1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Case of possible retaliation. What are the options?

Discussion in 'Employment, Labor, Work Issues' started by MacawMan426, May 16, 2019 at 1:08 AM.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MacawMan426

    MacawMan426 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    Texas
    I am a substitute teacher in the state of Texas.

    A couple months ago, one of the schools at the top of my list that I had a great relationship with everyone had received a bogus complaint from a student that I was making sexually explicit remarks during my lesson to the students. The Assistant Principal said he was going to investigate, and to temporarily not accept jobs for a few days while he looked into it.

    He never got back to me up to three weeks later, the district never contacted me, and I was still getting jobs at other schools as if nothing had happened. I sent an e-mail saying that based on the non-response, I was assuming everything was clear and I would return to the school starting at the end of the week to give them a chance to reply if they had any further investigating to do. The only response I received back was that they felt it was in the best interest not to return based on reports of my using inappropriate language around students, and there was no indication of the result of the investigation, and I replied asking if he could at least tell me what they concluded, and got nothing.

    I gave it three weeks to cool off as emotions were running high and I didn't want to do anything to make it worse, and thought about just letting it go as some people suggested since I wasn't fired or written up. However, I was still seeing jobs from the school and able to accept them theoretically, because while in most school districts, the administration can simply remove the check next to an employee so they don't see jobs, this school district requires paperwork submitted, and a discussion among the HR department before they can officially ban me from working at their campus, of which they didn't do.

    I sent an e-mail to the human resources for substitutes associate, and reported them as unethical as they left me hanging for over seven weeks now when I have jobs on the line in the future if such an accusation was pushed further, and they also had no right to remove me from their campus if they weren't at least willing to submit the required paperwork to do so. I just wanted to return to the school to work because of my good relationships with teachers and students there, and wouldn't retaliate due to their defamation and mishandling the investigation and put it behind us if they would do so.

    I got a call the next day saying it was the first she heard about any of this, they were supposed to contact the district regarding any serious accusations, and the AP's response was that the paperwork was sitting on the desk still and he forgot to get to it, and then he sent the paperwork (or the write-up) of which they gave me my chance of rebuttal, and she told me they would investigate on behalf of the district and also get the campus administrator involved to find out what happened.

    A week later, I received a phone call from her saying they investigated the incident more thoroughly, and found the results inconclusive, and no students or the other adult in the room had heard me make any such remarks. She said the district decided the campus had no reason to block me from working with them anymore, and effective immediately, I was allowed to accept assignments from them, and the principal was on board with me coming back. This was after I said if it helps, I would be willing to wait until next year to let this blow over, but I was reporting because I didn't appreciate them insinuating that this was in some way my fault, because I didn't do anything wrong. I was told the principal was okay with me going back, and would reach out to the rest of the team letting them know I'm able to return.

    This past week, thus far, I have accepted three assignments, and the school canceled all of them. Two of them the morning of when I was ready to head over to the school. The substitute coordinator didn't give a reason the first time but just a text that they were covered and didn't need me. This morning, she sent me a text saying that due to state testing going on this week, they were over-staffed with subs and didn't need me. I initially was thinking there could be some scheme going on, but let it go, because other teachers told me the reasoning seems legit as only certified teachers can administer the tests, and they are blacked out from getting subs, and they were only listed as vacancy teacher, not a name of a teacher and subject, meaning they put you where they need you.

    However, about four hours ago, I picked up another job, and talked with the teacher who was telling me material they are working on in class to give me a summary of what I would be helping the students with, and thirty minutes later, a system generated e-mail came in saying the job was canceled, the third time in a row.

    At another school in the district, I briefly explained the situation to their coordinator, and she said they will not be able to block me from their school on their own, and they have to do it through the district. The district gave their answer that they sided with me and wouldn't be turning that school off of my profile.

    So, before I e-mail the same person saying I suspect retaliation, I'm deciding whether or not to wait until next week to see if they are still doing the same thing, because honestly, I'm perfectly fine to keep taking more jobs there and make them keep coming up with excuses to cancel them, because testing is over tomorrow after school, and they cannot possibly use that reason starting Friday. The law seems to be more about whistle blowing though, in which to me it seems clear that mishandling an investigation and saying I can return when they didn't really mean it is a violation of some ethical principles, and I only reported it within the company, not to a help line or any kind of state agency, yet.

    I've saved all the e-mails showing the consecutive job cancellations and the texts so far, as if they are re-assigning my job duties or work in attempt to retaliate for reporting them to HR and getting the AP into trouble with the district, that is retaliation.

