Penalties for Schools that Breach Contract

International Schools have long been known to breach teachers’ Contracts with no consequences for having done such. Fact is, it’s teachers who suffer should they stand up for what was promised, yet not received.

Schools located in countries with “loose” labor laws are well aware their Contracts  are minimally enforceable in their home land, if at all.  Offering you the “moon” at a Recruiting Fair, even in writing, is no guarantee.

Schools that withhold salaries, switch Contract terms, substitute poor housing for that promised, fail to reimburse travel and/or shipping allowances, renege on health insurance and engage in other dishonest practices are schools in beach of Contract! Yet, there is no accountability.

The majority of educators have financial responsibilities that follow them overseas. Schools know this and can feel confident most of us will tolerate a major breach of Contract because it’s just not financially possible for us to walk out. We’re essentially trapped!

ISR proposes Recruiting Agencies initiate a Contract Review Department. Penalties for schools that breach their Contracts should result in reimbursement to teachers for all costs associated with attending a Recruiting Fair, flights home, shipping of personal items, and an additional substantial compensation paid to the now-unemployed educator. As it stands, teachers have been required to reimburse schools for recruiting costs, and much more, should they break Contract for any reason.

ISR strongly believes:  It’s time International Educators receive assurance Contracts will be honored, and compensation if they are not.

Consider contacting your favorite Recruiting Agency and posing this idea.

Let us know how it goes.

Comments? Scroll to participate

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Penalties for Schools that Breach Contract

  1. Absolutely these schools need to be held accountable. I was hired and signed a contract that would include reimbursement for flight, personal effects, visa reimbursement,ect. Normal contract. I arrived and found the school was obtaining illegal visas and upon learning this they sent an email telling me that I was fired. No support, locked me out of my apartment, personal effects and classroom
    Supplies I bought were never returned. They never paid me for my months work and reimbursements for flights. I was totally abandoned in China. The school was Shanghai Livingston American School. I was out thousands of dollars and out of a job! It turned out that the school wasn’t an accredited bussiness in the USA or had no ties to be American. Stay away from this school. What they did was unethical and inhumane.

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  2. I think we need to be naming the schools on here so we know which ones to avoid.

    ISR Admin: we ask that you not name schools in the public areas of the web site. Feel free to go to the home page at https://internationalschoolsreview.com and click the “send a review” link to post a review of a specific school.

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  3. Well I am now joining my eighth International School and can truthfully say that not one has honored what they promised.

    Only once in Egypt did 12 of us start legal action. Threat were issued to our lawyer and after 4 years in which they only argued about the translation of the contract we gave up.

    At the end of the day you have to make do with what is on offer and not let the bad guys grind you down…suffice to say I have only extended my contract in one IS (Cyprus) and they then proceeded to wait to the last day of the year to hand me a contract which was well short of what was promised…by then I had no choice but to sign.

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  4. The tough part will be having enough background for what the contracts mean in the actual country; there are way too many admin (and I have worked both sides) willing to negotiate unfairly in ethical terms with the law at their side– and many teachers are afraid to break contract and if they do- there is rarely a way to speak out that is publicized broadly enough. That being said, having visible contracts to level the paying field may be an idea- but could leave those small awesome schools with lesser perks at a disadvantage. How can contracts be transparent, equitable and somewhat uniform?
    Beyond that, teachers would almost need a specialist – union-type legal advisor per country- and often a school’s HR cannot (or will not) fill those shoes. Why not do it the university way- if a person breaks contract- let them have the chance to explain it (be it part of the recruitment fair cycle or not) and an employer can choose not to recommend and send directly to employee explanation or support in case the terms of the break up were simply the right thing to do.

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  5. This is all fair enough but do we also hold staff accountable when they break contract? This often leaves schools in a difficult position and as a Principal I also then need to think about the students who have been left without teachers! So if we hold schools to account which we should (and in China thee are strict employment laws that are enforced which do support the employee not the employer!) then we also need to hold employees to account and they should honour their contracts and not just walk or leave a school early because they have a better offer.
    With regards to exchange rates you need to check before you go to a school as to what the rate is they offer. Often if it sounds to good to be true then it is!
    Also at interview ask the school the right questions and check they are registered and do get official visas etc. All this takes time but the reputable schools do have the correct paperwork and do look after their staff.

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    1. Hi there. You make a fair point about employees also leaving schools in the lurch but your point about enforcement of laws in China is only true as far as it will be enforced. I have just experienced a breach of contract by my school However despite giving an international curriculum It is completely Chinese run and has significant guang xi with the powers that be. I know that should I take it further, it will be me who will take the hit. Lying is not an issue in the Chinese culture and it will simply be me blacklisted. So I am now back in my home country with no redress

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  6. Yes, indeed, someone or something needs to hold international schools accountable. When you have a legally binding contract in hand with a specific leadership position quoted on that contract, they should not be able to change that position when you arrive to the job. They should also not be able to change that position without any reason or protocol, for that matter. Just like any job, there should be some process or proof for the need to change someone’s contract. Otherwise, mad chaos may ensue with little to no morality or integrity in leadership.

