Basic Employment Law Review
NC Association of Community College TrusteesApril 9, 2015
Employment CategoriesAuthority to Hire EmployeesTerm of Employment (Contract v. At-Will)Dismissing Employees
There are two basic employment categories:1. Full-Time or Part-TimeA. Full-Time – employed for a minimum of nine (9) months per year and works a minimum of thirty (30) hours per week. Full-time employees are entitled to benefits (i.e., insurance, leave, etc.)B. Part-Time – employed for less than thirty (30) hours per week or less than nine (9) months per year. With the exception of an offer of health insurance in certain situations to comply with the Affordable Care Act, part-time employees are not entitled to benefits.
2.Exempt or Non-Exempt (Fair Labor Standards Act "FLSA")A.Exempt – employees engaged in executive, administrative, managerial and instructional faculty work; are exempt from the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA.B.Non-Exempt – employees engaged in technical, paraprofessional, secretarial, clerical and skilled craft work; are subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA.
Authority to Hire Employee
1. President – hired by the Board of Trustees G.S. 115D-20(1)2. All other Personnel – hired by the President3. President may "authorize certain administrators to employ part-time instructors or other personnel for temporary duties.”
Terms of Employment
There are twoemployment terms
A. All full-time employees (exempt and non-exempt) receive annual employment contracts.N.C. Session Law 2001-424 § 30.6 states "… the State Board of Community Colleges shall require community colleges to convert allfaculty contractsto nine-month contracts covering the fall and spring semesters.Faculty memberscurrently employed for more than nine months shall be placed on supplemental contracts for the summer term." (Emphasis Added)Question: Can you have multi-year contracts for full-time non-faculty employees?
B. All part-time instructional employees have contracts consistent with their courses.C. All newly hired full-time employees serve an initial probationary period of three (3) months where they may be dismissed with or without cause (except the reason(s) for dismissal may not be arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory or for personal or political reasons).D. No tenure track for community college employees. 1982 N.C. Attorney General Opinion ("[b]utsimple power to employ, in the opinion of this Office, does not include the power to establish a system of tenure. That power does not exist by implication.")
A. The only employees who are "at will" are part-time, non-instructional employees.B. This is consistent with other, local community colleges:Isothermal CC: part-time faculty and staff are "at will"Southwestern CC: all part-time College personnel are "at will"A-B Tech CC: all part-time personnel are "at will"C. Could all employees (i.e., full-time and part-time) be employed "at will"?
1. Non-Renewal of Contract2. Dismissing during the Contract Period3. At-Will4. Reduction-In-Force
1. Non-Renewal of Contract (Blue Ridge CC Policies)A. President notifies employee no later than sixty (60) days prior to expiration of intent to non-renew the contract.B. The employee can appeal (with the appeal ultimately coming to the Board for final review)C. Policy contains the procedural due process steps provided to the employee.
2. Dismissing during the Contract PeriodA. President has authority to take disciplinary action and dismiss employees.B. Reasons the President can dismiss an employee is outlined in PolicyC. Employee can appeal President’s decision to the Board (which had been delegated to the Board’s Executive Committee).Comment on the Board’s role in employee (and student) hearings.
3. At-WillA. At-will employees have no expectation of future employment and have no property right (i.e., no contract).B. May be dismissed with or without cause (except the reason(s) for dismissal may not be arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory or for personal or political reasons).C. Should follow due process policy and Board should consider granting a discretionary hearing if the employee raises dismissal being based on impressible grounds.
4. Reduction-In-ForceA. This could apply to contractual and/or at-will employees (need to guard against an argument that the "at-will" employee was dismissed for impressible grounds).B. You RIF positions – not employees.C. Procedural process is outlined in Policy
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