Texas teacher fired for not signing pledge to refuse to boycott Israel

Dec 2018
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the Heart of America
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Rasselas

Former Staff
Feb 2010
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It really cannot do that, as the courts would find the folks now called "contractors" instead of "employees" are still employees within the meaning of the law no matter what they are called. Substance over form prevails.

It is like that old joke: how many legs does a dog have, if you call the tail a leg? Answer: four; calling the tail a leg does not make it one.
Then I wonder why this woman, who is a single individual contracting with the state, isn't actually an employee. Further, if Texas ceased to have employees, I'm wondering why the many individual contractors would belong to a category that would no longer exist.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
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Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
Then I wonder why this woman, who is a single individual contracting with the state, isn't actually an employee.
That depends. I do not know enough of the individual situation to opine. She might be an employee being masqueraded as a contractor. It is not an uncommon situation.
Further, if Texas ceased to have employees, I'm wondering why the many individual contractors would belong to a category that would no longer exist.
I doubt Texas could cease to have employees ... they might try changing the paperwork around, but as a matter of law there are "contractors" that are really employees. And there are gray areas, depending on the particulars of any given contract. Take a look at the link I posted a while back in this thread (it's to a FindLaw page) showing a side-by-side compare/contrast of employees versus contractors.
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
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Ohio
Not unless her company insists on publicly joining the boycott of Israel. Pretty simple.

Believe some people are trying way too hard to be outraged here. Now if she had signed the pledge and decided to boycott anyway, but kept it on the DL, I'm not sure how or to what lengths the state of Texas would have gone to in order to prove it so they could fire her. I'm guessing anyone who signs the pledge just has to trust that this document won't be misused and some standard beyond gossip is required before termination.

But look at it this way, if any state can terminate contractors for this sort of thing, why not double down? If a coal company in WV donates sporting equipment to a high school, can contractors then be required to



..
The pledge doesn't say anything about "publicly".

Now if she had signed the pledge and decided to boycott anyway, but kept it on the DL, I'm not sure how or to what lengths the state of Texas would have gone to in order to prove it so they could fire her. I'm guessing anyone who signs the pledge just has to trust that this document won't be misused and some standard beyond gossip is required before termination.

But look at it this way, if any state can terminate contractors for this sort of thing, why not double down? If a coal company in WV donates sporting equipment to a high school, can contractors then be required to not say anything negative about coal?

High-profile controversies have played out in other Houston-area state agencies after Texas’ law was implemented in September.

The city of Dickinson, after Hurricane Harvey, included in an application for aid a requirement that residents state they will not boycott Israel during the term of the agreement. City Council later stripped back that requirement in October after the ACLU called it an “egregious violation of the First Amendment.”
https://www.arabamericannews.com/20...-contractors-to-pledge-not-to-boycott-israel/
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
51,987
37,633
Ohio
That depends. I do not know enough of the individual situation to opine. She might be an employee being masqueraded as a contractor. It is not an uncommon situation.

I doubt Texas could cease to have employees ... they might try changing the paperwork around, but as a matter of law there are "contractors" that are really employees. And there are gray areas, depending on the particulars of any given contract. Take a look at the link I posted a while back in this thread (it's to a FindLaw page) showing a side-by-side compare/contrast of employees versus contractors.
If you get a 1099 instead of a W2 at the end of January, you're an independent contractor, like me.

I also don't get Workman's compensation or unemployment benefits, overtime, holiday pay or health insurance. If I worked for an agency, I would make half what I make now. Ohio uses both agencies and independents for home health for people on Medicaid, I think independents save them money though.
 
Jun 2011
47,249
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God Bless Texas
The teacher in Texas is one thing, but this is the thin end of the wedge...

The right to boycott has a long history in the United States, from the American Revolution to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery bus boycott to the campaign for divestment from businesses serving apartheid South Africa. Nowadays we celebrate those efforts. But precisely because boycotts are such a powerful form of expression, governments have long sought to interfere with them — from King George III to the police in Alabama, and now to the U.S. Congress.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act, legislation introduced in the Senate by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and in the House by Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), would make it a crime to support or even furnish information about a boycott directed at Israel or its businesses called by the United Nations, the European Union or any other “international governmental organization.” Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The American Civil Liberties Union, where we both work, takes no position for or against campaigns to boycott Israel or any other foreign country. But since our organization’s founding in 1920, the ACLU has defended the right to collective action. This bill threatens that right.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opin...ory.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9b7bc5574cb3

Some day the average American consumer will wake up and realize that WE have ALL the power in the end!

Thx :)
That is simply frightening.More and more we are living in an Authoritarian state. Apparently, the state of Israel! Weird.
 
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Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
70,618
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Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
If you get a 1099 instead of a W2 at the end of January, you're an independent contractor, like me.

I also don't get Workman's compensation or unemployment benefits, overtime, holiday pay or health insurance. If I worked for an agency, I would make half what I make now. Ohio uses both agencies and independents for home health for people on Medicaid, I think independents save them money though.
I understand how all this works, having both been and had and employee and a contractor, and having processed the paperwork for both (though when my now-defunct partnership had an employee, we hired a payroll service, but I still had to manage that relationship). What I was saying is that merely processing the paperwork this way is not dispositive.

Being an Independent Contractor vs. Employee - FindLaw
 
Jun 2011
47,249
19,403
God Bless Texas
I understand how all this works, having both been and had and employee and a contractor, and having processed the paperwork for both (though when my now-defunct partnership had an employee, we hired a payroll service, but I still had to manage that relationship). What I was saying is that merely processing the paperwork this way is not dispositive.

Being an Independent Contractor vs. Employee - FindLaw
Right. I got 1099'd before when in every way I was an employee. You cannot just say someone is a contractor if in fact they work for you according to the way an employee does.
 
Jun 2011
47,249
19,403
God Bless Texas

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
70,618
38,459
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
Right. I got 1099'd before when in every way I was an employee. You cannot just say someone is a contractor if in fact they work for you according to the way an employee does.
Correct. It happens all the time, but there can be negative consequences for employers who do this. Of course, if they listened to their lawyers...
 
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