The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of two teachers who were terminated without being afforded the due process of Loudermill hearings. ?Both teachers were fired for inadvertently allowing their teaching certificates to lapse.? ?Their termination notices stated the decision was final and without recourse.?? The teachers requested a hearing pursuant to RCW 28A.405.300 and .310, which prohibits termination of school officials in the absence of ?probable cause.?? ?The school rejected their request. ?The Court held that the RCW created a property right in continued public employment for the teachers and so the teachers were entitled to a genuine pre-termination hearing allowing them to explain what the Court described as seemingly valid justifications for the lapses of their certificates.? ?Quoting the U.S. Supreme Court?s decision in Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532 (1985), the Court of Appeals? ?noted? ?that? ?the? ?teachers? ?had?????? a ?significant private interest in retaining their public employment. ??While a fired worker may find employment elsewhere, doing so will take some time and is likely to be burdened by the questionable circumstances under which he left his previous job.?? ?The pre-termination hearing is ?an initial check against mistaken decisions.? The Court also rejected the district?s argument that it was entitled to have the teachers repay the wages they earned while working without their certificates noting that it ?received valuable services? and the teachers were entitled to quantum meruit.?? The matter was remanded for the school to hold the due process hearings. Giedra v. Mt. Adams School Dist. No. 209, No. 23349-9-III (04/14/05; Brown, Sweeney, Kato).
Teachers are Entitled to Loudermill Hearing When Certificates Lapse
Apr 14, 2005