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Regina Jackson believes law to be the merger of several of her passions. She likes solving puzzles, seeking answers to problems and analyzing results. “I like the logic of it,” Regina says. “I like analysis. You start with a question, and you have to find the best solution. It’s like putting together a puzzle.”
Regina worked for Wyatt Tarrant & Combs in Lexington, primarily practicing employment law, before joining ELPO in 1993. “There was opportunity here,” Regina says. “I was coming from a large firm, and I wanted something similar on a smaller scale. I got the professionalism of the attorneys here and the challenge of the work. I would put ELPO lawyers against any of the lawyers from the large firms.”
Since coming to ELPO, she’s used her extensive knowledge of employment law every day in working with clients. Regina is considered extremely knowledgeable regarding the Family Medical Leave Act. This law requires employers of a certain size to allow employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a sick family member or their own serious health condition, recover from childbirth, or other similar reasons. The law was changed recently to accommodate the needs of active military personnel. “Certainly, any employer wants to try to accommodate employees who have serious health conditions,” Regina says. “But there seems to be a handful of people who abuse the good intentions of the FMLA, and do so often enough that the business is really hampered because the employee is missing a lot of work time. I can advise them as to the best methods to handle the situation that are fair and legal for all involved.”
She also applies her employment law knowledge in working with school districts, and that experience stretches all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1998, she filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of the Kentucky School Boards Association in the case of Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District (in Texas). In that case, a parent sued the school district after their child was sexually involved with a teacher, arguing that the district was responsible for the teacher’s behavior. The brief that Regina filed argued that a school district was only responsible if those with the power to change the situation knew about it and did nothing. The Supreme Court sided with the districts, agreeing with Regina’s position. The Kentucky School Boards Association hired ELPO to write the Amicus Brief to help protect the interests of school districts in Kentucky. “If the case had gone the other way, it would have allowed school districts to be held responsible for the actions of individual teachers in all types of situations, when, in almost all cases, the district’s administrators do not know that anything improper is taking place,” Regina said. “The responsibility lies with the individual teachers to behave properly with students, as administrators can’t be present in every classroom ensuring proper behavior.”
Bowling Green has become home to Regina. It’s a “big city on a small scale,” she says. She is married and has a daughter, Leah, who was adopted from China. “Having Leah adds a whole new level of interest for me in working with school systems,” Regina says. “I’m even more interested now in how the system operates and with helping students succeed.”
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