Friday, May 01, 2009

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SLAMS DOE FOR REFUSING TO REMOVE “DISCIPLINARY “LETTER TO FILE

In a strongly worded decision Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam has criticized the DOE for its failure to remove a letter to the file and arguing, as it had before, the same legal argument that was rejected by the court last year. As we reported here before Justice Salaam was one of the Justices who forced the removal of disciplinary letters as no due process hearing was afforded the tenured teacher.

In the current case, PS 41’s physical education teacher, Helen Hickey brought an Article 78 proceeding to challenge her principal’s placement of a letter that led to a “U” rating. The letter concerned Hickey’s actions during a May 2008 Field Day. According the Court, “The thrust of the letter is that Hickey did not competently organize and set up the equipment and that as a result, the activities began 20 minutes late. The letter states, among other things, that Ms. Hickey’s conduct demonstrated her incompetence and her “unsatisfactory professional attitude’’ and advises that “. . this incident may lead to further disciplinary action including unsatisfactory rating and charges that can lead to your termination.” (June 3, 2008 letter, p. 2.) Petitioner has alleged, and respondent has admitted that this letter is a reprimand

“Given that the letter speaks of “further disciplinary action,’ the court concludes that the letter is at least, in part, a disciplinary reprimand and not simply a critical administrative evaluation.”

The Court ordered the removal of the letter but would not reject the “U” rating since Hickey’s administrative appeals were not exhausted.

Hickey v. NYC/BOE, Index No. 112353/2008, New York Supreme Court, 1/29/09 Click here for the full decision.


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a similar problem but my union rep would not refer my case to the lawyers. What do I have to do, pay for my own lawyer.

Anonymous said...

I am in a same situation as anon, how to proceed with lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

If the Union isn't helping, what can we do? We are not lawyers.

michael biskar said...

Hey! I'm an organizer with UNITEHERE on the Hotel Workers Rising campaign in Indianapolis, IN. Indianapolis hotel workers are engaged in a struggle of historic proportions. There are currently no union hotels in America's 12th largest city, yet huge majorities of workers at the Sheraton, Westin, and Hyatt Regency hotels have demanded a card-check neutrality agreement. They have yet to hear back from the hotel owners. Work conditions in Indianapolis hotels are really tough. Housekeepers routinely clean up to 30 rooms per day and make just $7.25/hr. We've just put together an inspirational video documenting this 2-year struggle. It would be great if you could put it up on your blog for people to watch. Thank you,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exBtVnZaWUk

Anonymous said...

If the UFT won't provide legal assistance, could you call NYSUT directly?

Anonymous said...

I had a letter just like this put into my file. I t had exactly the same wording. what do these principals do use a fill in the blank form when tthey write letters in the file.

Anonymous said...

Shy isn't the UFT taking every one of them to court?

Jeff Kaufman said...

This case was brought by a private attorney from Brooklyn.