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Loren
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20797
Experience:  30 years of practice.
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I am over three weeks into a situation with a 501c3 educational

Customer Question

I am over three weeks into a situation with a 501c3 educational organization where I was a teacher in my 12th year. I have never worked under a contract with this org. though the Board of Directors repeatedly brings it up as a topic of interest to them. On April 22, 2013 I was brought in to an ad hoc meeting with the Board Chairman, his viceChair and the Principal late in the afternoon. Two matters of parental concern were brought up, as was an additional admin. concern. I had no prior warning or indication that these matters were on anyone's radar of concern. I was given opportunity to give "my side of the story," on these matters, none of which had any moral, ethical, legal or criminal implications. I was dismissed from the meeting with the directive that "the Board will discuss whether we are in further need of your services." I left them with my offer, my offer, to resign my position, if that would make their decision any easier. By 8:30 pm the Board had reached their decision and were seeking to reach me with their instructions. They reached me with a 10 pm email that stated, "The Board of Directors of [organization] accepts your (Phil Manning's) resignation offer. We accept your offer to resign as a teacher/staff member as of April 22, 2013. We accept and understand that your services will stop as of 4/22/2013." I was subsequently told to stay off of the property and that my belongings could be retrieved by appt. on the following Sat/Sun. I have requested numerous documents from them as explanation for my termination or evidence of my resignation. They hold the position that I, in fact, resigned, though I only posited it as an offer to do so in light of the matters before them. There is nothing that I have ever written or even signed that documents a resignation. In spite of the documentation for six matters that I've requested, I have only received copy of my personnel file; nothing else, I've been told, exists or will be released to me. Thus, I have absolutely nothing that gives me the reason for their actions or how the decision was made to terminate my position as a teacher. Since April 22nd, a replacement teacher has been brought on payroll to finish out what had been my responsibilities for the school year. Is there any substance within my situation as I've described it that has any legal merit worth pursuing?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am JudgeLaw and I will do whatever I can to provide an honest and accurate answer to your question.

Before we begin, a bit more detail would be helpful.

Does your contract provide a process for resignation requiring a written notice?

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The organization is a 501c3 educational institution that has not found it a priority to ever put the hired teachers under contract. I am not aware of what our annual staff manual says in regards XXXXX XXXXX procedures.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information.

I am sorry to hear of your dilemma. I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

Unfortunately, an "offer" to resign is a resignation upon the acceptance of the offer, just as an offer to buy a car can create a binding contract upon the acceptance of the offer. You are behind the eight ball on this one and need to be a little creative. You should respond in writing that the offer to resign was conditional on negotiating a severance package, or some other condition, and not intended to be unconditional. Since nothing was in writing, the offer is certainly subject to interpretation.

As an at-will employee, however, your employer can discharge you from your employment for any reason, or no reason, so long as it is not a violation of your civil rights (illegal discrimination, for example). So, whether you resign or are fired may carry little distinction except for your eligibility to collect unemployment benefits, if you are otherwise eligible.

I am sorry. I realize this is not the answer you were hoping for. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I ask that you not penalize me for having to deliver less than favorable news.

It has been my privilege to assist you. Let me know if you need further assistance. I hope I have helped you beyond your expectations in the service I have provided to you. I am here for you.

Please remember to rate my answer when our communication is completed so I will be compensated for my time in providing you with the information you requested.

If you feel the need to provide a low rating, please stop and reply to me via the REPLY button with whatever issue or clarification you may need. I will happily answer your follow-up questions and assist you until I am able to explain the answer to your satisfaction. Please also remember that I cannot control whether the law is favorable to your situation, so please do not penalize me for having to deliver bad news.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Loren, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20797
Experience: 30 years of practice.
Loren and 7 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You are correct in the answer to my question being less than favorable. I will take it for what it is. Thank you.
A follow-up question is this... again, without working under a contract, the answer may again be different than I'd like. Nonetheless, here goes! Our school year runs from the first Tuesday after Labor Day (Sept) through the first week in June; I count a total of 177 school days. My salary is paid out in twenty-six payments over 12 months. Therefore, in rough figures, we are paid only 75% of what we earn and the remaining 25% is spread out over the summer months (Jun,Jul,Aug). This is not an arrangement that employees can opt in or out of, it's just how the payment schedule works. In my separation from the school, I've been paid the regular amount that I've been paid through my last day of work, plus two unused personal days. I would contend that I'm still due the unpaid portion through my last day of work, the 25% that was being withheld to be paid out over the summer months. As it stands presently, that 25% is being withheld by the organization as a negotiable item in assembling a severance package. Do I have any legal claim to that 25% that would require its removal from any negotiations?
I'll await your response. Thank you.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX following up with me.

Yes, I would agree that you payment should be prorated for the salary level at which you were hired.

If it were the case then you would need to file a wage complaint . See the following link: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/WH43_Employment_Wage_Complaint_Form_R6_29_05_141963_7.pdf

Or you could file a breach of contract claim (even without a written contract). The wage claim would probably be easier and quicker, though.

I hope this is helpful. If you have more follow up questions please let me know. It is never a problem.

Thank you.

JudgeLaw
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your positive rating of my service to you. Let me know if you need more help. I will be here for you. Just ask for me by name - JudgeLaw

Best wishes and good luck to you.

If it is not too much trouble, when you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JA/Pearl in a day or two, please do rate me highly (9 or 10). It affects my ability to continue to assist you and other customers on JA/Pearl and would be most appreciated.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have read all of your response and appreciate your expertise. I have given you an excellent rating on your first response. When I went to rate the second one as well, I was shown that I'd be paying an additional $38 to submit that rating. I wasn't aware of a perpetual charge for every response I receive. I'm not crying sour grapes here, but the pricing structure of this site is a bit disheveling. Thank you.
Expert:  Loren replied 1 year ago.
It is ok Philip.

If you have a payment or subscription question you should direct it to customer service.

Regards,

JudgeLaw

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