New York Tenured Professor Disciplinary Action Defense Attorneys

There is a difference between a tenured professor or professor and a tenured teacher. Professors are considered the highest level of educators, typically specializing in a specific subject/field. They are critical faculty members at colleges, etc. Teachers impart wisdom to teach younger students ranging from kindergarten to high school age and are vital in assisting younger students to gain a foundation to cope with their roles in the world. 

The terms teacher and professor are very different, indicating a different kind of educator, taking different paths to reach their end goals. A professor is a postsecondary academic instructor teaching at the college level. Teachers cover broad a range of topics, fields, and subjects to prepare students for the future.

Duties of New York College Professors Explained

A tenured professor, referred to as a tenured educator, has numerous responsibilities, including:

  • Creating course curriculum.
  • Engaging their department in developing the curriculum.
  • Researching/writing academic papers.
  • Lecturing students.
  • Handing out tests, assignments, etc.
  • Creating mentorship programs for students.
  • Assisting students when they need help.
  • Teach classes relating to their area(s) of specialty.
  • Running online software to help students prepare for courses.
  • Work directly with students, not parents.

Education and Training for Tenured NYC Professors

To become a university professor, an individual typically needs a doctoral degree in their field of specialty. Although that is the prevailing practice, universities may also hire adjunct professors who hold a master’s degree or hire professors for specific degree courses based on their experience in the specific field and not their education. 

To become a professor, a student needs a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctoral degree. 

What Is a Tenured Professor’s Legal Rights?

Tenured educators have certain rights per Education Law §3020-a and §3020-b* proceedings. While this information may be helpful, the quickest and most reliable way to obtain accurate and applicable information about a case you may have is to consult with a tenured professor attorney at the Brill Legal Group. These hearings can result in serious adverse consequences, and legal representation is strongly suggested.

The most important thing to note is that tenured educators cannot be disciplined or removed from employment except “for just cause.” The question then becomes, “What is just cause?” and this is what an experienced tenured professor attorney at the Brill Legal Group can explain should you find yourself facing a disciplinary hearing under Education Law §3020.

Relating to charges, the board of education must:

  • Decide, by a majority vote, that probable cause does exist.
  • If probable cause is found, the tenured educator must receive a written statement outlining the charges in detail, mentioning the maximum penalty the board is seeking if the professor is found guilty or imposed if a hearing is not requested.
  • Provide the professor with a copy of their rights. 
  • Charges must be sent by registered or certified mail, and a return receipt must be requested or personally delivered.
  • Charges cannot be brought more than three years after alleged misconduct or incompetency unless the charge is misconduct constituting a crime when committed.

It is important to know that a tenured educator may be suspended pending a hearing. They may also be suspended without pay for the following reasons:

  • The educator pled guilty to or was convicted of felony drug crimes or a felony crime relating to physical abuse of a minor and/or student.
  • Educators suspended without pay in the face of sexual or physical abuse get an expedited probable cause hearing.
  • Educators may be terminated without a hearing if convicted of a sex offense. 
  • If convicted of defrauding the government, supervisors or administrators can be let go without a hearing.

What To Do If You Receive Charges Against You in New York 

Should you receive charges, you have 10 days to provide a written request to the board secretary or clerk stating you wish a hearing. This is a crucial first step, and at the Brill Legal Group, we can guide you through these steps to protect your rights. The request for a hearing included the contact information and name of the tenured educator’s attorney – if there is one. While the steps we outline here are not exhaustive, they are, in general, the route taken to defend such charges. We’ve got your back.

One very important piece of information to be aware of, and something the Brill Legal Group would examine, is any changes to the collective bargaining agreement, amendments, revisions, and provisions. Always check the most recent iteration of the collective bargaining agreement. We can assist you with that. 

If you do not ask for a hearing within ten days of receiving the charges, you are deemed to have waived that right. If the right is deemed waived, the board proceeds within 15 days to determine the outcome of the case and any penalty to be imposed.

Time is of the essence in these cases, and if you are facing charges with the possibility of losing your livelihood, act quickly and contact us for assistance. It’s what we do, and we do it well. The process to discipline a tenured educator is fraught with pitfalls, and we know how to negotiate those to your advantage. It’s a complex process, and we are here to help. 

While school boards may consider bringing charges and disciplining a tenured educator, due to the cumbersome process and expense, more than one-third of school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services still need to file such charges. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, they may choose to forge ahead.

In response to a New York State School Boards Association survey, the most common charge filed is insubordination, and roughly 42 percent of educators were cited. Twenty-nine percent were charged with excessive absenteeism and/or lateness.

Nearly half of educators facing 3020-a charges were grade 7-12 teachers. Twenty-one percent taught grades K-6. One educator charged was a principal. Twenty-nine percent held other assignments, such as teaching assistants.

Each tenured educator does a different job. Thus, the circumstances they face if charged are unique to them. This is why we take all such cases very seriously at the Brill Legal Group. Each case is approached uniquely based on the educator and the facts of the case, their educational and teaching level, collective agreements, and other mitigating factors. 

Contact the Brill Legal Group

If you face disciplinary issues, we use our experience to hold the school board 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 lawyers for defense of tenured professor rights section 3020-A today to discuss legal representation. Our defense of tenured professor’s attorneys is available for an initial no-cost evaluation of the legal issues you face.

Manhattan: 212-233-4141

Suffolk: 631-204-8254

Nassau: 516-206-2002

East Hampton: 631-204-8254 

Toll-free: 888-315-9841

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.