In an effort to provide similar employment protections to non-teaching school staff as teachers, two Assembly Democrats have sponsored a bipartisan bill that would allow these employees to participate in binding arbitration regarding any dispute over disciplinary actions. The legislation passed the full Assembly Monday, 65-7-0.
Under the bill (A-631/S-993), an employee would be permitted to request binding arbitration if they disagree with a school’s disciplinary action against them, such as being reprimanded, fired or having a contract terminated – among others. During arbitration, it would be the employer’s responsibility to provide proof of the necessity of their action.
Upon the bill’s passage, Assembly Democrat sponsors Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) issued the following joint statement:
“School employees who do not directly teach students are also essential to our public education system. Bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers and many other staff members make critical contributions to school functionality and help provide our children with a well-rounded educational experience. Yet despite their essential roles, they have not received the same protections as teachers. That’s why this bill will offer them the option of a neutral, third-party arbitrator to help determine whether any disciplinary action taken against them is fair and necessary. This is an equitable way to ensure employment protections.”
Republican Assemblyman Ronald Dancer is also a sponsor of the legislation. The bill will now head to the Governor.