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May 31, 2018

Unsatisfactory rating voided because employee's "performance review" failed to comply with the employer's own procedures and thus undermined the integrity of the process

Unsatisfactory rating voided because employee's "performance review" failed to comply with the employer's own procedures and thus undermined the integrity of the process
Joyce v City of New York, 2018 NY Slip Op 03433, Appellate Division, First Department

The Appellate Division annulled the determination of respondent New York City Department of Education [DOE] sustaining the "unsatisfactory" rating for the 2010-2011 academic year give to John Joyce, a tenured teacher.

The court said that the record demonstrates "deficiencies in the performance review process" that resulted in Mr. Joyce being given an unsatisfactory rating for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Citing Matter of Gumbs v Board of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. of the City of N.Y., 125 AD3d 484, and Matter of Richards v Board of Educ. of the City Sch. Dist. of the City of N.Y., 117 AD3d 605, the Appellate Division noted that these deficiencies "were not merely technical, but undermined the integrity and fairness of the process."

Mr. Joyce had received a satisfactory rating for the previous academic year and, in contravention of its own procedures, DOE failed to place him on notice that he was in danger of receiving an unsatisfactory rating for the 2010-2011 academic year until after April 28, 2011.

Although DOE's procedures required that tenured teachers in danger of receiving an unsatisfactory rating have "formal observations including a pre-observation and post-observation conference by the principal ... as part of a prescriptive plan to improve their teaching," Mr. Joyce received only one formal observation which took place one week before the end of the academic year and was not part of a prescriptive plan to improve his performance as a teacher.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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