New York Non-Tenured Teachers Defense Attorneys

The rights of a non-tenured teacher are not the same as those of a tenured teacher. This is because non-tenured teachers are considered to be at-will employees. A non-tenured teacher, also referred to as a probationary teacher or educator, has certain rights under the contract they signed with the school district. 

New York non-tenured teachers may not be terminated in violation of their contracts. Each employment contract may be crafted differently depending on which district employs you. Being under contract also means that other than limits outlined within that contract with the non-tenured teacher, the school district or school board may fire a non-tenured teacher for any reason or no reason. 

However, an employer (school board or district) may not dismiss a teacher for an unlawful reason. In other words, the employer may not act in “bad faith.” An unlawful reason may include being fired based on membership in a legally protected class, such as race, gender, disability, pregnancy, caregiver status, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religion. Your dismissal may fall under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or even one of the numerous New York State discrimination laws

Given the complexity of these cases and what is at stake for non-tenured educators, it is strongly recommended to contact an experienced attorney at the Brill Legal Group. We have decades of experience in this area and know how to protect your rights. When you come to see us for your case, bring a copy of your employment contract. This is something we will examine in great detail.

What are employment decisions?

Employment decisions are those that relate to an educator’s job. This can include a decision made by the Board in some of the following areas:

  • Assigning work.
  • Administering reviews.
  • Administering bonuses.
  • Compensation
  • Firing.
  • Hiring.
  • Promotions.
  • Provision of benefits. (e.g., Health insurance)
  • Scheduling work.
  • Training.

Each area may be affected by an accusation of incompetence, abuse, or another issue that may trigger disciplinary action. However, a non-tenured teacher may not be entitled to a disciplinary hearing prior to termination. Again, what matters is that an employer (school board or district) may not dismiss a teacher under contract for an unlawful reason. 

Types of NY Non-Tenured Teacher Discrimination

Non-tenured educators have the right to be protected from discrimination. This is precisely what the probationary teacher’s rights attorneys at the Brill Legal Group do in delicate employment situations that threaten a probationary teacher’s livelihood. 

Situations involving discrimination can be subtle or flagrant, and the main issue is that they may not be recognized for what they are. For teachers, discrimination may look like offering professional education only to teachers under a certain age or being denied tenure due to fearing a female teacher may become pregnant. Other reasons can be due to a person’s religion or race.

If you are facing a questionable situation that affects your teaching job or affects the chance of being tenured, reach out to the Brill Legal Group to discuss your situation. We know how to protect you, your job, and your future. While a non-tenured educator may not have the same right to due process as a tenured teacher, you most definitely have the right to be free from discrimination of any kind. Our goal is to either recover compensation from your employer or secure reinstatement of your position.

Non-Tenured NY Teacher’s Legal Rights Explained

A non-tenured educator’s rights are less extensive than a tenured educator, meaning they may be dismissed or a teaching contract may not be renewed. A NY school district is not required to show the grounds they chose to fire a teacher, nor are they required to follow due process rules. 

Typical Reasons for Firing a Non-Tenured Teacher

Typically school boards and districts have a list of reasons for which a non-tenured (or tenured) educator may be fired. These are different across the board. Know what your school district considers cause for firing, but know that the wording may be open to interpretation. 

Some of the more common reasons for many school districts include the following reasons for termination:

  • A conviction for a crime.
  • Fraud or misrepresentation.
  • Incompetence.
  • Immoral conduct or actions.
  • Insubordination.
  • Neglecting their duties.
  • Serious abuse of school rules.

The Teaching Contract and Remedies for a Breach

The law of contracts applies when teachers and school districts are hiring teachers. Common requirements in all contracts make the agreement’s four corners valid. The process of creating a contract involves the offer, acceptance, mutual assent to the document, and terms and consideration. Some states require the contract to be ratified by the school board or district before it is considered binding.

A teacher’s contract can be breached by the school board or district, or a teacher. Breach of contract situations can be complicated if a school district fires a teacher who has not violated any contract terms. An example would be taking a leave of absence, not violating the existing agreement, and the educator being terminated because of the leave. An educator who chooses to resign before the end of the contract, usually at the end of the school year.

In breach of contract situations, the typical remedy is monetary damages, although, in some instances, there may be non-monetary remedies. Compensation is usually the amount an educator would have been paid under the contract minus the amount the teacher receives/could receive by getting another teaching job. It may also include the costs of finding another position.

Non-monetary remedies can include an order to rehire the teacher or comply with the contract terms. If the teacher breached the contract, damages may be the cost to the school district to find another educator. Typically, most teaching contracts include monetary damages the teacher must pay if they quit before the stated end of the contract.

Types of Litigation Options

  • Article 78 Proceedings
  • Complaints to New York State Division of Human Rights, New York City Human Rights Commission, United States EEOC

Contact the Brill Legal Group

If you are faced with a teaching contract dispute, we use our experience to hold the school board or district accountable. We encourage you to get in touch with our Brill Legal Group, P.C. team as soon as possible so we can begin aggressively defending you.

Contact our New York City non-tenured teacher defense lawyers for the defense of non-tenured teachers today to discuss legal representation. Our defense of non-tenured teachers’ attorneys is available for an initial no-cost evaluation of your legal issues.

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.