New York Charter School Teachers' Defense Attorneys

Charter school teachers are as dedicated to their careers and their students as teachers in public schools. Charter school teachers often face many of the same uphill battles as public school teachers, too. Budget cuts, adversarial relationships with administrators, and ever-changing state and federal education standards all leave charter school teachers with more work than time or resources.

When charter school teacher faces termination or another action that affects their career, they may feel even more overwhelmed. While New York charter school teachers are generally “at-will” employees, schools do not have total freedom to fire any teacher for any reason. Schools must avoid firing teachers in bad faith or for discriminatory reasons. 

If you’re facing termination or other disciplinary action and you suspect these steps are being taken in bad faith, talk to an experienced New York charter school teacher defense attorney today. The team at Brill Legal Group P.C. is here to help. 

At-Will Employment and Charter School Teachers

New York’s at-will employment laws give employers a lot of latitudes when it comes to termination decisions. Charter school teachers are generally considered “at-will” employees, as they are private sector employees. 

This means that a charter school teacher’s employer can discharge a teacher for many reasons. Some of these reasons might feel unfair, but they are protected by the law. For instance, an at-will employee like a charter school teacher could be discharged if:

  • The school wants to replace you with one of your boss’s relatives or with a teacher who has considerably less experience.
  • You got into a fight with a co-worker, but your co-worker wasn’t fired.
  • You were stuck at a vacation destination for an extra day due to a canceled flight.
  • Your boss just doesn’t like you.

These reasons for termination may feel very unfair. Under New York’s at-will employment laws, however, they are still permissible reasons for an employer to fire an employee. 

In many cases, charter school teachers receive news of termination with no explanation attached. At-will employment laws do not require employers to have good cause to fire an employee. It is possible to be fired when you haven’t done anything wrong. 

“At-Will” Does Not Mean Total Freedom to Fire Employees

As private-sector employers, charter schools can often take advantage of “at-will” employment laws to discharge employees without good cause. Yet New York law places limits on this power as well. Charter schools may not need “good cause” to discharge a teacher, but they cannot base the firing decision on impermissible grounds, either. 

Certain laws prohibit firing employees or discriminating against them for specified reasons. Because at-will employers aren’t required to tell you why you’re being fired, it can be difficult to determine if you were fired for a prohibited reason. An experienced attorney can help you uncover what happened. 

Prohibited reasons for firing an at-will employee in New York include:

  • Discrimination is based on protected characteristics, including race, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, or disability.
  • Reporting a labor law violation, including reports to your employer, a co-worker or supervisor, the Attorney General, or the New York State Department of Labor (DOL). 
  • Filing a claim for workers’ compensation or disability benefits or giving testimony before the Workers’ Compensation Board.
  • Joining together with your co-workers to try to improve your pay or working conditions. This includes joining a union, trying to create a union, supporting a union, or simply working together as a group without a formal union. 
  • Exercising your rights to benefits, including your rights under an employee benefits plan, sick leave plan, or federal law like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 
  • Serving jury duty. You cannot be fired for fulfilling your responsibility to appear for jury duty. 
  • Participating in lawful political or recreational activities on your own time. An employer may not fire you because they don’t approve of your political activities or hobbies, as long as these are legal. 
  • Whistleblowing if certain conditions apply. Employees cannot be fired for whistleblowing if they have taken certain steps, such as alerting the employer to the violation and giving the employer a chance to fix it without public agency intervention. An attorney can help you determine if you’ve been wrongfully terminated for whistleblowing activity. 

Finally, you may be one of the few charter school teachers who is working under a contract rather than on an at-will basis. If this is the case, any language in your contract about firing for cause will likely apply to your situation. Speak to an experienced New York charter school teacher defense attorney for advice on how your specific contract language applies to your situation. 

Contact Brill Legal Group Today

Need help to face adverse actions as a charter school teacher? Contact the New York charter school teacher defense attorneys at Brill Legal Group today. 

Our team of lawyers has decades of experience representing teachers, including teachers at city and state charter schools. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, confidential initial consultation to discuss the legal issues you face.

Just when I was getting discouraged and was at my wits end trying to find the right attorney for my case, a family member recommended Mr. Brill. He did not disappoint. Mr. Brill and his team are diligent, very professional, encouraging and honest every step of the way. Highly recommended.

- A.S.