Saint Joseph, MI asked in Employment Law for Michigan

Q: Recourse for Failure to Notify of Non-Renewal of Contract/Past Practices Question - Union CBA

My wife is currently in a union contract dispute with her employer, a local college. The complaint is that the union CBA that my wife is covered under states that if the college is not going to renew an employee's contract they must be notified in writing with an explanation by March 1st. My wife just received notice that they are not renewing her contract, four months after the contractual deadline.

The college is arguing that since my wife is a "lecturer" and not an "instructor" they didn't have to provide timely notice because their "Past Practice" with lecturers has been to not provide any notice. Note that this is a small college, it is likely that there would be no more than possibly two or three instances in the last 3 to 5 years they could claim as "past practice" and it is in clear conflict with the CBA.

Does past practice overrule clear contractual language?

What sort of recourse could my wife be entitled to if past practice is overruled?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Marlo Bruch
Marlo Bruch
  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: I recommend that your wife bring all of her employment documents, CBA and contracts to a local employment law attorney to review who also handles education law. Without seeing the actual language, it is difficult to make a recommendation.

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