College administrators need partners who understand their world - the dynamic relationship between faculty and administration, the challenges of ensuring a stable and well-regulated student community, the expanding regulatory climate affecting education, and the technology that will frame the institutions of tomorrow.

Areas of Practice

We routinely advise administrators on compliance, best practices, and trends in the law uniquely affecting community colleges. These areas include:

  • Institutional policies, including Employee, Faculty and Student Handbooks
  • Admissions policies and practices
  • Financial aid and scholarships
  • Construction agreements and facilities finance
  • Labor negotiations
  • Compliance with laws regulating classified and certificated employees
  • Wage and hour compliance
  • Severance and separation agreements
  • Technology and software licensing agreements
  • Third-party vendor and multi-institution contracts
  • Online education contracting
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Fundraising and development
  • Governance
  • Bond counsel services
  • Real Property
  • Environmental Issues

Lozano Smith clients consistently turn to the Community College Practice Group for guidance in every aspect of claims and litigation. They assist this specialized group of clientele with:

  • Employment litigation
  • Harassment and discrimination complaints
  • Student code of conduct violations and proceedings
  • Tenure disputes
  • First Amendment claims
  • Layoff proceedings
  • Labor arbitrations
  • Breach of contract claims
  • Embezzlement/fraud issues
  • Unfair business practices claims
  • Premises liability claims
  • Vendor disputes

Investigations - Learn more

The inherent seriousness and sensitivity of workplace investigations often obligates an employer to hire an independent investigator to conduct a prompt and comprehensive investigation. Lozano Smith's Investigative Services Team, a specialist group within our Labor & Employment Practice Group, recognizes the challenges that come with investigations of employee, student, and parent complaints. These attorneys have expertly served as investigators and advisors to clients on a broad range of complaints and can help your district to navigate the investigations process. Working alongside K-12 school districts, community colleges, universities and other public agencies, the Investigative Services Team supports management in reviewing and responding to employee, student, and parent complaints in a fair, impartial, and legally compliant manner.

Title IX Impact Team

Title IX has taken center stage on a number of fronts. Long before the national attention, Lozano Smith’s Title IX Impact Team was formed as a specialized group dedicated to the pressing issues faced by school districts. From athletics to sexual violence, this team advises, trains, and educates clients on the various components of Title IX – from prevention and mitigation to investigation and response. The Title IX Impact Team draws from multiple practice groups and focuses to streamline advice and counsel. Areas in which the group provides advice and training include:

  • Audit of athletic programs
  • Audit of grievance procedures and policies
  • Discipline of employees and students
  • Sexual misconduct and harassment
  • Student and employee protections
  • Investigations
  • Title IX Coordinator roles and responsibilities
  • District and employee liability
  • Interaction with law enforcement agencies
  • Litigation

Real World Applications

By working with attorneys who specialize in the law of higher education, colleges save time and money, and can trust that the attorneys they are speaking to already understand their world. The Group's practical experience translates into proven, efficient solutions.

Redefining Sex: How the Office of Civil Rights Distinguishes Title VII from Title IX in Relation to Transgender Athletes

By:Stephanie White, Jonathan Berry-Smith -

December 2020Number 86The United States Supreme Court's landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia (2020) 590 U.S. __ [140 S.Ct. 1731] is producing ripple effects in the legal community. In Bostock, the Supreme Court held that the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (Title VII) which, in part, prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, extends its workplace protections to people based on their sexual orientation or transgender status (and presumably their gen...

CAL OSHA Implements Temporary Emergency Regulations

By:Jenell Van Bindsbergen, Mayra Sandoval -

December 2020Number 84The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board recently adopted new COVID-19 emergency temporary standards. The temporary standards became effective on November 30, 2020, and expire October 2, 2021. The temporary standards apply to almost all employers and places of employment, with very few exceptions. The exceptions include workplaces where there is only one employee who does not have contact with other people, employees who work from home, and certain e...

Bid Thresholds Raised for 2021

By:Ruth Mendyk, Shawn VanWagenen -

December 2020Number 85According to the California Department of Education Office of Financial Accountability and Information Services, pursuant to Public Contract Code section 20111(a), the bid threshold for K-12 school districts' purchases of equipment, materials, supplies and services (except construction services) has been adjusted to $96,700, effective January 1, 2021. The notice may be viewed here.The California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office is expected to announce a similar adj...

New Amendments to Title 5 Regulations Impact How Community Colleges Must Process Unlawful Discrimination Complaints, Including Student Complaints of Sexual Misconduct

By:Trevin Sims, Stephanie White, Erin Frazor -

November 4, 2020Number 80On September 18, 2020, amendments to title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (Title 5), which were previously adopted by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, took effect. The changes impact the procedures community colleges must follow when addressing employee and student complaints of unlawful discrimination, including complaints under Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX). The stated purpose for the changes is to...

California Adopts Extensive New Requirements on Postsecondary Institutions to Address Sexual Harassment of Students

By:Trevin Sims, Sarah Fama -

November 4, 2020Number 81On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 493, requiring postsecondary institutions to take certain actions and implement certain procedures related to sexual harassment prevention and handling complaints of sexual harassment. The new law requires compliance no later than January 1, 2022.Key Elements of SB 493Definitions. SB 493 modifies or adds definitions for important terms. Most notably, the bill (1) expands the definition of “sexual har...

SB 1159 and AB 685: Governor Codifies Workers Compensation Presumption and Exposure Notice Requirements Related to COVID-19

By:Sarah Kaatz, Crystal Pizano -

October 20, 2020Number 76As the pandemic has progressed, employers have been scrambling to keep up with the ever-evolving state and federal guidance and laws concerning COVID-19. On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed into law two more COVID-19 related bills – Senate Bill (SB) 1159 and Assembly Bill (AB) 685. SB 1159 codifies the workers’ compensation rebuttable presumption for employees who contract COVID-19 and, as urgency legislation, took effect immediately upon being s...

New California Law Provides COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave for Food Service Workers, Health Care Providers and Emergency Responders

By:Ryan Harrison, Sr., Scott Cross -

October 15, 2020Number 71Recently enacted Assembly Bill (AB) 1867 created new Labor Code sections 248 and 248.1 which require employers to provide additional COVID-19 paid sick leave (CPSL) to food service workers, health care providers, and emergency responders. AB 1867 went into effect immediately upon being signed on September 9, 2020.Sections 248 and 248.1 codified Governor Newsom’s prior Executive Order (EO) N-51-20 pertaining to CPSL, and also added additional provisions and clari...