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Legal Counsel For Teachers When Layoffs Occur

Tenured teachers may be laid off for economic or administrative reasons. A board’s decision to lay off a tenured teacher can be appealed only on the grounds that a reduction in personnel was (1) not necessary, (2) arbitrary, (3) in bad faith or (4) subterfuge for discharge.

The Tenure Act does provide the right to recall a suitable vacancy for three years after the initial layoff. The Tenure Act does not recognize seniority principles and uses effectiveness, as determined by performance evaluations, as the main criterion for prioritizing which teachers are retained. For example, a teacher rated “minimally effective” would have priority over a teacher rated “ineffective,” while a teacher rated “highly effective” would have priority over any teacher rated “effective.”

The only time that tenured status or length of service plays any role in a personnel decision is as a tiebreaker to grant priority to one of two teachers who are otherwise fully equal. It is not required that tenure or seniority be used as a tiebreaker in this manner, but the board has the discretion to do so. Prior to July 19, 2011, many collective bargaining agreements had detailed provisions covering layoffs and recall that could be enforced through the grievance procedure. Those areas have now been stripped from the collective bargaining process.

Of course, most of the employment rights applied in the private sector also protect tenured teachers from wrongful discharge. At NachtLaw, our education lawyers take the rights of teachers seriously. Our lawyers are prepared to stand up for Michigan tenure rights and advocate for the best interests of Michigan teachers whether at a Tenure Commission hearing or in the courtroom.

Our job is to defend the right to continue practicing in the career to which you have dedicated yourself. If you are a Michigan teacher facing tenure action, contact the education lawyers at NachtLaw to arrange an initial consultation today.