Articles Posted in South Carolina Supreme Court

Appellants, who are current and former certified educators employed by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) in the Palmetto Unified School District (PUSD), collectively appealed the Administrative Law Court's (ALC's) order that affirmed the State Employee Grievance Committee's decision denying their grievances regarding the SCDC's Reduction-in-Force (RIF) implemented in 2003. On appeal, Appellants contended the ALC erred in failing to enforce: (1) the plain language of the RIF policy; (2) the controlling legislation applicable to the PUSD and the RIF policy; (3) Appellants' constitutional rights with respect to employment; and (4) Appellants' rights as "covered employees" with respect to the RIF policy. Based on these alleged errors, Appellants asserted they were entitled to reinstatement to employment as well as back pay and benefits. Because the RIF was deemed "procedurally correct," the Supreme Court concluded the ALC correctly affirmed the Committee's decision regarding the inclusion of the PUSD in the RIF. However the Court concluded that the SCDC violated statutory law in precluding Appellants from exercising their priority right to recall as to the positions vacated by retirees. Because the "Retirement Opportunity" offered by the SCDC required a fifteen-day break in service before rehiring, the Court found that "window" constituted a vacancy for which Appellants should have been offered the opportunity for employment. Accordingly, the Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded this case to the Committee to determine the appropriate relief. View "Bell v. SCDC" on Justia Law