Count on MNEA for Legal Services
No one likes to think about the things that could go wrong in the course of one's employment.
As an educator, you perform your work in the best interests of students. You are conscientious and well-intentioned. When you learn of other educators caught up in legal battles, you often think, "It will never happen to me." But the truth is it can happen to anyone.
MNEA members go to work secure in the knowledge that their membership provides them with legal protection and a well-trained team of advocates working to safeguard their professional careers. It is protection today's educator can't afford to be without.
MNEA members can also count on assistance for personal legal matters through the Association's Attorney Referral Program. This program provides free consultations and discounted legal fees.
$4 Million liability protection
A $4 million educator employment liability (EEL) policy is the cornerstone of MNEA's professional protection plan. The coverage, automatic with membership, includes up to $4 million in damages and additional payment for legal fees for most civil and some criminal lawsuits arising out of job-related incidents while members are working. Details of the plan are explained in the EEL brochures listed on the members only website under Member Benefits/Legal Programs.
Defending your rights in court
Through the Unified Legal Services Program, MNEA defends member rights in court and files lawsuits on behalf of members.
In 1999-2000, MNEA spent $450,000 on the ULSP and related expenses. The largest portion went to defend members in termination, demotion, salary schedule placement, assignment/transfer and tenure-related cases. Issues of freedom of speech, child abuse and censorship were also among 250 cases funded by MNEA in 1999-2000.
MNEA vigorously defends every member's right to due process. Laws and school-board policies spell out procedures to be followed in termination proceedings. MNEA challenges school districts that violate these procedures or act capriciously.
When a member's case goes to the federal courts, MNEA turns to the National Education Association and its DuShane Fund for assistance.
Check out these unique coverages
Every probationary teacher who is non-renewed will receive a legal evaluation with an attorney.
Members who have Children's Division (formerly Division of Family Services) complaints filed against them are entitled to legal advice/representation.
Members who are subpoenaed to appear in court or administrative hearings related to what they might know or have seen in their jobs as teachers are entitled to legal advice prior to testimony.
Professional staff assistance
Although the EEL policy offers valuable liability coverage, educators often need help with other job-protection matters. UniServ directors, MNEA's field staff, are the front-line defense team for Association members. Full-time trained professionals, UniServ directors are available 12 months a year to assist individual members and local associations in dealing with a wide range of problems.
Located in regional offices around the state, professionals are just a phone call away. Members are encouraged to call them at the first hint of trouble as many situations can be resolved informally in the early stages.
There is no charge to members for UniServ assistance. It is another important benefit of Association membership.
Answering your personal legal needs
In today's complex and litigious society, having legal help for employment-related matters simply isn't enough. At one time or another, members often need legal counsel on personal matters. That's why NEA created the Attorney Referral Program. This unique service gives every member access to affordable personal legal advice.
The program provides two free 30-minute consultations during each membership year, plus fees discounted 30 percent in five areas: wills and estates, real estate, domestic relations, consumer protection and traffic violations.
MNEA checks each attorney's credentials to ensure that only qualified and competent attorneys join the referral network.