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Set objective criteria for renewing employee contracts

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in Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

A former math teacher at Canisius High School in Buffalo recently filed suit against the school, alleging she was wrongly denied tenure. Maria D. Baldwin claims that, despite her excellent reviews, the school denied her tenure because of her outspokenness as a faculty senate member.

She said problems began after she transcribed the minutes of a senate meeting discussing fears over possible terminations. The minutes became the basis for a Buffalo News article.

But the Rev. James P. Higgins, Canisius’ president, said the school denied Baldwin’s tenure because of concern over her inability to interact with members of the school community. Baldwin’s suit alleges that wasn’t one of her goals, and it’s not an adequate reason for the decision.

Advice: Employers should put forth objective criteria for renewing employee contracts and then stick to those criteria. When you change the rules, or appear to, at the last minute, it smacks of retaliatory behavior. Also, note that employers who retaliate against employees for their complaints about work conditions may be violating the National Labor Relations Act, which protects such speech. And public employers may face First Amendment repercussions.  

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