Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What Does Tenure Mean In The Context Of Private Employment??


With respect to public employment, tenure is equated with permanent employment. It creates a property right and as a result, tenured employees cannot be disciplined without due process. But, what about private employment? Branham v. Thomas M. Cooley Law School, ____F.3d____(6th Cir. Aug. 6, 2012), address this exact issue in the context of a termination of a law professor at a private law school.

The court explains that tenure is NOT lifetime employment. Rather, it is a contractual right and its meaning is derived from the terms of the contract. As the court states:

As the district court noted, and as Branham concedes, “‘tenure’ [does not] mean[]
anything other than what [Branham’s] employment contract provides.” Further, under
Michigan law, “contracts for permanent employment are for an indefinite period of time
and are presumptively construed to provide employment at will.” Rowe v. Montgomery
Ward & Co., 473 N.W.2d 268, 271 (Mich. 1991). The term “tenure” is not defined in
Branham’s employment contract, but Branham contends that “tenure” means “lifetime
appointment” or “continuous employment.”

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Education Law, Employment Law | Permalink


Post a comment