Labor & Employment for Educational Institutions

Sarah Mullen is part of a small team of lawyers from Lewis Rice who handles all personnel matters for one of the area's largest public schools district, including development and review of employment policies, employee benefit and performance counseling, administrative hearings, negotiation of compensation and separation agreements with key administrators, as well as applications for temporary employment status for a number of the district's foreign-national teachers in the STEM disciplines. In addition, Sarah and the Firm have represented the district in dozens of state and federal litigations during our more than seven-year representation.

Sarah also serves as outside general counsel for one of the oldest and highest performing private schools in the area, Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS). In her work for MICDS, Sarah has developed personnel policies and assisted on other compliance issues, counseled with regard to employee benefits and discipline, negotiated and drafted severance agreements, and sought work authorization for key foreign-national employees.

Lewis Rice is also labor and employment counsel for Saint Louis University. In this capacity, Sarah has defended discrimination, wrongful termination, and retaliation claims brought in the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis and in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Sarah also has represented the University before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Missouri Commission on Human Rights. Sarah has helped the University resolve employee disputes at mediation and has counseled the University as it develops employment policies and procedures to avoid disputes and encourage an open and productive workplace.

Case Studies

Lewis Rice Attorneys Win Significant Title IX Case for Saint Louis University in U.S. Court of Appeals

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled unanimously in favor of Lewis Rice client, Saint Louis University, in an action involving Title IX and several other Missouri common law tort and statutory claims. Lewis Rice attorneys Neal F. Perryman and Sarah E. Mullen successfully represented the University, both in the trial court and on appeal. Neal argued the matter before the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The plaintiff sued the University, attempting to hold it responsible for damages resulting from an alleged off-campus sexual assault, as well as an alleged back injury which the plaintiff claimed she suffered as the result of her participation in intercollegiate athletics. After lengthy trial court litigation, District Judge Henry E. Autrey granted summary judgment to the University on all claims, holding, among other things, that the University's conduct toward the plaintiff was not "clearly unreasonable" as a matter of law, and that the plaintiff's other statutory and other common law claims failed.

On appeal, the judgment was affirmed in all respects, holding that the University's conduct was not shown "to exhibit deliberate indifference" and that the University could not be held liable under Title IX or any other attempted tort or statutory theory.