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Court Rules Hartnell College Properly Issued Termination Notice

January 14th, 2006

A state court of appeals has ruled that a termination notice given to a Hartnell College instructor was properly issued by the college district's board of trustees.

The instructor, Lydia Hampton-Stewart, had maintained in her lawsuit that such a termination notice could not be given while the college was not in session, i.e., during the summer months.

In the ruling in favor of Hatnell, the appellate court reversed the state agency responsible for hearing dismissal cases (Office of Administrative Hearings) and the Monterey County Superior Court, both of which had ruled in favor of Hampton-Stewart.

The court, in its ruling, held:
"Since we have concluded that Hartnell properly instituted disciplinary proceedings against Stewart under (Education Code) Section 87666, we reverse the judgment."

Under the ruling, the college will not be required to pay attorney's fees to Hampton-Stewart, and will recover back pay ordered at the trial court level.

In other matters, the appellate court observed that it had been determined earlier by the trial court that Hartnell was not in contempt for failing to reinstate Hampton-Stewart to a position in the nursing department.

For more information, contact Tamberly Petrovich, Hartnell's director of human resources and equal employment opportunity, at (831) 755-6706.