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  7. I worked for a failing school in Beilun, China. I was fired after two years without just cause and without any written warning. I took the school to court and received 6 months salary.

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  8. I find it hard to imagine recruiters doing this, but perhaps they have a part to play. The ideal to my mind would be be an independent standards body and written codes of practice with respect to recruitment and the creation and management of teachers’ contracts. Non compliance would mean revocation of the school’s membership or certification, with a central registry teachers can check.The big school groups could take the lead on setting something this this up out of self-interest: as the first compliant schools they would be able to offer something extra to potential recruits. Other good schools would follow quickly, and the rest would be exposed for what they are. Maybe ISR could contact the management of a few of the larger, better known groups and see if there might be an opportunity to collaborate on something like this in your mutual interest?

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  9. This is why I also ask for the email of a few teachers so that I can establish some rapport and then get the lowdown before I sign a contract. I do this under the guise of wanting to know what life is like as a young single female teacher (safety, etc.). I usually ask for one teacher who is new that year, one who is renewing her contract, and one who is leaving. Usually the one leaving is the one I’m replacing. I recommend everyone do this!!!

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  10. I wish something can be done, but it is my recruiter, DiPont in China, that breached my contract! So the fox will not be trusted to watch over for the safety of the chickens. I guess it is buyer beware!

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  11. One of the worst agencies that I have dealt with is Teacher Horizons who sent several of us to a school that was unaccredited in Sudan (although we had been told that it was) with few resources and never ending problems. The principal was an abusive liar and inexperienced. Teacher Horizons only care about money not happy placements in schools they should have checked out.

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  12. I feel like the landscape is changing for all professionals working overseas. (Not just educators). As a salty exapt with contacts around the world I am hearing more and more how Govts change their regulations – seemingly overnight. This potentially impacts us at schools in these countries – banking, payrol, labour law or visa regulations etc. It’s tough out there folks and getting tougher. My motto is, and has always been; do my homework, keep my nose clean, don’t get caught in the undertow of drama and don’t burn bridges when exiting – that really at the end of the day is all that is within my control.

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    1. I had everything in writing and the Chinese authorities were not able to do anything. The school is corrupt and rather pay a fine than fulfilling a contract they broke. (In china)

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  13. I wonder if the International court in the Hague deals with labour law and contracts? As well, I wonder if the EU court also deals with EU related labour law for ex-pat teachers? I know many local labour ministries/departments cow-tow to school owners BUT there is ALWAYS an existing mechanism to file a complaint or legal action and if an abused teacher doesn’t do this, they are not doing their due diligence. Once the action is filed and rejected, you have ground to go higher up the food chain. review process done by rec
    I like the idea of a contract review process by rectruiters BUT they are not likely to bite the hand that feeds them…..

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  14. I completely agree with this. At my current school, my salary was quoted to me in dollars and a half was going to be paid in local currency. I was fine with this when I signed my contract. When I arrived, I found out the school paid 2000 pesos to the dollar while the current exchange rate was closer to 3000 pesos to the dollar. This impacted my salary and housing allowance which was quoted in dollars. It ended up being a $10,000 loss a year.

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    1. I know this can be devastating! I feel like if you sign to be paid X amount for the year in your currency you should have a differential to make up for it. It’s a game that is impossible to predict otherwise

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  15. What about schools that break an agreement regarding teaching assignment, and then penalize/sack a teacher at the end of the year for not being able to adequately teach a subject that she’d never agree to have on her timetable, wasn’t trained for and had never taught in her life? This happened in a nasty school in Egypt.

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  16. When I worked in Guatemala the school fired all the American staff at the last day of school breakfast. This particular school claimed they were an American school and paid no taxes in Guatemala. A little research showed I was entitle to unemployment in the USA. The school tried to clam I had quit but I had a letter from the school dismissing me. When it was discovered that school was lying the unemployment mad the school pay the unemployment to me. All of the other fired American teachers did the same. If a school pays taxes in the States you can collect unemployment if you can prove they cheated you out of your contract or fired you.

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  17. My contract was horribly breached by a private school in Yiwu, China. I found another job and demanded the breaching school reimburse me for various costs, including the cost of moving to Yiwu and the subsequent move to Nantong in another province. The school first denied my claim, but after standing for 20 minutes at the main desk telling the school’s potential new students how my school breached my contract, I was paid on the spot in cash.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yes this is great idea as many teachers who travel to these positions do not know of these practices. I purpose you make list of schools who do this often to teachers. I know this does not mean all schools in that country do it but if the local Labour Court does not help or assist to right this wrong then they are complicit in the actions. Many teachers simply leave a positions and run the the risk of being black listed by agencies who acted on behalf of the employers. Remember also who pays the agencies – The School so little support in most cases is forthcoming from them. I have had people who have been all over me like a rash at the interview/leaving stage who would not take a phone call after arriving at filthy accommodation etc.

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