Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Illinois Supreme Court rules that former district owes duty of care to provide hiring district with accurate employment information

Doe-3 v. McLean Cnty. Unit Dist. No. 5, Nos. 112479/112501 (Ill. Aug. 9, 2012), is a major decision from the Illinois Supreme Court. The majority held that the first district that formerly employed the teacher had engaged in conduct that gave rise to a duty when it falsely stated on the second district’s employment verification form that the teacher had worked for the entire 2004-05 school year. The majority pointed out that when the second district requested a completed form from the first district, that request gave rise to a duty for the first district to provide factually accurate information on the form. The majority concluded that the students had stated a colorable claim based on their allegation that the first district had breached its duty, creating a risk of harm to the students.

It appears that decisions like this will just encourage no-comment letters.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Education Law, Employment Law | Permalink


The Court reasoned, in its balancing test under Pickering that Defendants "failed to show that Webber's speech actually disrupted or could reasonably be predicted to disrupt the workplace or otherwise interfere with the efficiency and integrity of their respective duties." What was the Court looking for, kids to egg the bus-driver's car, or for the taunting of African-American kids from Caucasian kids while on the bus?

On a philosophical level, I have no problem with extremely broad, if not limitless, protections under the First Amendment (the answer to bad speech is not suppression, but more good speech). However, as long as there are limits on speech under the guise of preventing disruptions, then a restriction on the display of the flag of the racist, slave-holding states is a good place to start.

Posted by: Sujan Vasavada | Oct 25, 2012 8:31:37 PM

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