    I'm trying not to overplay my hand here though, because I don't want to text her saying in the event she hadn't heard, I was allowed to return as approved by the principal and HR manager, because if they really did have a legit reason to cancel the jobs, I don't want her to feel accused or insulted, and I don't want the school to think I'm out to get them with damages, as the only thing I wanted was to return to the school as a substitute as I felt I was entitled to given they had no reason to believe I wasn't able to perform the duties of the job.
     
  2. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    43
    You are never entitled to a substitute job even if you are approved to work there again by the district. At best, you can go back to HR and let them know you have been cancelled multiple times from that specific school. In our school district it is up to the individual school which substitutes they use from the county list. There is no requirement that they call anyone specifically or allow any specific person, even if available and wanting to be there, to substitute.

    While it is best business practice to investigate, sometimes it's just easier to get rid of the issue. But in the end even they said it was inconclusive which doesn't mean that you didn't do something wrong, just that they can't prove it one way or the other. You say only the district can mark you in the system as not working that school, but honestly in the end that school's administration can work around that and choose the substitute's they like best, especially if more respond than are needed. Just because you filed a complaint doesn't give you a step up over others.

    Unless you have union protection, there's not right to have a job and the AP can choose to take the easiest path since it was inconclusive. Now it might be against district policy. What policies they have for what you are considering retaliation, only they can tell you. I would suggest NOT sending an email to anyone but HR to ask what the next step should be.

    In the end, it's the end of the school year, I would move on to a different school and let this blow over for the summer.
     
  3. MacawMan426

    MacawMan426 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I said I was willing to let it blow over, but I was told by HR that the principal said I was welcome back. U I don't know why I was mislead then. The only reason they would be doing this is out of retaliation now as they don't have liability as I didn't do anything wrong. I am not sure what they mean by inconclusive, because nobody but one person reported they heard something everyone would have heard if it happened the way they said.

    The point is though, they said that I could come back, so I don't get why they are doing this.

    The thing is, if you want to get legal about it (which I hope we would), then you'd be saying any job that is of at-will employment would meet that same standard. I know I'm never "guaranteed" a job, but I'm still an employee of the district. However, if workplace retaliation is illegal, wouldn't it be unlawful for them to use their power for a reason that violates the law?

    They don't have any "liability" with me working with them, because they found no reason in their investigation to believe there was any wrong doing, and the decision came from the district, so they can't use that as their defense now as if they had any serious concerns, they are criminally negligent because they never reported them to anybody.

    I sent an e-mail to HR and got an out of office auto-reply. I didn't text or contact the school, because it's possible that I could be wrong, and maybe they really are just over-staffed as most teachers think that's legitimate, but I wanted to know how she thought it might be best to proceed if I should say anything, or just wait until next week. What bothers me is I said this wasn't really about going to that school again as much as it was about the principle of it all, the fact that they were insinuating that this was my fault somehow when I did nothing wrong. However, I've only been taking jobs there because I was told they apologized for mishandling the investigation and was welcomed back, so I don't know why they'd lie instead of just saying they aren't comfortable with me returning, so I'm hoping maybe it's just a coincidence and they really are overstaffed as they said.

    They are not seriously concerned as they never reported anything. The AP is in hot water for mishandling the investigation, and the school is now kind of on a watch list and probably is getting extra coaching over it. There's no reason they would say I was welcomed back and not really mean it unless a scheme is involved. However, I'll wait for them to get back to me at HR before I jump to a conclusion and seek any legal consultation.
     
  4. Zigner

    Zigner Active Member

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I don't believe that this is "retaliation", despite your conclusion that it is.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Keeping in mind that what you have described does not come even close to the definition of illegal retaliation, exactly what law do you believe is being violated here?

    That's an honest question - I can address your question better if I know what legal concept you are relying on.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  6. MacawMan426

    MacawMan426 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    As of now, I'm assuming most people are going to agree with the first answer as I understand when it comes to legal issues, you usually have to have that smoking gun, which I don't, but I was just thinking that even though I don't have to be given a job, nobody does for at-will, so I just feel moving me out assignments is a lousy way to handle this for them, and if they're keeping me out when I did nothing wrong just so they don't have to avoid more drama from whatever student there who is known to make false complaints or appease someone else, that's a very lousy character.

    As far as the question of retaliation is concerned, I reported them for unethical practices of mishandling their investigation and reporting to me their findings, which caused a lot of mental anguish as they left me hanging without knowing anything. I didn't do anything wrong, and have pretty much been exonerated as there's no way another adult in the room at the time they claimed it was as well as all students wouldn't have reported a comment like what I was accused of making.

    If I arranged with another teacher to work at that school, and they pull me from it because they are angry that I got them in trouble with the district, then that is a sign of retaliation in my view. They had a discussion with the principal, and there were no statements of any reports of me not fitting in with the school or them being concerned about me working there, and I was told verbally that I was welcome to return, so this is getting rather annoying. I am going to maybe just accept their reasoning that it was due to over staffed for testing and see if they give another reason next week or the following week before I press it more with the HR department.

