In an effort to provide similar employment protections to non-teaching school staff as teachers, two Assembly Democrats have sponsored a bipartisan bill to allow these employees to participate in binding arbitration regarding any dispute over disciplinary actions. The legislation was signed into law by the Governor Thursday.
Under the law (formerly bill A-631/S-993), an employee will 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 will be the employer’s responsibility to provide proof of the necessity of their action.
Upon the bill becoming law, 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 act will take effect immediately.