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Pitfalls and Precautions: Misrepresenting a leave has consequences

February 5, 2019 Cory Schoffer, ATA Secretary to Professional Conduct Committees

Pitfalls and Precautions is a series that aims to educate teachers on professional conduct issues by highlighting situations addressed by the ATA Professional Conduct Committee.

Through their collective agreements, teachers across Alberta have access to a wide variety of leaves. Each individual collective agreement defines the procedures and processes by which teachers may access these leaves. While some leaves are granted through “shall grant” clauses, other leaves are available through “may grant” clauses. What a “may grant” leave means is that there is a possibility that the leave may be denied by the superintendent.

In a recent case before the Professional Conduct Committee, a teacher’s response to the denial of a “may grant” leave was the subject of a hearing. In this matter, a teacher was denied an unpaid leave by the superintendent. The teacher had requested a multiple-day leave to fulfill a coaching obligation at a major hockey tournament. When the dates of the original leave request arrived, the teacher accessed sick leave. When the superintendent showed up at the hockey tournament, the teacher was there coaching. The teacher was not sick.

The teacher was found guilty of unprofessional conduct and received an oral reprimand. The teacher had already made restitution to his employer.

Leaves of various sorts are available to teachers.

Read more Pitfalls and Precautions articles here.

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