal advice, it should hopefully help the families of individuals accessing Regional Center services and InHome Support Services (IHSS) to understand the changes affecting their services. If you live in a state outside of California, you should contact a local disability rights attorney or locate the laws and guidance affecting disability rights in your state. If you believe you need an attorney, you should retain legal counsel to avoid missing any potential statute of limitations that may affect your case. 

Here in California, the Leigh Law Group continues to work with their clients accessing Regional Center services and IHSS to ensure critical services are uninterrupted. 

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