You take pride in your independent school and the fine reputation it has forged in the New Jersey area. You also work hard to maintain that reputation. Key in doing so is making sure your employment practices are sound and don’t expose your school to undue risk.
Employment practices run the gamut — from the interviewing process, the offer, training, development and, at times, termination, which is why your school must have the right procedures in place for each stage of the process. If an employee thinks he or she has been treated unfairly, has consistently delivered sub-par performance, or engaged in some kind of actionable misconduct, Weiner Law Group’s experienced attorneys can help you mitigate risk and guide you through any potential legal action that may arise as a result.
Removing a problem employee is an intensive process that often requires a great deal of time, paperwork and cost, not to mention the challenge it presents from a legal standpoint. Administrators need to act very strategically when deciding to discipline or terminate an employee.
Build your case
It is important to be prepared and manage the process in such a way that maximizes your defense against a potential lawsuit by the employee who feels victimized. Conducting thorough and legally defensible performance evaluations of all personnel, and building a paper trail far in advance of an actual dismissal, will help protect the school from liability.
Have a clear disciplinary process
The form of discipline imposed for violations of school laws and rules may vary depending upon factors such as the nature of the violation, whether the violation was intentional, knowing and/or willful and whether the employee has been the subject of prior disciplinary action.
Whether the infraction is the result of substandard performance, or misconduct (such as failure to observe rules, neglect of duties; personal misconduct, or falsification of credentials and experience), documenting each disciplinary stage can help build a solid legal defense. For example:
Stage 1: written warning or reprimand
Stage 2: probation
Stage 3: disciplinary suspension, demotion or leave of absence with pay
Stage 4: disciplinary suspension, demotion or leave of absence without pay
Stage 5: dismissal/termination or discharge from employment.
Weiner Law Group: Helping to protect the integrity of your school
Your school’s reputation depends on leadership that understands when an employee presents a potential problem, takes the appropriate disciplinary actions and, if necessary, implements the steps needed for that employee to move on. Legal counsel is an invaluable tool in this process, and no firing decision should be made without first understanding all of the legal ramifications.
At Weiner Law Group, we advice Independent Schools every step of the way, and our education attorneys will work to protect your school and the New Jersey communities you serve. For more information, call 973-403-1100 for a consultation, or contact us.