Tennessee Courts Get A Look At What Human Rights Bureaucrats Can Do

[Daily Times] Following an investigation into the complaint, Dr. Jane Morton — the school board’s human rights officer and complaint manager — sent Bailey a copy of an additional e-mail exchange that had allegedly transpired between Bailey and another teacher. These e-mails included comments by Bailey pertaining to sexual matters, and the school board deemed these comments inappropriate.

A Jan. 9, 2007, hearing concerning Bailey’s termination was held before a personnel hearing officer. Bailey chose not to attend this hearing and his attorney, Kevin Shepherd, appeared on his behalf, cross-examined witnesses and argued in his favor. The personnel hearing officer advised Bailey in a Jan. 18, 2007. letter that his termination would be upheld.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled on Aug. 27 that Bailey was entitled to a hearing before his dismissal. “By dismissing Mr. Bailey from employment before affording him the right to a hearing, the Board acted in clear and blatant derogation of the plain language of the statute,” said the ruling, written by Judge Sharon G. Lee. 

His termination was “somewhat like calling ‘timber’ after the tree has already hit the ground,” the opinion said.

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