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Home / Courts / Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Termination — Administrative – Exhaustion of Remedies

Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Termination — Administrative – Exhaustion of Remedies

James v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Board of Education (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-07-0737, 21 pp.) (Robert N. Hunter Jr., J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court. (W. Robert Bell, J.) N.C. App. Full-text opinion.

Holding: Even though petitioner basically skipped the hearing before the defendant-Board of Education (his counsel stayed only long enough to protest the timing of the hearing), petitioner nevertheless exhausted his administrative remedies by requesting the hearing and appealing the board’s subsequent decision to the superior court in accordance with G.S. § 115C-325(n).

We disagree with the superior court’s ruling that petitioner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. However, we uphold petitioner’s termination.

Although the Board held its hearing outside the statutorily prescribed time period, the record reveals correspondence between the parties indicating their agreement to schedule the hearing outside the statutory period. The parties failed to reach a consensus regarding the date on which the hearing would be held. As G.S. § 115C-325(j1)(3) does not contemplate this precise situation, the Board’s decision to conduct the hearing on May 27, 2010 – approximately two weeks later than petitioner’s proposed dates – was not unreasonable in light of the parties’ inability to set a date. Even if the Board erred in conducting the hearing outside the statutory period, petitioner has failed to show he was prejudiced by the delay.

When the Board rejected the case manager’s findings that it deemed insufficiently supported by the evidence, the Board appropriately replaced such findings. The Board’s actions were sufficient to comply with G.S. § 115C-325(j2)(7).

Finally, the evidence indicates that, in reaching its decision, the Board reviewed the record as required by G.S. § 115C-325.



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