If I’m a full-time contract teacher, what can I do if I’m not being giving my proper breaks?

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If I’m a full-time contract teacher, what can I do if I’m not being giving my proper breaks?

My contract states that I get 1 preparation period a day and a duty free lunch. Because there are not enough staff members at my school I only get 1 prep period and no duty free lunch, even though I am being compensated as if I had 2 preps and a duty free lunch. I have tried to resolve this issue with the administration at my school, the district and the teachers union. We have now been in school for almost 2 months. I enjoy my job and working with students. However, I am fed up with just donating my time because the administration at my school clearly doesn’t see me as a valuable asset to the school. Beyond working through the union would you recommend any further action?

Asked on October 7, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your other recourse would, potentially, be to sue for breach of contract a contract is enforceable and binding on all parties to it. While a union contract is generally enforced through the union, its representatives, and its attorneys, if they will not help you, you could most likely bring a legal action on your own to enforce it. And if this is not a union contract but a contract directly between you and the school, you could certainly bring your own action to enforce it.
However, that could be very expensive--you'd almost certainly need an attorney to do this correctly--and will engender ill will with the district. While they can't overly retaliate for you enforcing contractual rights, there are many ways that they could make your job less desirable. Therefore you need to decide if it is worthwhile going to such extreme steps.
 


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