Most complaints regarding a public school employee’s rights or conditions of employment should be addressed through the district’s grievance procedure. The time limits for initiating a grievance are extremely short, typically 15 days or less from the time the employee knew or should have known of the event for which the grievance is filed. Legal rights to appeal could be permanently lost if these time limits are not followed. For this reason, members with potential school employment-related problems should call the TCTA Legal Department at 888-879-8282 immediately for advice.
Pursuant to a TCTA-initiated law, a grievance alleging a violation of law by a supervisor need not be filed with the same supervisor. Another TCTA-initiated law allows an employee to make an audio recording of any meeting or proceeding at which the substance of a grievance is discussed. Still another TCTA-initiated law allows teachers to be represented via teleconference, subject to availability of necessary equipment.
During the 2019 session, the law protecting employees from any adverse employment action for reporting abuse or neglect in good faith was expanded. Previous law only protected against termination or suspension. Adverse employment action is “an action that affects an employee’s compensation, promotion, transfer, work assignment, or performance evaluation, or any other employment action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a report of abuse or neglect.”
A TCTA-initiated law provides that school district employment policies may not restrict the ability of a district employee to communicate directly with a school board member on matters relating to the district’s operation. However, an employment policy may prohibit such communication relating to an appeal in which such communication would be inappropriate pending a final decision by a school board.