Education Law | Lawyers for New York Teachers
New York City teachers face challenges inside and outside the classroom. As lawyers for New York teachers, Ricotta & Marks, P.C. has represented educators and administrative staff facing a broad spectrum of legal issues and we are committed to protecting teachers’ rights.
How Does Tenure Work?
Tenure provides teachers and college professors with the right to due process.
Tenure provides teachers and college professors with the right to due process if they are accused of misconduct or facing potential dismissal for another reason, such as the closure of their school or the termination of their department. Tenure exists to protect educators’ academic freedom, which has benefits for their schools and their students.
Tenure is not a guarantee that a teacher will remain employed with his or her district for life. Nor does it mean that the individual cannot be fired. Rather, it is protection against being dismissed without providing a reason to do so. In New York, public school teachers must complete a four-year probationary period before they are entitled to tenure and the protections that come with it. Tenured educators are not at-will employees because of this protection. Terminating a tenured individual without providing due process before the dismissal is a violation of employment law.
Are Women Less Likely to Make Tenure?
A 2014 study found that in higher education, men are more likely than women to make tenure. This trend was more prevalent in computer science and sociology departments than some other departments, such as English departments. This disparity was not due to differences in research output, but because of bias in university departments and demands placed on women, like service burdens and more hours spent teaching.
Women who have children face increased difficulties making tenure and managing careers in academia when compared to men with children of similar ages.
No difference was recorded in the number of men versus women making tenure in K-12 teaching positions. These jobs are more likely to be filled by women and like other female-dominated jobs, often pay less on average than male-dominated fields. In 2011, approximately 76 percent of public school teachers in the United States were female.
I was Denied Tenure, Now What?
At community colleges, the probationary period for new professors is typically three years. At four-year colleges and universities, the average probationary period is seven years. During the time, the professors are regularly evaluated to determine the quality of their research, service, and teaching in order to determine whether to recommend tenure.
Being denied tenure often means losing your job. If you are denied tenure at the end of your probationary period, ask your department chair why you were denied tenure. If you feel his or her evaluation of your work and service was biased because of your status as a woman, a minority, or another protected class, consider filing a discrimination claim with help from an experienced employment lawyer. When colleges and universities are not clear about their tenure criteria, there is a lot of room to disguise bias as legitimate reasons to deny an individual tenure. You have the right to challenge the biases you face and hold your employer as accountable as it held you during your probationary period.
Comprehensive Preparation and Representation for 3020-a Hearings
Tenured teachers in New York have numerous protections. Before a tenured teacher can be fired for cause, he or she has the right to what is known as a 3020-a hearing, which is similar to a trial. Our lawyers defend teachers at these trials. The preparation for a 3020-a hearing is identical to the preparation we would do for any other type of trial. By thoroughly examining the evidence, conducting interviews with other teachers and carefully constructing strategies, we help our clients effectively navigate 3020-a hearings.
Teacher Discrimination in New York Schools
Age discrimination is far too common in the field of education.
School administrators often prefer younger teachers who earn less money. Younger teachers who do not enjoy the protections of tenure are less likely to speak up. This can make it difficult for older teachers to find work. If you are a teacher and feel you have been discriminated against, our New York teachers’ harassment and discrimination lawyers can help.
Collective Bargaining and Teachers Unions
For teachers who are facing concerns regarding their union or collective bargaining unit, we can represent you in front of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Ricotta & Marks, P.C.: Lawyers for New York Teachers
When educators face the possibility of losing their jobs, they deserve representation by experienced attorneys. At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., employment law is our sole focus. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free initial and confidential consultation at our Queens or Long Island offices today.