    To me though, it seemed more like a whistle blowing retaliation if I had to call it anything.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 3:22 PM
  7. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    29,730
    Likes Received:
    3,847
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You could characterize their ALLEGED act anyway you choose, it still doesn't come close to a violation of any Texas law.

    Texas is an at will state, as regards employment, as are many other states, absent an express employment contract.

    Full time teachers, licensed by the state of Texas, do possess such employment contracts, as well as many have a contract by one the teacher's unions.

    Substitute teachers in Texas need not have college degrees, teaching certificate, and in some districts subs are only required to possess a high school diploma.

    You may THINK your caterwauling, hoohahing, and complaining is making difficulty for one of the schools admin; fact is you're only making trouble for yourself.

    Subs have no inherent right to employment, and that is buttressed by subs being paid a daily rate, absent any other benefits.

    Subs also receive no payments during school holidays, or the weeks long summer hiatus.

    If you make an enemy of one principal, you'll soon find you won't receive any assignments, at least in the district where my wife is a principal.

    Be smarter, shut yer yapper about this, keep yourself employed at that district (if that is your desire).

    Keep whining, keep kvetching, you'll soon hear crickets and grow cobwebs waiting for ANY assignment at ANY school.

    The choice is yours alone to make.
     
    hrforme likes this.
  8. MacawMan426

    MacawMan426 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I'm NOT making an enemy of the principal, or at least not trying to. I'm accepting jobs with that school because I was told I was allowed to. They've not asked me not to accept anymore assignments, but told me they had to cancel them because of circumstances regarding state testing. So, I'm really only doing what is in the rights of my employment.

    I haven't really got an answer though, because the answers seem to be coming back to being an "at-will" state. Texas law still has retaliation laws. An at-will employment state doesn't mean you can discriminate against people just because it's at-will.

    I'll just wait to see what I'm told by the human resources department before I go any further. I'm not going to choose a best answer though, because nobody gave an answer, but it just seems people are trying to attack my character, but I suppose people here might understand where I'm coming from if they have ever been falsely accused of anything.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Active Member

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    43
    On what protected basis do you feel that you are being discriminated against?
     
    hrforme likes this.
  10. MacawMan426

    MacawMan426 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1

    I took concerns I have to the district, they sided with me over the school, and it seems they're keeping me out without any justification over being angry over that. I also have autism, which I don't recall telling them about, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had suspected it and wanted to keep me out for that reason, as they might start having the stigmatic fears of Adam Lanza and others thinking that being autistic means I'm going to shoot up the school or something.

    I'm starting to think that there never was a complaint in the first place. What I'm thinking is they had some personal issue for some reason or another, and then made up a complaint and forged a student signature to make their case.



    However, people may get a bad vibe about me here, but that's just because I am very bad with social media, and my psychologist recommended years back for me not to use it unless necessary, because I have a habit of getting argumentative and throwing out controversial jabs, so I'm trying just to stick more to the facts.

    The answer I'm getting seems to be that because it is an at-will job, I cannot claim retaliation. Is that correct, and is that the law? Retaliation consists of demotion, termination, job-reassignment or cancellation, and it seems pretty clear it is retaliatory to me, but whether or not it is illegal retaliation I guess is another story.

    I don't have a problem with the principal as I never even met her. I'm just suspicious, as wouldn't it just be easier to tell the district they don't feel I'm a good fit for the school instead of going through all this trouble?

    What I'm going to find out from the HR department is was this the decision of the school or the front office, and who had rejected the APs request to keep me from the school, the principal or the district. That will give me a clue if it's retaliatory, because if the district is saying it was the principal who made the decision, then it just means all they need to do is verify it was communicated with everyone. As of now, they aren't going to be able to stop me from accepting jobs from their school without the district approval.

    I know that sounds crazy, but the fact that they would get such a complaint and leave it sitting on a desk without reporting it if they had serious concerns makes me think there never was a complaint at all.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 4:12 PM
  11. Zigner

    Zigner Active Member

    Messages:
    181
    Likes Received:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    43
    In other words, you have absolutely ZERO proof, or even indication that you are being illegally discriminated against.



    You can claim retaliation all you want, but nothing that you've said here even indicates retaliation.

    They don't have to tell you anything like that.
     
  12. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    43
    " I have a habit of getting argumentative and throwing out controversial jabs..."

    And this is why I suspect they don't really want you back.

