In the case of Krites v. Wayne Cty. Career Ctr. Bd. of Edn., N.D.Ohio No. 5:21CV891 (Mar. 30, 2023), a federal district court held that an employee had neither a procedural nor substantive due process claim against a school board and its superintendent due to the employee’s long-term substitute license being voided by the Ohio Department of Education (“ODE”).
In this case, the employee argued that (1) the school board and its superintendent violated the employee’s procedural due process rights by arbitrarily and capriciously requesting that the ODE void the employee’s long-term substitute license without the employee’s consent and (2) the employee was deprived of a fundamental right to choose and pursue a career. In response, the school board and superintendent argued that (1) the long-term substitute license was voided by the ODE, not by either the school board or superintendent, to allow the employee to apply for the employee’s desired educational aide permit without an additional cost and (2) obtaining a government-issued employment license is not a fundamental right but, in any event, the employee moved from one position to another inside the school district and, along the way, obtained the credentials necessary to hold the position. The federal district court agreed with both the school board and superintendent.
In support of its decision in favor of the school board and superintendent on the procedural due process claim, the federal district court explained that, rather than alleging that the ODE’s license voiding process lacked the necessary notice and opportunity to be heard requirements, the employee instead asserted that the school board and superintendent — neither of whom even had the ability to void the license — caused the license to be voided. In other words, the employee’s dispute is with the ODE, not the school board and superintendent.
In support of its decision in favor of the school board and superintendent on the substantive due process claim, the federal district court explained that the U.S. Constitution does not contain a fundamental right to hold a government-issued license for a job and, moreover, R.C. 3319.31(B) provides that the ODE “may refuse to issue a license to an applicant; may limit a license it issues to an applicant; may suspend, revoke, or limit a license that has been issued to any person.” The federal district court further explained that the employee was also unable to establish the necessary deprivation of a protected liberty interest in this employment context as there was no evidence, in this case, of any stigmatizing governmental action which so negatively affected the employee’s reputation that it effectively foreclosed the employee’s opportunity to practice a chosen profession especially since, in this case, the employee was able to move to multiple positions within the school and obtain the credentials for each position.
To read this case, click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.