Position Announcement: SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY

January 20, 2016

Senior Staff Attorney

The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital (ACLU-DC) seeks an experienced litigator with a passion for the full range of ACLU issues for the position of Senior Staff Attorney.

The Position:

Under the direction of the Legal Director, the Senior Staff Attorney will further the affiliate’s litigation program and will work in concert with other staff to advance civil liberties agenda.

The Senior Staff Attorney will also be responsible for developing civil liberties and civil rights impact litigation. The attorney will litigate individual and class action cases raising constitutional and statutory claims in DC and federal courts, at trial and appellate levels, through direct representation and the filing of amicus briefs. The attorney should anticipate working in a range of civil liberties and civil rights areas. The Senior Staff Attorney, in conjunction with the Legal Director, works closely with cooperating attorneys from private firms and often works as co-counsel with other public interest attorneys, including attorneys with the National ACLU.

ACLU-NCA Newsletters

January 26, 2015

Read current and past ACLU-NCA newsletters. The publication contains news, announcements, and upcoming events.

ACLU Submits Comments to OSSE's Proposed Rulemaking on Child Development Facilities Licensing Regulations

February 08, 2016

        The American Civil Liberties Union of the Nation’s Capital submits the following comments on the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking posted on the OSSE website at http://dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/osse/publication/attachments/DC’s Draft Proposed Child Development Facilities Licensing Regulations.pdf.

            These comments are focused on section 125.8 et seq. of the draft regulations, dealing with drug and alcohol use and testing.  The limited scope of these comments does not suggest that we believe the draft regulations are otherwise sensible, justified, or lawful.  We may comment on additional provisions when a formal proposed rulemaking is published in the D.C. Register.

            First, mandatory drug testing is an ineffective approach to employee suitability.  Ideally, every employee of every educational institution would function at 100% efficiency at all times, just as, ideally, every employee of OSSE and the ACLU would function at 100% efficiency at all times.  However, that goal is unattainable because human beings are human.  Realistically, schools, like other employers, have a legitimate expectation that employees will not report for duty in a condition in which they are unable to perform their duties safely and effectively.

         An employee may become unable to perform his or her duties safely and effectively for a very wide variety of reasons.  For example, an employee’s performance may be impaired because of physical or mental illness, whether diagnosed or undiagnosed.  An employee’s performance may be impaired because of lack of sleep caused by caring for a baby, or an elderly parent, or a sick family member.  An employee’s performance may be impaired because of distraction over financial difficulties, or distraction over a happy event such as an upcoming wedding.  An employee’s performance may be impaired because of ingestion of a legal or illegal drug —or because of ingestion of a spoiled food that causes gastrointestinal distress.  An employee’s performance may be impaired by a migraine headache, or simply because he or she has not had enough to drink and has become dehydrated.  There are countless reasons why an employee’s performance may be impaired.  In most cases the impairment will be minor and the employee can safely and effectively perform his or her job.  In some cases the impairment will be more significant and the employee should stay home or be sent home.  In most cases any impairment will be short-lived and infrequent.  In some cases the impairment may be chronic or permanent, or too frequent, and the organization may need to let the employee go.

We asked - you delivered!

February 04, 2016

Thanks to your help the DC Council passed an unamended version of the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment Act of 2016 (NEAR Act)! Passage of this bill will allow the District to implement a public health approach to violence prevention that requires the partnership of the Metropolitan Police Department and certain health and human services agencies. 

ACTION ALERT: We need your help TODAY to make a #SmarterSaferDC!

February 01, 2016

Our country is at a crossroads. Every day in the news we see another example of why our justice system needs top-to-bottom reform. From our approaches to policing and prosecution to our overuse of detention and incarceration, our country to needs to fundamentally change its approach to violence prevention.  On Tuesday, DC finds itself at this crossroad: Will the DC Council pass legislation that pursues an evidence-based, public health approach to violence prevention or will it stay on the path of the past, passing ineffective punitive policies that only provide the illusion of safety? 

We need your help TODAY to make sure that DC chooses the right path.  Tomorrow, the DC Council will consider a number of possible amendments to a criminal justice bill that would, if passed unamended, be a significant step forward in the right direction toward reform.


January 20, 2016

Washington, DC — Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) asked his colleagues at the DC Council to focus on the issue of student data privacy and to support Bill 21-0578, the “Protecting Students Digital Privacy Act of 2016,” which would make important advancements in protecting the privacy of students in the District of Columbia.

The announcement in the District of Columbia is one of 17 taking place simultaneously throughout of the country — from Hawaii to North Carolina, from Alaska to Alabama, and from New Hampshire to New York to New Mexico — with a diverse, bipartisan coalition of elected officials and citizens coming together to tell the nation they care about their digital privacy and are willing to join together to fight for it. The message from these collective actions by the states and the District of Columbia is clear: where Congress is unwilling or unable to act to protect Americans’ privacy, or takes actions that are insufficient, the states are more than willing to step up and fill the void. Together, these states and the District of Columbia have introduced a range of new legislation that includes protections for student privacy, location tracking and personal data. The multi-state effort is using the Twitter hashtag #TakeCTRL.

#BeatBias Resolution Challenge: Step 8

January 08, 2016

Step 8: Keep it Going Y'all!

Maintaining Momentum

Why don’t you continue your #BeatBias Resolution throughout the year? We all know practice makes perfect, so keep it going!

#BeatBias Resolution Challenge: Step 7

January 07, 2016

Step 7: Check yo'self, but don't wreck yo'self

Don't Beat Yourself Up

Unconscious bias cannot be erased, and even with your newfound savviness on the topic, you will still make mistakes from time to time. It is a lifelong learning experience that never ends, but you just become more mindful and better at it as time goes on.

#BeatBias Resolution Challenge: Step 6

January 06, 2016

Step 6: Dig deep in the ditches of daily decisions (say this fast 5 times...go)

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Crossing the street to avoid certain people on the sidewalk, holding your cell phone a bit tighter depending on who is next to you on Metro, or avoiding certain bars or restaurants because of the clientele. These are all behaviors that may be influenced by unconscious bias.

It’s important to identify these situations in our daily lives, and to work proactively to avoid the behavior our unconscious bias is influencing. One way to do this is to evaluate your daily activities, and purposefully behave differently.

#BeatBias Resolution Challenge: Step 5

January 05, 2016

Step 5: Swallow your pride and sip on some knowledge.

You're smart. We get it.

Whether or not you have a diverse group of friends, to some degree we are all ignorant of certain communities in our city. And the less familiar we are with a particular community, the more our unconscious bias will use stereotypes to compensate for that familiarity. So let’s learn a little something…

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