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Thursday, April 30, 2015

A probationary teacher may be terminated from his or her position absent a showing that his or her dismissal was made in bad faith, in violation of law, or for a constitutionally impermissible purpose.



A probationary teacher may be terminated from his or her position absent a showing that his or her dismissal was made in bad faith, in violation of law, or for a constitutionally impermissible purpose
2015 NY Slip Op 03479, Appellate Division, First Department 

Supreme Court denied a probationary employee’s [Probationer] petition seeking to have the court annul the appointing authority’s decision to terminate Probationer’s services during her probationary period. The Appellate Division dismissed Probationer’s appeal of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

One of the arguments advanced by Probationer was that she had attained “tenure by estoppel” and thus was entitled to notice and hearing as a condition precedent to her dismissal from her position.

The Appellate Division held that Petitioner was not entitled to tenure by estoppel, explaining that Probationer, while serving an extension of her probationary appointment pursuant to an agreement providing for such an extension, had resigned from that position. The appointing authority subsequently reemployed Probationer as a teacher at a different school subject to a new three-year term of probation. This second probationary period was also extended pursuant to the terms of another agreement. The appointing authority then terminated Probationer’s employment before the expiration of this second extended term of probation.

Accordingly, said the court, Petitioner never taught beyond the expiration of the probationary terms of her employment with the school district, citing Juul v Board of Educ. of Hempstead School Dist. No. 1, Hempstead, 76 AD2d 837, aff’d 55 NY2d 648. The Appellate Division commented that Juul, a teacher, had agreed to forgo any claim to tenure in exchange for the extension of his probationary employment with the school district.

In contrast, the Appellate Division noted the decision in Matter of Gould v Board of Educ. of Sewanhaka Cent. High School Dist., 81 NY2d 446. In Gould the teacher was found to have attained tenure by estoppel “where she obtained tenure in her first position and taught beyond the two-year period of her probation in her second position.”

Finding that the appointing authority had not breached the second agreement extending Petitioner's probation at the second school, the court held that in the absence of a showing of bad faith, a violation of law, or a constitutionally impermissible purpose on the part of the appointing authority, Probationer could terminated from her probationary employment “for any reason or no reason at all.”





The decision is posted on the Internet at:


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