In CT Professors with Tenure Have a Claim for Breach of Contract

September 12, 2023

In Craine v. Trinity College, 259 Conn. 625, 791 A.2d 518 (2002). The Connecticut Supreme Court, concluded that a college was liable for breach of contract because it had denied tenure to a college professor on the basis of standards that differed significantly from those of which she had previously been informed. Id., 654–59.

In Craine, the plaintiff’s complaint rested on the contents of a faculty handbook. The court held that the faculty handbook was a binding employment contract. Id., 655. The handbook contained specific provisions with respect to tenure with which the college did not comply. Id., 656. Craine illustrates that the possibility of pleading a ‘specific contractual promise’’ is not ephemeral.

Given the foregoing, if a college or university professor working in Connecticut is denied tenure for what that person feels are improper reasons in light of the contents of the faculty handbook or any other agreement between the college or university and the professor that could be considered contractual, the professor can file a claim for breach of contract.