Alabama teachers can’t sue for extra COVID duties, judge rules


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A federal judge ruled Tuesday against a group of Tuscaloosa County teachers who said they were denied due process when their hours were increased, without additional pay, during the COVID pandemic.

The judge said that while teachers’ workloads increased and changed when the school system moved to virtual learning in 2020, they still had the opportunity to resolve employment issues with the district. The judge also dismissed gender discrimination claims from two teachers who said the extra COVID-related duties had impacted their ability to care for their families.

“The plaintiffs have not alleged how they were affected in a way that male teachers were not,” Judge Annemarie Axon wrote.

The complaint was filed in October by four teachers.

“I am an educated, trained and experienced teacher, not a computer scientist or web designer,” wrote one of the plaintiffs, Rebecca Kennedy, in her complaint. “…While everyone, including teachers, must do their best during this pandemic, the burden of the pandemic should not and cannot be borne solely on the backs of already overworked and under-resourced educators. paid, especially when most of them are women, and most of them also have to be the primary caregivers of their children and other relatives.

“No credible argument can be made that the assignment of duties to teachers to instruct students, provide teaching resources, require the use of specific teaching methods, or determine appropriate compensation – which are the fundamental bases of the claims of the plaintiffs – somehow fall outside the formal jurisdiction of a school superintendent’s duties,” the school district‘s attorneys wrote in a response.


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