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Challenges to Best & Brightest Continue

Morgan & Morgan file suit over taxation of bonuses paid through the Best & Brightest program:

  • The law firm of Morgan & Morgan has filed suit against the Florida Department of Education regarding Best and Brightest teacher bonuses on behalf of a teacher who received the bonus for two years.
  • The lawsuit contends that, at the direction of the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), districts withheld the employer’s share of payroll taxes from Best and Brightest bonus checks, paying teachers smaller bonus amounts than specified by statute.
  • In the law firm’s example, a $6,000 award was reduced by $426, meaning the teacher never saw a check with the full amount. Unless special exception is made, the employer normally pays its share of payroll taxes.
  • It is important to note that school districts acted at the instruction of the FDOE. Attorney Ryan Morgan states that the firm believes the state had enough bonus money set aside to pay districts to cover the employer’s share of payroll taxes.
  • The suit was on behalf of Christopher Alianiello, a former member of the Orange County Classroom Teachers Association who was an elementary school teacher until the end of the past school year. Although he was rated as a “highly effective” teacher and awarded bonuses, Chris was let go without cause by his district.
  • Morgan & Morgan stated that it will seek class action certification if DOE does not move quickly to correct the situation and pay teachers who earned a Best & Brightest bonus what they are owed.
  • The law firm estimates that the class would include more than 100,000 teachers, and that the state would owe them a total of $25 million to $30 million.
  • The Morgan & Morgan lawsuit has no bearing on or relationship to our Best and Brightest litigation. Attorney Ryan Morgan noted, however, that the state’s agreement to come to a settlement in that case may have cleared the path for the new lawsuit’s successful resolution.

Are You Affected?

You must fit these criteria:

  • You’re a public school teacher in Florida
  • You received a bonus from the Best and Brightest program

There is a four-year statute of limitations on these cases, but because the program is less than four years old, anyone who fits the above qualifications is eligible.

If you have any questions about eligibility or want to join Morgan & Morgan in the fight to get you and your co-workers paid what you deserve, please call (833) 254-4724, a dedicated phone line for this case.

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