Q: If I call the OEA for assistance, will my concerns remain confidential?

A: Yes, all questions or concerns will remain confidential. Call our Organizational Specialists. For Middle Schools, High Schools, Bilingual Liaisons, Sign Language Interpreters and Programs concerns call Kathie Garabrandt at 402-676-3245 / kathie.garabrandt@nsea.org; for ALL Elementary Schools concerns call Judy Roach at 402-660-0949/ judy.roach@nsea.org; they will maintain the utmost confidentiality and will assist you in pursuing a resolution to the extent you tell them you want them to do act in your behalf.

Q: Is there a cost for receiving member rights services?

A: Member rights services are provided at no additional cost to the member. This is a benefit of being a member. Such services are provided by OEA staff members and/or NSEA-retained attorneys, if deemed necessary by the NSEA Director of Member Rights. If a member chooses to retain their own attorney, however, then legal expenses will not be covered by NSEA.

Q: What are some important early warning signs that my performance is being questioned?

A: 1. Poor or less-than-good evaluations.
2. Receipt of a written reprimand.
3. A deteriorating relationship with supervisor, colleague, student, or parent.
4. Rumors of discontent regarding classroom performance or personal life.
5. The occurrence of an event that causes nervousness or uncertainty.

These and other warning signs call for preventive action. Don’t hesitate to discuss them with Kathie Garabrandt 402-676-3245 / kathie.garabrandt@nsea.org; or Judy Roach 402-660-0949 / judy.roach@nsea.org

Q: What should I do if I am facing a crisis such as the ones listed below?

A: If one of the situations below ever applies to you, seek help from the OEA at once — do not talk to anyone else first!

1. Notification that you have been accused of serious misconduct.
2. Contact from criminal authorities or social services about allegations of misconduct.
3. Notification that a complaint has been filed against you with the Nebraska Commissioner of Education.
4. Notification that your employer is considering firing you.
5. Notification that a lawsuit has been filed against you.

In all these crisis circumstances, no matter how large or small, you have rights as a certificated employee. Contact OEA (346-0400) at once — prior to talking to anyone else!

Q: What should I do if I have a concern, complaint or grievance (such as proper placement on the salary schedule; assignment of extra duties; receipt of a reprimand; a poor evaluation; perceived harassment; or a myriad of other issues?)

A: It’s best in most cases to contact the OEA (346-0400). Your OEA representative, with advice and assistance from NSEA staff, is committed to making sure that members’ rights under law, contract, and policy are protected. Efforts to protect these rights can take the form of local or individual concerns, grievances, formal complaints to state or federal agencies, and even litigation. If for any reason you need or prefer to contact the NSEA directly, please do so. You should contact Jason Wiese, Director of Member Rights, 1-800-742-0047.

Q: To what organization do I need to belong to continue to be covered by the $1 million of professional liability insurance covered provided by the OEA?

A: The OEA. OEA members are also members of the NSEA and the NEA.

Q: When I retire, can I still participate in the Educator Health Alliance’s Blue Cross Blue Shield plan?

A: Yes. Upon retirement, if you are not yet Medicare eligible, you can be part of the NSEA Special Services Group (usually you automatically receive paperwork on this). To be eligible, you must also have been continuously enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield program for at least five years prior to leaving the OPS plan. However, you must decide whether you want to participate prior to the commencement of your retirement.

Q: Is there an advantage in the Special Services Group for Association members?

A: The fee for people who were members of NSEA during their last year of active membership is approximately half the amount paid by non-members. You are eligible to stay on that plan until eligible for Medicaid.

Q: Do you have to be a member of NSEA-R to remain in the group health insurance plan?

A: If you are a member of NSEA-R, your NSEA-R dues are included in the annual fee; however, you do not have to be a member of NSEA-R to participate in the Special Services Group.