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What is Education Employment Law?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2018
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Education employment law is an area of employment law applied specifically to education professionals, including everyone from grammar school teachers to professors at institutions of higher education. This area of the law establishes rights and responsibilities for members of the teaching profession and their employers with the goal of regulating the workplace and providing consistent and clear guidelines for hiring and firing. Violations of education employment law can expose people to the risk of civil suits to recover damages.

This area of the law discusses allowable hiring practices when it comes to recruiting, interviewing, and selecting teachers for an educational institution. Schools must hire people in accordance with the qualification standards set by law and are allowed to request proof of qualifications as part of the hiring process. Issues like academic tenure are also covered, along with how to correctly and legally fire educators.

Education employment law provides job security for educators by barring employers from discriminating against them, while also setting standards so employers can release teachers who are not meeting the needs of their students or the institutions they work for. The extent of the law varies considerably between nations. In some countries, tough protections make it very difficult to fire people once they reach tenure, for example, encouraging academic freedom by barring firings for expressing opinions in the public forum. Other nations don't have such tight protections and educators must be careful while working to avoid upsetting their employers.

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As with other areas of employment law, education employment law covers topics like hours in the work week, provision of benefits, and related matters. The education field can present some legal challenges, as educators expect to be unemployed during breaks and in some cases are dependent on annually renewed contracts, introducing a note of uncertainty to their work. There may be requirements that full-time faculty members receive benefits to help cover their unemployed time in the summer months.

People can get basic information about education employment law from the human resources department of an administration office. Government agencies responsible for employment policy often publish posters to put up in the workplace for informational purposes, and there are also pamphlets available. Suspected violations can be reported to government agencies and staffers at those agencies can provide people with more information about their legal rights under the law. For people seeking employment in a different region or country, it's advisable to read up on the law ahead of time, as it may be different from the education employment laws they are used to.

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