year-to-year teacher contracts - how schools can avoid mistakes

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Although teacher contracts may have an end date, it is important to be aware of the employment expectations these contracts create.
How to effectively structure the teacher review process
The differences between teacher employment and traditional business employment
Common pitfalls of year-to-year contracting
Best practices in teacher-employer relationships
Using the contract renewal period to the school's advantage

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year-to-year teacher contracts - how schools can avoid mistakes

  1. 1. T he Myths and Mistakes of Year-to-Year Teacher Contr acts Patrick L. O’Neil Michael J. Neary Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. www.lerchearly.com January 30, 2014
  2. 2. Overview        2 Contracts Primary Laws Protecting Employees Handbook Year-to-Year Contracts How to Improve Contracts Managing Problems Next Steps © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  3. 3. W hat is an Employment Contr act?  What will the employee do?  What will the employer give in return? 3 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  4. 4. Ter ms  How long?  How much?  What if something goes wrong? 4 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  5. 5. Contr actual Relationship AtWill 5 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 is t-will A the in fault de d rylan Ma www.lerchearly.com
  6. 6. Employment Types Contractual At-Will  Specifies  Does not length  Limits employer’s ability to terminate for cause 6 specify length  Can be terminated without notice © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  7. 7. Ter ms Outside of Contract Included Automaticall y  Common law: implied by custom   7 and usage (general, wellestablished practice) Other laws protecting employees School policies created by the handbook (such as severance) © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  8. 8. Common Law Duties Employee  Loyalty  Refrain from bad Employer  Pay compensation  Don’t place words or behavior employee in harm  Exercise skill  No wrongful discharge  Protect trade secrets  Regularly report to © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com work 8
  9. 9. Laws Protecting Employees  Federal  State  Local For handout of protected classes (Federal, Maryland, DC, Virginia) contact Anne Core at ascore@lerchearly.com 9 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  10. 10. Handbook     10 School’s standards of conduct and expectations Expectation of a term of employment if not crafted carefully Sets discipline process Follow the rules or explain why not © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  11. 11. Other Written Policies  Computer use  Social media 11 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  12. 12. Year-to-Year  Why do you have year-to-year    12 contracts? What if you don’t? For all, or for high-level management? Renewal provisions © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  13. 13. How to Impr ove Your Contr acts  Make for cause provision    13 favorable to school Make decisions in good faith Don’t limit yourself Spell out how termination happens at the middle or the end © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  14. 14. Avoid Liability for Non-Renewal  Assume you will be challenged  Be aware of the risks  Do not avoid problems all year  Manage the problem 14 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  15. 15. Managing the Problem        15 Build a solid foundation Set performance expectations Performance evaluation protocol Train managers and supervisors Document, document, document Plan in advance Consistency © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  16. 16. Delivering the Messa ge  No surprises  It’s the performance, not the    16 person Skills of person don’t match needs of position Show compassion Allow the teacher to keep his/her dignity © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  17. 17. Steps for You to Take Tomor row For checklist, contact Anne Core at ascore@lerchearly.com 17 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  18. 18. Speaker s  (301) 657-0738 ploneil@ lerchearly.com  (301) 657-0740 mjneary@ lerchearly.com 18 Patrick O’Neil is an attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer who serves as outside general counsel for independent schools throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. Michael Neary is an employment and litigation attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer who counsels businesses, private schools, nonprofits, and religious organizations on how to comply with the laws governing the workplace. © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com
  19. 19. For mor e infor mation Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 460 Bethesda, MD 20814 (301) 986-1300 www.lerchearly.com Thank you for your participation 19 © Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. 2014 www.lerchearly.com

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