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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tennessee Employment and Special Education Law Attorney

Employment Lawyer and Special Education Attorney Offering Strength and Compassion During Difficult Times

Whether you are a parent concerned about the education that your child with a disability is receiving, you are an employee victimized by discrimination or illegal practices, or you are a business hoping to develop effective workplace policies, The Salonus Firm can provide strong, capable legal representation. The Salonus Firm handles matters related to special education law, employment law on behalf of wronged employees, and employment guidance to employers in Jackson, Memphis, Nashville, and other areas in Western and Middle Tennessee. Special education and Employment law attorney Jessica Salonus offers dedicated attention to each of her clients and takes personal satisfaction from helping them find solutions to the challenges that are confronting them.

Special Education Law

Ms. Salonus' practice in special education law encompasses claims arising under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). She also handles matters related to the abuse of children by schools and cases involving retaliation against parents and teachers for advocating for children with special needs. Thus, whether your situation requires consultation to determine your child’s legal rights in a given situation, legal assistance at your child’s IEP meeting, or the filing of a due process hearing or federal lawsuit, The Salonus Firm can provide you with strong and compassionate representation.

If your child has special needs, you should be vigilant about whether they are receiving the individualized education and/or related services that they deserve. Under the IDEA in Tennessee, there are categories under which a child may receive special education or related services, including intellectual disability, hearing impairment, emotional disturbance, deafness, deaf-blindness, autism, multiple disabilities, visual impairment, traumatic brain injury, speech or language impairment, specific learning disability, other health impairment, orthopedic impairment, developmental delay, functional delay, or intellectually gifted.

If you believe that your child qualifies under one of these categories, you may ask that an evaluation be done by your child’s school to determine whether your child is eligible for special education and the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) under the IDEA. If your child has a disability and the school determines your child does not qualify under the IDEA, your child may still be eligible for accommodations and services under Section 504 and/or the ADA if your child needs accommodations or services in order to meet their educational needs as adequately as their non-disabled peers. If you have any concerns regarding whether your child should be eligible or should be receiving services under any of these laws, The Salonus Firm can provide you with the guidance and representation necessary to help you secure your child’s rights.

In addition to receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE), your child also has a right to be free from discrimination in school based upon their disability. These same laws also prohibit retaliation based on your children, a teacher, or you, exercising certain protected rights. If you believe you or your child has been the victim of discrimination or retaliation for exercising protected rights relating to your child’s disability, contact The Salonus Firm quickly as there are certain timelines which must be met to preserve claims.

Employment Law on Behalf of Employees

Tennessee employment lawyer Jessica Salonus represents employees in cases involving all forms of discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, hostile work environment, the FMLA, whistleblower claims, ERISA disputes over benefits, severance negotiations, and non-competition clauses.

Federal anti-discrimination laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), among others. These laws prohibit discrimination against workers and job applicants on the basis of certain protected characteristics, including race, national origin, religion, color, sex, age, and disability. Discrimination includes taking any adverse action against an employee or job applicant, including firing, termination, passing someone over for promotion, refusing to hire someone, or withholding benefits of employment. Discrimination may also encompass harassment of an employee.

For example, sexual harassment is prohibited under Title VII. There are two types of sexual harassment: hostile work environment and quid pro quo harassment. The former occurs when the harassment is severe or pervasive, while the latter occurs when some aspect of employment is conditioned on accepting or giving sexual favors. Most anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII, also prohibit retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer tries to punish an employee for engaging in a protected activity, such as filing a charge of sexual harassment.

If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or any other unlawful employment practice by your employer, The Salonus Firm has the experience and knowledge necessary to protect your rights. However, there are short timelines which must be met in order to preserve these types of claims, so contact the firm as quickly as possible to determine what steps must be taken to ensure your rights are protected.

Employment Law on Behalf of Employers

Ms. Salonus also provides legal representation to employers. Among other things, she is available to draft and revise workplace policies and employment handbooks, employee releases, and severance documents. She can also respond to general legal inquiries by employers and provide a defense against employment claims or charges.

All employers must follow numerous federal and state anti-discrimination and wage and hour laws. You can protect your business by having strong workplace policies in place to protect employees from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The Salonus Firm can help advise you about which laws are likely to cover you. For example, Title VII covers companies with fifteen (15) or more employees. However, the Tennessee anti-discrimination law (the Tennessee Human Rights Act) covers companies with eight (8) or more employees.

And while there is no law that requires you to offer a severance package to employees, it may be helpful to negotiate a severance package to make sure that any potential legal disputes are resolved. For example, some employers may be surprised to discover that an employee believes that they were terminated because of their race or ethnicity. Others may be concerned about potential competition from an employee who quit in a surprising or hostile manner. As employers all too often realize, litigation may be quite time-consuming and expensive. The Salonus Firm can help you develop workplace policies and documents that aid in smooth and efficient transitions for your business and its employees to avoid costly and expensive litigation later.

Retain an Experienced Special Education or Employment Lawyer in Tennessee

Students and employees have the right to learn and work in places that are free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. If you are concerned about a potential violation of your rights or your child’s rights in these areas, The Salonus Firm is here to provide strong, compassionate legal representation in your time of need. Tennessee employment attorney and special education lawyer Jessica Salonus is committed to securing justice and opportunities for her clients. She represents clients in Jackson, Memphis, and Nashville, among other cities in Western and Middle Tennessee. Call us at (731) 300-0970 or use our online form to send your inquiry and receive a prompt response (typically within 48 hours) from an employment or special education attorney.

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