December 15, 2010

Tenure by estoppel

Tenure by estoppel
Young v Cashin, 275 AD2d 747, Motion for leave to appeal denied, 96 NY2d 706

A New York City Assistant School Principal, Joseph Young, was terminated from his position.

Contending that he had attained tenure by estoppel, Young sued, seeking a court order reinstating him to his former position. If effect, Young argued that as a tenured employee he could not be summarily terminated from his position.

The City, on the other hand, claimed that it had terminated Young while he was still a probationary employee and thus he never had attained tenure as an assistant principal. Accordingly, said the city, he was not entitled to any pretermination hearing. A State Supreme Court judge agreed with the City’s argument and dismissed Young’s petition.

The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, pointing out that tenure by estoppel may be acquired when a school board accepts the continued services of a probationary teacher or an administrator, and fails to take the action required by law to grant or deny tenure before the expiration of the probationary term.

The fatal omission in Young’s case, it appears, was that he failed, or was unable, to show that the City had accepted his services as an assistant principal -- i.e., he was continued in the position of assistant principal -- after his probationary term expired.

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