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I am looking for legal advice on wrongful termination from…

Second opinion] Hello, I am...
Second opinion] Hello, I am looking for legal advice on wrongful termination from my job
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you so much for responding. I am a third year teacher at St. James' Episcopal School and am in the process of being wrongfully terminated from my job. I graduated from Yale in 2015. I taught science for two years and was beloved at the school by the Principal, parents, students, and teachers. The Principal said I was her best hire. I left to go to medical school and over the summer decided to return to St. James' as a first grade co-teacher. I recently audio taped my co-teacher, who is harsh and emotionally abusive to the children. I did so to protect the children and show the Principal for no other purpose than to show what is going on in the classroom. This year, the Assistant Principal has been breathing down my neck and looking for ways to get me fired. I recently had a minor issue relating to not submitting attendance one day. I mentioned the audio recording of my co teacher and I was suspended yesterday for two days. I am required to write a one page letter about the video and saying this will not happen again. I am wondering whether to write this letter and would like some assistance and legal advice. Thank you!
Answered in 16 minutes by:
3/13/2018
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 123,242
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
Verified

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Under CA law, audio recording another person without their consent is actually a criminal offense. Thus, you made an unauthorized recording. Also, if there are school rules about recording in the classroom, as their should be because of the Federal Educational Records Privacy Act, there is also a potential violation of those rules.

You need to write the letter and you need to explain that you mistakenly recorded a co-worker talking inappropriately to the children and that you will not make any further audio recordings. You need to not get into finger pointing and you need to simply state it was a mistake and you do not want to admit it was intentional, because then you are admitting in writing that there was a possible criminal offense committed by you.

By the way, it is not illegal for a teacher to speak harshly and be what you believe to be emotionally abusive to the children. If you have issues with that then your proper recourse would have been to go to the principle and you needed to report it to them to let them observe the conduct themselves.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Is this ok to write as a letter or do I need to admit audio recording in it?Extension of letter and back to work-- for better commitment to work. Taking it seriously, need some more tiem and still understand committment to working. I would like an extension and to returnI am writing this letter at the request of Elizabeth and Najah who suspended my employment two days ago. I understand that privacy and teamwork are important to the teachers at St. James’ have always acted in the best interest of the children. As we discussed, I had concerns with a team member and the way they were behaving toward the children so, for their sake, I hope you consider my concerns seriously.I will do my absolute best to uphold this in the future and promise to respect the privacy of all members of the St. James’ community.I have always been a leader in my communities and have tried to create change. I have now realized that even with the best of intentions, sometimes it’s better to just let things me.I was told I would not be terminated for this and only for my performance and I have never received any notices or warnings relating to my performance and to the contrary, parents and students have given me overwhelmingly positive feedback. Just this past Friday, a parent told me I was the “face of St. James’.” I continue to give my all to St. James’ in the homeroom, debate, student leadership, and science after school classes. Therefore, I look forward to completing the year before I depart for medical school.

Thank you for your reply.

You are an at will employee, so you need to follow the employer's instructions. You did fine, see suggested changes in bold.

Extension of letter and back to work-- for better commitment to work. Taking it seriously, need some more time and still understand commitment to working. I would like an extension and to return) - too arrogant sounding and needs to be removed, do not tell this to the employer.

I am writing this letter at the request of Elizabeth and Najah who suspended my employment two days ago. I understand that privacy and teamwork are important to the teachers at St. James’ have always acted in the best interest of the children. As we discussed, I had concerns with a team member and the way they were behaving toward the children so, for their sake, I hope you consider my concerns seriously.

I will do my absolute best to uphold this in the future and promise to respect the privacy of all members of the St. James’ community.

I have always been a leader in my communities and have tried to create change. I have now realized that even with the best of intentions, sometimes it’s better to just let things be
.
I would not have raised these concerns if it was not for the children and the fact that they are being inappropriately treated in the classroom.

I was told I would not be terminated for this and only for my performance and I have never received any notices or warnings relating to my performance and to the contrary, parents and students have given me overwhelmingly positive feedback. Just this past Friday, a parent told me I was the “face of St. James’.” I continue to give my all to St. James’ in the homeroom, debate, student leadership, and science after school classes. Therefore, I look forward to completing the year before I depart for medical school.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
My school asked for me to submit this letter as a hard copy in a sealed envelope. Will this be used as evidence against me?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Also, when I speak to the principal can I say I know the school has a history of forcing teachers out and I will not allow that to happen to me and if so, would not hesitate to take action?

Thank you for your reply.

Yes, they could use the letter against you and as written you are not really admitting to anything bad or wrong. Your letter is very generic/bland.

Also, realize you are an at will employee unless your contract states otherwise, so as an at will employee they can terminate you for no reason at all or for any reason other than your age/race/sex/disability/national origin or reporting some violation of law.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
If it is sealed, is this bad?

Thank you for your reply.

No, if it is sealed it is so nobody other than the principal can read it.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Do you think in my letter I should mention that I feel the Vice Principal is trying to push me out? Or is that irrelevant?Also, should I say "I have never and would never intentionally violate the privacy of a St. James’ teacher and would not have created an audio recording if I had known I was doing so" in my letter and directly mention the audio recording or should I take that part out?

Thank you for your reply.

You should not make any accusations you do not have evidence of. If you do not have actual evidence and you just believe that they are trying to do so, then do not mention it.

I would not add that last sentence, I would leave the letter as it is, because it avoids the specific recording issue which as I said could be a criminal offense.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Perfect-- thank you very much!

Thank you, ***** ***** not forget to click on the 5 stars at the top of your page.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 123,242
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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