A teacher received notification on May 20 that his probationary contract would be terminated at the end of the contract term. However, he did not file a grievance regarding that termination until Jan. 4. The district dismissed the grievance due to the fact that it was not timely filed. The district’s grievance policy states that “A grievance form must be filed not later than 10 days from the date the employee first knew, or with reasonable diligence, should have known of the decision or action giving rise to the complaint.”

The teacher appealed the denial of his grievance to the commissioner of education, arguing that although he knew that his contract would be terminated on May 20, he was not aware that the notice might be legally defective until later. Specifically, he alleged that the notice was given to him at the wrong location, but he was not aware that this was a problem at the time.

The commissioner denied the appeal, ruling that the triggering event for a timeline to run for filing a grievance is not when the employee learns that an action or decision might have violated the law, but when the action or decision occurred. In this case, the teacher knew that his probationary contract would be terminated on May 20, and if he wanted to file a grievance regarding that action, he needed to have done so within 10 days from receiving that notice.