Court Affirms California Education Code Due Process Rights for Community College Faculty Members

The California Court of Appeal has affirmed that faculty due process rights set forth in the Education Code cannot be waived, even by a faculty member who is accused of misconduct and agrees to settle the charges by waiving the right to a hearing.  In <a href="/sites/default/files/Farahani v San Diego Comm Coll Dist.pdf">Farahani v. San Diego Community College District</a>, a faculty member had been accused of sexual harassment.  The district offered to settle the charges with him if he agreed to waive a hearing should he be charged with an offense in the future.  The faculty member signed the agreement. When additional charges surfaced, the District sought to enforce the agreement and purported to dismiss the instructor without nay hearing.  The faculty member objected, claimed he had signed the agreement under duress, and in any event, contended that the agreement violated section 87485 which states that “any contract . . . made by any employee to waive” due process protections of the Education Code, “is null and void.”  The faculty member won a writ of mandate in the trial court that ordered his reinstatement.  The Court of Appeal affirmed.  Community college faculty should know their rights under Section 87485 and related provisions of law.  The court’s full opinion is attached for easy reference.