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www.gae.org | 25 wrongfully terminate her after she complains, what are they going to try to do to a teacher since the Superintendent’s law firm is arguing that charter systems shouldn’t have to follow the Fair Dismissal Act? This is exactly what happens when accountability gets thrown out the window. Fair dismissal hearings don’t protect bad teachers, they protect good teachers from being falsely accused, retaliated against, and wrongfully terminated. The fact that this charter system is trying to do away with fair dismissal hearings, salary requirements, class size restrictions, and teacher certifications—spells out even more trouble in the attack on public education. We urge the community to contact your local elected officials and legislature to protect our educators and stop these wrongs from occurring.” CHAYKA BETTIS AND LESLIE HEIN VS. DEKALB SCHOOL DISTRICT The State Court of DeKalb County denied DeKalb Schools’ motion to dismiss our contract lawsuit against the school district.  The lawsuit alleges that the $750 liquidated damages clause in the teacher contract is intended to punish teachers and deter them from leaving the school system. In our case, the ODE/GAE members accepted a contract in early April for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. Had they not accepted the contract, they would have been without gainful employment for the following school year – even though the district had six more weeks to issue notice of non-renewal (May 15).  In accordance with state law, they submitted a written letter of resignation prior to June 1, 2014 and had replacements to take their teaching positions for the 2014-2015 school year.  Despite their best efforts to avoid inconvenience to the school district and the students, DeKalb threatened them with an ethics complaint with the Professional Standards Commission for job abandonment and deducted $750 from their final paychecks. We are contending the liquidated damages provision is an invalid penalty clause that should be not be enforced.  The Court’s ruling means the case will move forward to the discovery phase.  Chayka Bettis and Leslie Hein v. DeKalb School District, Civil Action No.: 14A5287756. NEED HELP? Contact GAE ASAP! Your GAE UniServ Director (UD) is trained to provide you with the assistance you need. Your UD can put you in contact with our attorneys — specialists in educator defense. Find contact info for your UD at www.gae.org Do you have a legal question for our resident expert? Email your question to Mike.McGonigle@ gae.org. Please include your name, contact information, and GAE membership number. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. For urgent matters, call GAE at 800-282-7142 or contact your GAE UniServ Director. The information provided is intended only as a general guide to employment rights of Georgia educators and is neither complete nor intended to provide legal advice on a particular problem. LIKE US ON FACEBOOK facebook.com/GeorgiaAssociationofEducators LEGAL


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