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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19169
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I am an assistant professor at a community college. I recently

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I am an assistant professor at a community college. I recently applied for promotion to associate rank and was denied. I have a letter from the Vice President stating my notebook lacked scope and breadth. In addition, it stated I could not include certain activities to use toward promotion. These activities that I included were used as examples from "exemplary notebooks" from a Promtion Workshop held by the Promtion Committee. The specific things, as I was told, "trivialized" my other activities --yet, they were the very activities that the Promotion Committee used as examples of exemplary notebooks. I have all of this in writing. What should I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Do you have any reason to believe or evidence to support that the real reason for the denial is your race, religion, gender, age, disability or recent FMLA use? I'm assuming that this is a private college and not a state run college, but just want to be sure. Is it a state run college?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
This is a state community college. I do not believe the reason for my denial was for any of those reasons you stated. I do believe it may have to do with the fact that I'm in Language in Language and Literature and not STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Out of 13 - 8 were promoted and 5 were denied. The ones that were promoted are part of STEM (as far as I know) and the ones that were not are NOT part of stem (3 from Lang. And Lit., 1 from Business and I'm not sure of the last one). Beyond that I have solid evidence that what I was told from the Promtion Committee during their workshop was inconsistent with the letter I received denial for promotion. Meaning the activities that were used as exemplary (notebooks for Promotion from people that have been promoted in the past) were some of the same activities that I did. I was told by the Vice President these same activites could not be used toward promotion. There are many inconsistencies. Do I have any legal ground to stand on? I have attached the letter and correspondence with the Vice President of the college. Thank you
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I do not see a basis for a claim here. The fact that they focused on STEM and not language and literature makes the determination to appear more about business need than any sort of illegal discrimination on their part.If they were terminating you, you'd have an argument to make here about a violation of due process rights if they didn't give you a hearing, but there isn't a similar claim for this sort of promotion situation. Their comments to you before are not contractual and don't create any sort of cause of action either.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm meeting with the President of my college Monday. Would you be able to help me with some of the questions/issues I want to address.
1. The official document (promotion document from the college) states that: The promotion committee will be responsible for arranging a panel discussion workshop on how to prepare for successful portfolios.
Q. Since this is in the contract could their presentation material be deemed "contractual?"
2. Our college has been inconsistent with teaching evaluations. We were told to provide summary sheets of evaluations, NOT the actual evaluations; however the college did not have summary sheets for two semesters. I included my actual evaulations and was significantly penalized for this. I was told I should have created my own summary sheets for two semesters. My thought was this isn't credible data because anyone could give themselves 99% ...excellent.
Q. Do I have any recourse since the document requires something (summary sheets) that were not available for any faculty?
3. In the promotion document it reads, "at the conclusion of the work year, the chair will file the log with the executive director of Human Resources."
Q. Since this is a state college is this public record?
And, if there is anything else ... or any argument you think I can make- any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
1. You can certainly make that argument, but it's not generally going to be considered contractual. It is peripheral to the contract itself. Unless the contract specifically mentions those materials and states that they are incorporated by reference into the contract, they don't take on contractual properties. They are merely guide materials with no contractual power. 2. You can argue that the failure to be consistent in evaluations is, by itself, a violation of the schools contractual obligations. It is it's own breach though and if it wasn't available for any faculty, you can't really argue that it effected the promotion issue. 3. Yes, the information has to be kept, but not all information is public. Some information can be kept private and doesn't have to be released unless there is a lawsuit....information like promotion/hiring thought processes and disciplinary investigations. These sorts of situations are exceedingly difficult to win, because even when you are talking about a state funded college, they have the discretion to not promote or hire. Again, unless you can show discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use, or a clear example of personal bias, I just don't see a legal method of forcing them to change their minds here.

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