The Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology allegedly reduced teachers’ lunch period by as much as 15 minutes in some cases during the 2019-20 school year, according to a lawsuit filed in the New Jersey Superior Court.
Teachers and other staff are entitled to a 45-minute lunch break under a collective bargaining agreement, says the lawsuit filed by the Paterson Charter Education Association on August 21.
But beginning on August 26, 2019, the charter school adopted a schedule for the 7-12 grades campus that did not provide the 45-minute duty-free lunch period. For example, on Mondays, there were two lunch periods 11:02 a.m. to 11:32 a.m. and 11:35 a.m. to 12:05 p.m., says the lawsuit.
“Based on the Monday schedule, teaching staff members were allotted only a 30-minute duty-free lunch period on Mondays during the 2019-20 school year,” wrote William Hannan, attorney for the Paterson Charter Education Association, in the lawsuit.
On Tuesday through Friday, teachers were given a 40-minute lunch period. Teachers also did not get the 45-minute lunch period during early dismissal days, says the lawsuit.
Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology has denied the allegations made by the union on Wednesday.
“The school is aware of the allegation and disagrees with it,” said Riza Gurcanli, lead person at the Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology. “All teachers are provided 45 minutes lunch breaks inline with their contract.”
The labor union filed grievances with both the lead person and the board of trustees last fall, but both rejected the allegations.
The Paterson Charter School for Science and Technology has three campuses in Paterson. The lawsuit covers the high school campus on West Railway Avenue.
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