Can probation be extended for maternity leave?

Yes. While teacher probation can be extended voluntarily by the signing of a waiver the statute permits school districts to extend probation for periods of time that the probationer was not in attendance. Maura Ann Brown was nearing the end of her probationary term when she went on maternity leave. The school district recalculated her probationary term to take into account her absence however, they calculated the number of days her probation was extended by the weeks she was on maternity leave as opposed to the school days she missed. The Court found that any adjustment must be made on the basis of actual days missed.

 In the Matter of the Application of Maura Ann Brown, Petitioner, against Board of Education of the Mahopac Central School District and THOMAS MANKO, SUPERINTENDENT, Respondents, 523-2011,  SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, PUTNAM COUNTY, 2011 NY Slip Op 21182; 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2406, May 24, 2011, Decided

Will failure to file a specific notice of claim defeat a school secretary’s workplace condition complaint?

Yes. Lynne Schnell, a school secretary at Aviation High School and her son, brought an action in Queens Supreme Court for working conditions against the City, school administrators and the Chapter Leader.

Schnell complained that her workspace had no windows, ventilation or adequate air and had reached a temperature of 120° F. She complained to the school’s administration, the UFT, the Department of Health and the DOE component of the Public Employee Safety and Health Board to no avail.

During the last two weeks of June 2006 she came to school seeking relocation and upon not being relocated she left. An S rating was changed to a U rating for excessive absences. Her claimed injuries included intentional infliction of emotional distress and the development of a  staph  infection.   Schnell  also  alleged  that  the  Chapter  Leader  “came  into her room [, room] 149F, blocked the door and proceeded to scream and curse at her and throw a chair at her for complaining.”

A 3020-a proceeding was brought against Schnell and was settled with a stipulation in which she agreed to withdraw all of her claims against the DOE except for a claim involving whistleblowing. This last claim was not included on her notice of claim.

Leaving the remaining claim off of her notice of claim proved fatal to her lawsuit and Justice Kevin J. Kerrigan summarily dismissed her claim.

Lynne Schnell and Luke Serkanic, Plaintiff, – against – The City of New York, New York City Department of Education, Ralph Santiago, Eileen Taylor, Joyce Seiden, Dino Charlalambous, Jerry Frohnhoefer, Soraya Cuervo-Digiorgio, and Mary Vigoa, Defendants, SUPREME COURT OF NEW YORK, QUEENS COUNTY, 2011 NY Slip Op 31220U; 2011 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 2168, April 11, 2011