Legal

 

Legal benefits overview 

The PEN Protection Program consists of the Educators Professional Liability Insurance Policy, Employment Rights Defense, Criminal Action Defense, Credential and Certification Action Defense.  PEN members benefit from successful resolution of their legal situations because PEN’s legal advice and attorneys are just a toll-free telephone call or email away (800 311 7770).

PEN  works in a positive, professional and confidential manner on legal issues, without fanfare or publicity. Our members tell us they appreciate the attorney-client confidentially privilege and don’t have to have a colleague represent them or know all the details of their employment issue. We believe that this is the best way to resolve sensitive legal matters involving our members.  

The PEN Member Legal Services Department team will provide eligible members with quick, confidential assistance with employment-related legal concerns and questions.

Highlights of the insurance policy include: 

The PEN Member Legal Services Department  team will provide eligible members with quick, confidential assistance with employment-related legal concerns and questions.

  • Professional Liability Protection, which protects your personal assets in the event of a lawsuit. 

  • Employment Rights Defense Protection, which will provide an attorney to defend you if your employment rights are violated.

  • Certification/Credentials Protection which will provide an attorney to defend you when Professional Practices Services is investigating you for an alleged claim

  • Criminal Charges Representation which will defend you against criminal charges arising out of the scope of your employment if you are found not guilty.

Our policies cover you for activities performed in your professional capacity, i.e., those duties required of you as an employee of your school or school district.  There is NO coverage for activities performed outside your professional capacity like those done on a volunteer basis or those conducted in a private business or private professional endeavor.

Our professional liability insurance coverage protects you from lawsuits filed by parents or students with coverage limits of $2,000,000 per insured and $3,000,000 per occurrence. 

In the unlikely event that you are charged with a crime, in relation to your duties as an educator, the PEN Legal Protection Plan provides for the payment of attorney fees, up to $20,000 per member per claim with final judgement of not guilty.  In addition, there is coverage under our liability insurance of up to $1,000 for reimbursement of bail bond premium.  

Immediate and comprehensive legal consultation is provided to you free of charge. A PEN attorney will review all of the particulars of your situation at no cost to you. If your rights have been violated or the relevant education law has been broken, the policy will pay up to $10,000 in legal fees to resolve the matter with no out of pocket money from you. This is the protection you need most as you interact daily with your students. PEN stands with you as you go about your required duties each day in an increasingly litigious world.

PEN gives you professional peace of mind with the following benefits:

  • Up to $2,000,000 in liability insurance This protects you from claims and/or lawsuits arising out of activities in your professional capacity 

  • Up to $10,000 in attorney fees To defend you if your employment rights are violated. 

  • Up to $10,000 in attorney fees To defend you if your professional certification rights are violated. 

  • Up to $10,000 in attorney fees To defend you in a claim filed as a result of your private instruction or tutoring. 

  • Up to $1,000 in attorney fees for initial consultation without regard to outcome. 

  • Up to $20,000 in attorney fees To defend you in criminal proceeding against you arising out of activities in your professional capacity, if you are found not guilty. 
  • Up to $1,000 per bail bond 
All of these benefits are included with your PEN membership. 
This brief description of the policy is to provide information only and in no way alters or modifies the policy on file with the association.
PEN will protect your rights as an educator regarding:
  • Contract Enforcement

  • Certification Problems/Questions

  • Reduction in Force/Layoff

  • Suspension Without Pay

  • Letters of Reprimand

  • Evaluations

  • Student Discipline Issues

  • Parent and Student Complaints

  • Professional Practices Cases

  • Transfers

  • Harassment

  • Surplus

  • Health and Safety Issues

What about the State Liability Coverage?  Isn't that enough?

Liability Insurance is Not Enough to Protect Teachers in the Classroom—Employment Rights and Career Security are Not Included in This Bare-bones Liability Insurance


Liability insurance only goes so far. Membership with The Professional Educators Network of Florida already provides teachers with liability insurance, along with other important benefits such as employee rights protection and other coverages that are not included in the bare-bones liability insurance provided by the State. We are concerned that some educators, not understanding the difference between simple liability insurance and the comprehensive coverage included in PEN of Florida membership may be left without vital representation when they encounter some of the most common problems educators face in the course of their careers. 

Professional Educators Network of Florida protects its members with both superior liability and employment defense. We provide experienced attorneys and membership representatives who are experts in school law. Bob Boyd directs PEN of Florida’s legal benefits program and has been practicing school law for 28 years.  This is something that free statewide liability insurance simply will not give you. Please read more about the additional protections provided in addition to liability insurance on our website at http://www.penfl.org/legal-benefits

You may also call the PEN office at 800-311-7770 or email [email protected] with any questions.

  

Please note legal coverage conditions

 
Coverage applies to an insured’s activities within his/her professional capacity and does not apply to activities that predate the coverage period. Eligibility for PEN of FL membership benefits is contingent upon PEN of FL’s receipt of appropriate payment or authorization forms as indicated by your choice of payment method  for your appropriate membership category. A disruption in payments to an authorized payment plan may result in discontinuation of such benefits, including cancellation of insurance coverage. 
 
You must be a PEN member prior to the incident.
 
Evaluations are a year-long process.  For assistance with evaluation appeals or reviews, you must have been a PEN member prior to your first observation or by October 31 of the current school year; whichever comes first.
 
PEN must be the only legal representation you have obtained.  PEN will not represent you legally if another organization has provided or is providing representation or consultation to you for the same incident or issue.  Please contact PEN at the onset of the employment difficulty.