Illegally fire an employee – legally!
Nope. That isn’t a typo and you don’t have a reading problem. (I was going say you’re not dyslexic, but some civil liberty nut would probably want to file suit, claiming I’d defamed, demoralized, and dissed various members of our demographic population).
An issue Bob West pointed out a few days back regarding Dr. Mark Honea’s brief employment with PAISD reminded me of this well-kept administrative secret, how legally to get rid of a good employee you don’t like and at the same time, avoid a lawsuit.
Public schools, industry and business all use it. Public schools have successfully manipulated the secret as far back as – no – I was going to say as far back as we’ve had public schools, but that isn’t right.
Let’s go back to the ‘60s. That’s when bleeding hearts stepped in and started championing bizarre issues like the mythical three-toed salamander or the smelt minnow in California that has shut off water for the farmers.
Prior to the bleeding hearts, if a district didn’t want someone they simply fired him. There was an old joke around at the time concerning a West Texas teacher fired for “just cause.” When he asked what the “just cause” was, the old superintendent who’d been around for 40 years drawled, “Just cause.”
Fair? Well, not really, and from the ‘60s on those old “just causes” found themselves neck deep in lawsuits, but leave it to education to find a sly way out of the sticky situation.
Now, one sticky aspect of writing columns is when I talk about education, readers assume I’m speaking of my own district. No way!
I might not be real sharp, but I didn’t hit every branch on the stupid tree when I fell out of it. Why should I create problems? I have enough already. I never write about my district. Others? OK. But not my own.
A caveat here. This secret is not really taught as graduate course on a master’s in administration, but for something not to be taught, it enjoys considerable discussion and utilization among educational ranks even today.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a master’s candidate questioned how to get rid of a co-worker who was a thorn in his side. And just as often, I’ve heard the same answer, “load them down until they quit.”
Ingenious answer. They quit, and no lawsuit.
And from the workload dumped on Honea, it sounds like someone pulled that old technique from the shelf and dusted it off.
You see, administrators – directors; assistant principals; principals; assistant superintendents; and superintendents don’t like to be told how to do their jobs unless it is by their direct supervisor. When I read Bob’s column regarding Titans football Coach Harrison and AD Andre Boutte twisting Principal Lee’s wrists, lessons of Education 5432 came to mind.
I don’t know Principal Lee from Adam – err, I mean Eve.
But I’ve seen this same situation happen in districts all over the state.
More than 41 years, I’ve seen employees given multiple preparations; extra noon duties; extra after-school activities; no permanent room assignment; forced to work maintenance half a day; office at another campus across the district; and a dozen other humiliating assignments to encourage an employee to resign.
Lee is responsible for the campus. As far as I know, she is very professional in her decisions. Still, if it walks like a duck well, you know the rest.
I’m kinda like Mr. West. I’d like to see the spin they put on it.