New Jersey employment law provides many protections to employees. One of the strongest of these is the tenure rights afforded to public school teachers. Even with such strong protections, for many reasons employees sometimes decide to forgo these rights. The Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey recently addressed a question about what notice is required when a full-time teacher voluntarily moves to a part-time position before she will be deemed to have waived her tenure rights to a full-time position in the case of Parsells v. Board of Education of the Borough of Somerville.
Catherine Parsells was a tenured teacher with the Somerville, New Jersey, Board of Education. She began working there in 2010. In May 2016, a part-time teaching position with benefits became available. She applied so that she could spend more time with her young son, and her application was approved. Thereafter, Parsells went out on maternity leave on February 2, 2017. She advised the superintendent that she intended to return to the part-time job the following year; he advised that she could, but the job would no longer have benefits, and that if she wanted befits she would have to work in a full-time position. She continued part-time and later declined a new full-time position for family reasons. She extended her maternity leave to include the entire 2017-2018 school year.