Teacher • Collective Bargaining Agreement • “Appropriate Offer of Reinstatement” • Furlough

Horvath v. Pittsburgh Public Schools, PICS Case No. 14-0016 (Pa. Commw. Jan. 8, 2014) Friedman, J. (10 pages).

Teacher, who continued in a substitute position and did not accept permanent position offered by school district, refused an “appropriate offer of reinstatement” under the collective bargaining agreement. Affirmed.

Horvath, a 10-year employee of the School District of Pittsburgh was furloughed from his teaching position. District offered, and Horvath accepted, a substitute position at another school. The permanent teacher was away on medical leave and told Horvath that he would not be returning.

One month later, district offered Horvath a permanent position at a different school. Horvath declined and continued in his substi-tute position. Pursuant to the parties’ collecting bargaining agreement, district placed Horvath at the bottom of the seniority list because he refused “an appropriate offer of reinstatement.”

At the end of the school year, Horvath was furloughed from his second position. District recalled teachers other than Horvath to fill job openings. Horvath requested a hearing before the Board of Education, claiming that his furlough was improper.

The Board of Education held that district’s offer of permanent employment was an “appropriate offer of reinstatement” and that by refusing the offer, Horvath extinguished his seniority rights for purposes of recall. The trial court affirmed.

On appeal, Horvath argued that he was not required to accept the permanent offer of employment because he was employed at the time and no longer on furlough. The Commonwealth Court affirmed. ‘

Horvath, furloughed from his first job, accepted a substitute position in another school. This position, regardless of what Horvath believed true, was temporary. When district offered Horvath a permanent position, Horvath declined. Therefore, because Horvath rejected an “appropriate offer of reinstatement,” district was not obligated to offer him further employment.