Thursday, July 27, 2017

Catholic School Teacher Stripped of Tenure May Sue

In Mis v. Fairfield College Preparatory School, 2017 Conn. Super. LEXIS 3741 (CT Super., June 20, 2017), a Connecticut trial court refused to dismiss a suit by a tenured teacher at a Jesuit prep school whose employment was terminated by the president of the school. The president insisted that teacher Jason Mis engaged in "moral misconduct" when he took an unauthorized ride in a golf cart at a country club during a fundraising fashion show for the school.  Mis requested a committee hearing on his dismissal, as provided for in the school's handbook.  The hearing committee concluded that Mis had not engaged in moral misconduct, and that termination of his tenure was not supported.  Nevertheless the school terminated Mis, who then sued for breach of contract and defamation.  The court rejected the school's attempt to raise the ministerial exception as a bar to jurisdiction.  It went on to hold that the suit may be adjudicated using neutral principles of law without deciding between competing definitions of moral misconduct.