Q: Do you handle teacher rights cases when they are being subjected to harassment and unfair treatment?
A tenured teacher under pressure of health issues and a bi-polar daughter who has attempted suicide is unduly pressured to provided detailed differentiated Physical Education lesson plans for K-5 graders that are never acceptable. She is accused of having problems with parents/teachers and staff that only are brought to her attention after a period of time when she is unable to respond. And due process doesn't seems to be followed. The principal, rather than support and provide counseling as to how she is supposed to meet her demands tells her she is a bad teacher. This after 25 years of good recommendations. She is in danger of being terminated.
A: In Illinois, terminating a public tenured teacher is a complicated process and usually requires due process via a hearing. This can involve hundreds of pages of paperwork, strict deadlines and appeal rights.
If she is in danger of being terminated, she should notify her union (where applicable) to see if a grievance can be filed and/or decisions appealed, and also immediately put her concerns in writing.
If she is already on a performance improvement plan (PIP), she should make sure to fully meet the requirements of that plan and take any deadlines within the plan seriously.
If her job requires a license, she should also be concerned about losing the right to renew her license based on any decisions made by this employer.
From the facts provided, I see no clear legal basis for employment discrimination but she still may have rights in other areas of law.
It's highly recommended she speak with a local attorney - or if she wants to pursue the matter on her own, do the requisite research to prepare for termination. This may involve looking at public records of other teacher disciplines, which may be available on the Illinois State Board of Education's website under FOIA archives, or can be requested from her specific school district with a new FOIA request.
For the Illinois State Board of Education's FOIA archives, visit:
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.