On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Burlington County, Docket No. C-54-06.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Remanded by Supreme Court July 30, 2009
Before Judges Skillman, Gilroy and Simonelli.
This appeal is before us as a result of a July 30, 2009 order of the Supreme Court summarily remanding the case for reconsideration in light of Mount Holly Township Board of Education v. Mount Holly Township Education Association, 199 N.J. 319 (2009).
The case involves the discharge by plaintiff Medford Township Board of Education (Board) of defendant James Baptiste, an untenured custodian.
Baptiste had an individual employment contract covering the period from July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2006, under which the Board could terminate him at any time by giving fourteen days notice. The pertinent part of this employment contract stated:
It is hereby agreed by the parties hereto that this contract may at any time be terminated by either party giving to the other, in writing, fourteen (14) days notice of intent to terminate this contract.
Baptiste's employment relationship with the Board was also governed by a collectively negotiated agreement entered into between his union, defendant Medford Education Association (Association), and the Board. This agreement contained a provision prohibiting the discipline of any employee "without just cause" and subjecting any such employment action to the grievance procedures of the contract. The provision stated in pertinent part:
No employee recognized by this agreement shall be reprimanded, disciplined, reduced in rank or compensation, or deprived of any professional advantage without just cause.
. . . Any such action asserted by the Board, or any agency or representative thereof, shall be subject ...