Legal Assistance

Occasionally a Department of Education employee is sued (for example, by a parent) because of something he or she allegedly did at work. When the New York City Corporation Counsel finds that the employee broke no rules or laws in carrying out their duties at work, it will provide legal representation to the employee and, if the employee is found financially liable, will reimburse the employee the amount he/she is required to pay.

In order to be entitled to this defense, the employee must provide to Corporation Counsel a copy of the summons, complaint, notice, demand or pleading within 10 days after the employee is served with any of these documents and then fully cooperate with Corporation Counsel in its defense. Corporation Counsel may refuse to provide representation until any disciplinary action is resolved and the employee has been exonerated. 

In addition, the UFT may provide UFT members with legal representation if a member is facing criminal charges as a result of disciplinary actions taken against a pupil while the member was doing his or her job. The member should immediately contact his or her district representative or UFT borough office for assistance in this situation.

At the same time that UFT members contact the DOE and Corporation Counsel, they should also get an application for the NYSUT Legal Defense Fund. Contact the office of the NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer by calling 800-342-9810 for the form. If a UFT member is fully exonerated of all charges, the fund may reimburse the member for up to $25,000 in legal fees.

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