Legal Question in Education Law in California

My nephew was a tenured teacher in California for over 20 years. He went through many devastating and life changing events in a short period of time and he fell into depression. He began to use drugs. One day he went to work and he could not stay awake. He called for a substitute teacher to come and relieve him so he could go home immediately. When he left the school he got on the freeway and fell asleep at the wheel. Luckily he did not harm anyone else but he totaled his car and Highway Patrol came and arrested him. He tested positive for methamphetamine. Highway Patrol notified school district and he was put on administrative leave. He was eventually encouraged to sign a Resignation Agreement which said he would resign by his own choice and he would also drop his charge with EEOC against his school district and he would drop all possible charges, etc. for ever more. He was told by his union attorney that he would be fired if he did not sign it. He did and he lost his teaching credential. The same district offers drug rehab to anyone employed there (except teachers)who is caught using drugs or alcohol. Shouldn't he have been given the same opportunity (to go to a rehab)>? He went on his own to rehab and is doing well but he has lost his credential and having a hard time finding any work. Does he have a right to sue the district for not allowing him to go to rehab and for asking him to sign resignation agreement which takes away his rights to sue? also, should he have gotten a second opinion rather than just listening to his union attorney who did a poor job representing him. Union attorney told him he better sign or the district would just fire him and I don't think that was good advice. Wouldn't it have been wiser for him to have hired a private (rather than union)employment attorney? Can he do anything about this now....after the fact?

Asked on 8/17/14, 8:37 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Andrew Harrell W. Andrew Harrell, Attorney at Law

Give us a call. This is too detailed a question to answer. E.g., from your question it implies that your nephew had a worse outcome by resigning versus fighting and getting fired. If so, then the lawyer is liable for malpractice. Another important piece of information absent from your question is when all of this occurred.

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Answered on 8/17/14, 9:46 pm

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