Law Offices of Louis Spitters

Teachers win protracted court case over employment contract issue

Those who elect to devote their careers to education often invest a great deal of time and emotional energy in exchange for a set wage. While the vast majority of teachers strive to provide a quality education to their students, employment contract issues often take both a financial and motivational toll. Many California educators have found themselves caught up in these types of disputes with their local government officials.

Recently, one state's Supreme Court finally issued a ruling on a case that spent no less than seven years in litigation. At the heart of the matter was a stipulation in teachers' contracts -- and also applied to other school personnel -- that required a three percent contribution of their salaries to their retirement funds. The contribution was collected over a three-year period. At some point, unions and other education professionals challenged the requirement in the state's civil courts.

That legal challenge resulted in the retirement funds being placed in an escrow account where the amount has grown to an estimated $550 million. The Michigan Supreme Court recently decided that the amount is to be returned to teachers. A law passed in 2012 did not retroactively apply to this particular issue and the courts ruled that the money collected was not done so in line with the state's constitutional guidelines.

The governor aggressively fought to retain the funds, but in light of the court's decision, he assured the taxpayers that refunding the money will not impact the state's operating budget. The teachers' unions are elated with the decision and praised the perseverance of the parties involved. A California worker who believes that an employment contract violates his or her rights in any way is entitled to pursue relief. An experienced employment law professional may provide valuable assistance in resolving these matters.

Source:, "Michigan Supreme Court orders $550M returned to teachers in 3% lawsuit", Emily Lawler, Dec. 20, 2017

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