Employment  Peititioner, a teacher in the district applied for accidental disability after she was struck by a car in a cross walk on her way to walk into the school where she taught. Despite having spoken to a student in the parking lot, it was determined that the employee had not yet arrived at work at the time of the accident and thus was not entitled to accidental disability.

1/3/2019, Anderson v. Board of Trustees TPAF

Court granted certification in an alleged breach of contract claim where Appellate Division affirmed trial grant of summary judgment in favor of former teachers who claimed an entitlement to accrued unused sick leave negotiated pursuant to a collective negotiations agreement between the board and the local union prior to their respective retirements. Teachers claimed that the successor agreement illegally divested them of vested rights to accrued unused sick leave. Appellate Division found that the trial court and not PERC had jurisdiction to determine the matter where teachers lacked standing to file individually before PERC, and that the matter did not involve a scope of negotiations determination. Appellate Division held, “[o]nce vested, the right to compensation is a form of deferred compensation that cannot retroactively be negotiated away.” Barila v. Cliffside Park Bd. of Educ., Dkt. No. C-419 (_____N.J.____ January 11, 2019) (slip op.) (2019 N.J. LEXIS 20). 236 N.J. 259.

Appellant appealed denial of unemployment benefits by Tribunal. Appellant was terminated from position in janitorial services company after his employer saw a photograph of him lying on a public memorial, in violation of the employer’s policies; Appellant then was on the list to be and was employed as a substitute teacher. In its February 21, 2019 decision, the Appellate Division affirmed the decisions of the Tribunal, finding, inter alia, that because Appellant was on a substitute teacher list, he has reasonable assurance of returning to work at an educational placement, and therefore was not wrongfully denied unemployment benefits.  2/21/2019: Dalnoky v Bd of Review

Appellate Division determined that submitting an application for a posted position fails to satisfy the notice requirement of CEPA. Application itself did not serve as notice of objection to alleged illegal activity by employer. Daniels v. High point Bd. of Educ., App. Div. 2019: Jan 11

In appeal of tenure arbitration award in favor of employee, Appellate Division determined that district failed to demonstrate arbitrator exceeded her authority when she determined that increment withholding, without a termination date, was too harsh a penalty and instead imposed a restoration of salary after one year. Arbitrator was within her authority to determine whether there was just cause to impose the specific penalty framed by the parties, and if not, impose some others remedy, once she determined teacher’s conduct was unbecoming. the fact that the questions framed by the parties did not include the word permanent did not limit the arbitrator’s authority to modify discipline.  Arbitrator has authority to determine the scope of the parties submissions in order to identify the issues to be arbitrated, limited by the questions framed by the parties. Trenton Bd. of Educ. v. Trenton Educ. Assn., App. Div. 2019: Jan. 28.

Defendant education association appealed order dismissing counterclaim confirming arbitration award and vacating award as demanded by plaintiff board of education. A teacher had received numerous warnings throughout the school year because of his conduct, but, after he modified his behavior, the tenure charges initially recommended were converted to a recommendation for a salary increment withholding – but there was no termination date for the withholding. The association filed a grievance regarding whether there was just cause for the withholding. The arbitrator found that there was just cause for discipline but limited the period of salary increment witholding. The award was vacated by the trial court. The Appellate Division reversed – because the question before the arbitrator was whether there was just cause for the discipline and not whether the board had the authority to impose the discipline, the arbitrator did not exceed her authority.  1/28/2019, Trenton Bd. of Ed. v Trenton Ed Assn.

Petition for certification denied. Pugliese v. Newark State-Op., Dkt, No. C-131; (_____N.J._____) (2019 N.J. LEXIS 21) (slip op.) (Jan. 11, 2019). Appellate Division previously dismissed tenure charges of inefficiency where teacher with standard instructional certificate with elementary endorsement was assigned to teach middle school social studies. Appellate Division reversed arbitrator decision that inefficiency was proven by the district where the teacher was not certified, authorized, qualified, or “highly qualified” to teach middle school social studies, and had no content knowledge in social studies; accordingly her assignment to that position was contrary to the law. As a matter of law, the District could not evaluate and terminate her for inefficiency in that position.

Students – Special Education  Appellate Division determined that six-year statute of limitations applies to special education settlements as a contract claim. Twenty-year statute of limitations for judgments does not apply. L.A. v. South Orange-Maplewoood Bd. of Educ., App. Div. 2019: Feb. 27.