If the board had its mind made up ahead of time, there may be a problem

Mr. Falash claims that he was wrongfully terminated by Inspire Academics, an online charter school. The board gave Mr. Falash a hearing, but Mr. Falash claims that his firing was a done deal beforehand, and thus the hearing was mere “window dressing.”   According to the federal court in Idaho, Mr. Falash may have a good case.

The issue here is procedural due process.  Mr. Falash had a property right in continued employment with Inspire, and thus, he was entitled to “due process” before that right could be taken from him. Inspire claimed in the lawsuit that it provided due process by giving him that hearing before the board. The problem, however, was that Inspire produced written documentation prior to the board hearing that spoke of his termination in the past tense.  Consider this:

Your termination was related to your performance and complaints received regarding your behavior.

Hmmm. That sure sounds like the guy is already gone. Key Quote:

…where a board of representatives has predetermined the outcome of a due process hearing, there may be a denial of due process.

A hearing does not comport with due process if it “is totally devoid of a meaningful opportunity to be heard” because the decision-makers have predetermined the outcome of the hearing.

The court held that there was enough evidence of predetermination that it could not simply toss the case out of court. Mr. Falash will have his day in court.

The case is Falash v. Inspire Academics, Inc. decided by the federal court in Idaho on September 12, 2016. We found it at 68 IDELR 163.


 File this one under: DUE PROCESS     LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT