U.S. Appeals Court Rules for Tenure Rights

by E Wayne Ross on February 23, 2009

Inside Higher Ed: U.S. Appeals Court Rules for Tenure Rights
February 20, 2009

A federal appeals court on Thursday restored the right of a formerly tenured faculty member in Puerto Rico to sue for damages in what he argues is a case of unfair dismissal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that a lower court had unfairly applied an unusual law in Puerto Rico in a way inconsistent both with the statute’s intent and with the appropriate rights of a tenured professor. The law sets strict limits on how much certain aggrieved employees can receive for an unlawful dismissal — and those levels are so low that faculty groups feared that applying the measure would make meaningful redress impossible for them. In the case at hand, the professor had worked 28 years, but couldn’t have obtained even a year’s pay as compensation for dismissal, and would have had no chance at getting his job back.