Frequently Asked Questions

Is the State Liability Coverage enough to protect me?

The state-provided liability insurance is NOT enough to protect teachers in the classroom. Membership with PEN of Florida provides teachers with liability insurance and other important benefits such as employee rights protection that go far beyond the liability insurance provided by the state. Furthermore, should you find yourself in a legal situation the state’s policy would cover, you would be expected to find your own attorney and consultations would be minimal. 

How much will the liability insurance cover if I am sued?

Up to $2 Million.

How can PEN's dues be so low? Don't you get what you pay for?

  • PEN of Florida doesn’t endorse or financially contribute to politicians or political campaigns.

  • No part of PEN of Florida’s dues are forwarded to any national or out-of-state organization.

  • PEN of Florida doesn’t make contributions to organizations to promote social issues.

  • PEN of Florida doesn’t pay staff to make political calls or pay printing or postage for political campaign literature for politicians.

  • PEN of Florida maintains staff salaries that are in line with industry standards.

  • PEN of Florida has many educators who volunteer their time to serve the organization.

  • All of PEN of Florida’s Board of Director members are volunteers, assisting PEN of Florida by providing many services pro-bono.

  • PEN of Florida is financially responsible, maintaining a low administrative overhead.

Do you provide legal help to enforce the contract as it applies to Florida teachers?

Yes. We defend our members against any violation of the local collective bargaining contract and all state education laws. Florida is a right to work state and therefore the contract covers all employees regardless of union membership. PEN provides the following legal protections to members at no additional cost: contract enforcement, certification problems or questions, reduction in force or layoffs, suspension (with/without pay), letters of reprimand, evaluations, student discipline issues, parent or student complaints, professional practices cases, transfers, harassment, surplus, and health and safety issues.

How is that done? Does PEN have lawyers on staff?

Yes, and your defense will be handled by the type of attorney that fits the nature of the issue (i.e. education, criminal charges, labor, etc.). 

What do I do if I have a legal issue?

The most important thing to do is to IMMEDIATELY email [email protected], or call our office (800-311-7770). Our legal team will assist you within one business day. Even if you are not sure whether your situation is one that needs PEN’s services, still contact us right away. In the meantime, do not talk about your situation with anyone or on social media, unless it is to cooperate with your administration on the issue. You will receive support and direction from our legal team as to how to proceed.

Will these legal protections cost me anything out of pocket?

No. PEN members are provided, at no additional cost, with up to $10,000 in legal defense fees. Since 1995, we have defended hundreds of members, and it has never gone over the $10,000 limit—and have rarely come close.

How can PEN help members if there is not a PEN school representative at every school? 

  • When there is a legal issue, it is best to directly consult a licensed education attorney to get credible legal advice from the beginning. As a PEN member, you have access to our legal team from the onset of any employment issue.

  • Some organizations have you discuss your situation with a colleague known as a building rep or steward. In such a situation, you are not assured confidentially because attorney-client privilege will not apply to conversation with that individual.

  • When a meeting is scheduled that could lead to disciplinary action being taken against you, an attorney will be available to be present at the meeting.

  • Don’t confuse the difference between moral support and quality legal representation!

Can I still file a grievance if I am a PEN member?

Yes. PEN attorneys will assist and represent you in this action.

Is PEN involved with collective bargaining?

No, PEN is not a labor union, so we do not participate in collective bargaining. 

How can PEN of Florida really represent me if they are not the collective bargaining agent?

  • Florida is a “right to work” state, meaning that all educators in the bargaining unit work under the provisions in the collective bargaining contract regardless of union membership.

  • All educators have the equal right to legal representation regardless of union membership.

  • Most of the employment rights and privileges are granted to educators by the Florida State Statutes, not because of collective bargaining.

How does PEN advocate for its members and education?

  • PEN of Florida members are served by active, registered lobbyists.

  • PEN of Florida gives regular updates from the Capitol during the Legislative session.

  • PEN of Florida members are provided with the tools to become involved legislatively. 

  • PEN of Florida officers and lobbyists follow the course of legislation from the committee level to the Governor’s level.

I have been told that PEN is a Christian/Republican group.  Is this true?

  • PEN of Florida is a non-partisan and is not affiliated with any political or religious organization.

  • PEN of Florida members and Board of Directors are made up of people from all political parties and views.

  • Anyone can belong to PEN without being offended by an agenda of politics or social issues.