That 15-day deadline for filing a grievance means business….

Mr. Holguin missed the deadline for filing a grievance by more than 11 years.  Whoops!  He submitted a resignation in March, 2006 after the superintendent confronted him about pornography on his work computer.  Mr. Holguin denied responsibility for this, and knew that there were others who had access to his computer.  But he chose not to press that argument at the time.  Confronted with the superintendent’s intention to seek his termination, he chose to resign.

Eleven years later Mr. Holguin came back to the school board with more explosive allegations: not only was he innocent, but the superintendent knew it.  He claimed that his resignation was coerced.

The Commissioner ruled against Mr. Holguin, without ever getting into the substance of the complaint. Did the superintendent knowingly pressure an employee to resign based on false information?  The commissioner does not say. What he does say is that Mr. Holguin could have, and should have, argued this point 11 years ago.  Key Quote:

Petitioner states on his complaint form that at the time the Superintendent confronted him, he knew he had not placed the pornography on the computer and he knew that others had access to his computer.  Based on Petitioner’s own rendition of the facts, he denied responsibility for the pornography but chose to resign rather than face a report to the authorities and termination.  This indicates that he unequivocally knew that the Superintendent was basing her decision on false information. And yet, he made no attempt to convince the Superintendent that she was mistaken or to ascertain facts to establish that the allegations against him were false. He could have spoken to the computer technician who tracked him down and contacted him eleven years later. He could have done any number of things in the exercise of reasonable diligence as required by the policy.  But he chose to resign. (Emphasis in the original).

That reference to “reasonable diligence” comes from District Policy DGBA(Local). It requires grievances to be filed “within fifteen days of the date the employee first knew or with reasonable diligence should have known, of the decision or action giving rise to the complaint or grievance.”  Mr. Holguin, according to the Commissioner, knew he was being falsely accused in March, 2006, and could have pressed the point at the time. Since he chose not to, his 2017 grievance was untimely.

The case is Holguin v. Mexia ISD, decided by Commissioner Morath on March 28, 2018.  It’s Docket No. 035-R10-08-2017.


Tomorrow: Can you sue under IDEA when you are a 504 student? Do you have to?