    Not all retaliation is illegal. Generally you had to make a complaint that was protected and I am just not seeing the fact that you didn't like the way an investigation was or was not done as a protected complaint. What would be retaliation would be if they let you back into a classroom with the complaintant (right or wrongly done, that person is the one who is protected) and a 2nd possible incident occurs. In the end, educators often can't take that chance. I feel for you if a student complained falsely. Claiming no one else heard it isnt' proving someone innocent. There is still now liability there. Maybe not a lot but right now there might be a paper trail. By NOT reporting it to the district office, you might have gotten lucky that it didn't leave that one school. But now, if you make a jacka$$ of yourself with the whole district, you may find yourself NEVER getting called to substitute because all of this will be in your record. And no, so far I can't tell anything you have said or done that rises to the level that would be protected legally from retaliation.

    Now you are throwing in autism? But you never mentioned that in the first few rounds of your story. Honestly i HIGHLY doubt that is the reason. And the fact that now you are looking for a conspiracy? I highly suggest you go back and speak with your psychologist!

    That and tuck your head down, work hard and move on from this!
     
    justblue and army judge like this.
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    29,730
    Likes Received:
    3,847
    Trophy Points:
    113


    My wife is a principal in a Texas independent school district.

    She has been employed with that district for 39 years as a high school teacher, assistant principal, principal.

    I am an attorney, I own a law firm managed by my attorney daughter, a sitting Texas District Court Visiting Judge, adjunct law school professor, retired military judge, in essence I know what the heck I am typing.

    I don't volunteer my time on this site to get clicks, likes, or best answer.

    As a volunteer, I do this without the expectation, nor do I receive any financial compensation.

    I do it because I feel as if I can offer a person with a question an honest answer, or I can at least get someone to seek legal counsel from an attorney in their state.

    I'm one of the most prolific posters here, probably because I'm retired, other than when I serve as a visiting jurist in one of Texas' 254 counties for a few days each month.

    I also admire and respect this site's owner, and attempt to represent his brand to best of my ability.

    Many posters dislike answers received, rather than the issue they are here seeking an honest response about.

    It is the poster, NOT the responder that created the dilemma confronting the poster.

    I've said the same thing thousands of times to a prospective client or client sitting before me in my office.

    The principals in all Texas schools have the ultimate authority to manage that school and its occupants, and the power to make on the spot decisions.

    If you dislike the responses you've received (or the responses you believe you haven't received) take your beef to the area's elected school board members, or directly to the superintendent.

    In the meantime, ask yourself why you're getting the same (or similar responses).
     
    justblue, hrforme and Zigner like this.
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    29,730
    Likes Received:
    3,847
    Trophy Points:
    113


    The principal is the ultimate HIRING AUTHORITY at his or her school.

    My wife has banned many substitutes ever being allowed to come on her campus for any assignment.

    Her admin runs the substitute roster at her school, which has a 2900 daily student population.

    In essence, in Texas (probably many others states) the principal is the person with total responsibility for operating her/his campus, overseeing the education of students and educators (as well as staff), the security of the building and all persons therein (to include the day to day supervision ISD Police Officers stationed on each campus) by Texas law.

    In essence, a teacher can have anyone removed from the campus and never allowed back on by uttering a few words.
     
    justblue and hrforme like this.
  15. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I knew I'd read this story before.

    Case for defamation, mental anguish?

    BTW, not all or even most "retaliation" is against the law. You've posted nothing, in either thread, to suggest that any illegal retaliation occurred.
     
    hrforme, justblue and army judge like this.
  16. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

    Messages:
    29,730
    Likes Received:
    3,847
    Trophy Points:
    113


    macawman.png

    The internet is a great tool with so many other tools!!!

    restofthestory.png


    ========================================

    The above post is more than enough for the employing district to do what is necessary to PROTECT children who might come in contact with an unstable person!!!!!!

    Now the rest of the story is revealed.

    Once you have the full picture, you KNOW how to respond!

    Thank you @cbg thank you very much!
     
    justblue likes this.
  17. justblue

    justblue Active Member

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I am 99% sure that MacawMan posted this on another site.

    ETA: I should have waited to read the whole thread before posting. sigh...
     
  18. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    7,667
    Likes Received:
    924
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Blue, darlin', read my post #15
     
    justblue likes this.
  19. justblue

    justblue Active Member

    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    73
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I did...just not before posting :oops:. I edited my post.
     
  20. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    100
    Trophy Points:
    43
    "For years, I've tried to take situations such as these and use the approach of just letting it go and moving on, and I just can't do it. I get blood rushing to my head over what I can't control, I get angry, and when I can calm down, it'll usually be a short period of relief before the thoughts replay in my head over and over again that I've come close to killing myself several times over them. This isn't just me choosing to be a childish jerk."

    Please seek immediate psychological help. There is a very good reason this principal doesn't want you in his school and if the district gets wind of this type of statement, you probably won't be welcome in ANY school in the district.
     
    justblue likes this.

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.