New York Non-Tenured Adjunct Faculty Defense Lawyers

In recent decades, colleges and universities throughout New York have turned away from creating tenured faculty positions in favor of creating non-tenure-track and adjunct faculty roles. These faculty members perform the same responsibilities as tenured faculty, yet they do so with less pay and considerably fewer protections than tenured faculty receive.

Non-tenured faculty include those on the tenure track, those in non-tenured lecturer positions, and adjunct or part-time instructors. These faculty members may face complaints from administrators, staff, or students一but without the procedural rights to notice and a hearing afforded to their tenured colleagues. 

If you’re facing a complaint or a threat of disciplinary action, don’t wait. Contact an experienced New York non-tenured college faculty defense lawyer today. The team at Brill Legal Group, P.C. can help. 

NY Faculty Governance Policies and Procedures

Each New York college and university has guidelines for faculty governance. These guidelines include the responsibilities of faculty members, the rights of tenured faculty, and the procedures by which complaints may be made against faculty members. 

Non-tenured faculty have all the responsibilities of tenured faculty, but they do not have the same rights. For instance, most non-tenured faculty in New York are employed on an “at-will” basis. At-will employment means employees may be fired with or without cause or notice. By contrast, tenured professors cannot be fired without notice and a hearing about their dismissal. 

Rights and Protections for Non-Tenured Faculty in New York

At-will employment laws mean colleges and universities don’t have to provide notice or a hearing before firing non-tenured faculty. However, this does not mean that schools can fire non-tenured faculty for any reason at all. 

New York colleges and universities may not fire or take adverse action against an employee for a discriminatory reason. For example, a college or university may not discriminate against, demote, or terminate an employee because of that employee’s sex, race, religion, or disability status. Federal law prevents employers from firing employees who blow the whistle on the employers’ illegal behavior or who seek information like their wage and hour records. 

Other state and federal laws that protect New York employees from adverse actions based on discrimination include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
  • The New York Labor Law
  • The New York State Human Rights Law
  • The New York City Human Rights Law

Some colleges and universities provide limited avenues for non-tenured faculty to challenge the reasons for disciplinary action or termination. Speak to an experienced New York adjunct faculty defense lawyer to learn more. 

What to Do If You’re Facing Disciplinary Action in New York

For non-tenured faculty, the time between a filed complaint and disciplinary action can go swiftly. You may not be included in conversations about the complaint or its consequences until you are already carrying the weight of both. 

If you are facing a complaint or disciplinary action related to a complaint:

  • Familiarize yourself with applicable policies and procedures. Your department, college, or university may have policies and procedures for handling complaints, communicating with faculty who are the subject of complaints, and more. Learn these rules to know where to go and who to involve in your issue. 
  • Get everything in writing and with witnesses. If you’re told that you’re facing adverse action due to a filed complaint, insist on receiving a copy of the complaint. Get information about adverse actions in writing or take notes immediately after a verbal meeting or phone call. Note the date, time, who was present, and what was said. Have a third neutral party present in all meetings whenever you can. 
  • Speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced New York faculty defense lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and build a case on your behalf. If complaints include allegations of illegal behavior, your attorney can address these as well.

Non-tenured faculty have fewer rights than tenured facultyーbut they do not have zero rights. If you’re facing censure, suspension, dismissal, or another adverse action, talk to an experienced lawyer today. 

Attorneys for Adjunct and Non-Tenured College Faculty in New York

If you are a college professor facing disciplinary issues, contact the Brill Legal Group, P.C. team as soon as possible. We are prepared to build a strong defense on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a no-cost, confidential initial evaluation with one of our experienced defense attorneys:

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.