Non-Teaching School Staff Can Settle Disputes Through Arbitration Under New Law

TRENTON, NJ -- Non-teaching employees of local, county, and regional school districts, as well as boards and commissions will now have the right to dispute disciplinary action through arbitration under a new law signed by Governor Phil Murphy.

School professionals who will benefit from this law includes head teachers, principals and other administrators of schools, supervisors, counselors, school psychologists, school health personnel, librarians or educational media specialists, curriculum developers, inspectors, education administrators, clerical personnel, building operations and maintenance staff, security personnel, transportation workers and catering staff.

The measure, which was sponsored by Senator Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), takes effect immediately.  

“The many non-teaching personnel employed in our schools are essential in our efforts to properly serve the needs of our students,” said Greenstein. “They influence the lives of our students in a multitude of ways and I am proud that these individuals now have the same rights afforded to them as their teacher colleagues.”

The new law affords a non-teaching employee the right to dispute any disciplinary action through litigation, which includes but is not limited to: the withholding of increments, termination, non-renewal expiration or lapse of an employment contract or term; and/or the lack of continuation of employment regardless of the reason for the employer’s actions or failures to act regardless of any contractual, or negotiated provision or lack thereof.

“These are individuals who impact the development of our student population regularly, yet have been unable to defend themselves through litigation unlike their counterparts,” said Singleton. “It is disrespectful and erroneous to deny an employee a standard right over a discrepancy in their title. This law rights this wrong and ensures that treating people with fairness isn’t just preached in our schools, but is exercised as well.”

The law also places the burden of proof in the course of the arbitration on the employer to justify the actions taken.

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