Mesalands updates ‘liquidation damages’

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

It can be costly for full-time employees at Mesalands Community College to leave their jobs before their contracts expire.

Mesalands updated its “liquidation damages” clause concerning resignations in its Personnel Handbook and the clause that is included in all its employee contracts.

If an employee leaves before their contracted time of employment is up, the clause provides for the college to be entitled to damages of five percent of an employee’s annualized wages (not to exceed $2,500), according to the handbook.

The Mesalands Board of Trustees approved the measure Tuesday night at its regular board meeting.
All employees, from the janitor to the deans, have a contract with the college and all employee agreements include the same language, said college president Phillip Barry.

The clause is designed to deter employees from leaving mid-term, Barry said.

“The college spends thousands of dollars to recruit … and if someone leaves in the middle of the year, it can be critical,” Barry said. “You just can’t ramp up people quick enough” to come in and replace an employee who leaves suddenly.

“It hurts the students,” when someone decides not to honor their contract, Barry said.

An employee left the college last year, and the college is seeking reimbursement, Barry said.

On the flip side, depending on an employee’s classification, if the college decides that it does not want to offer a new contract for the following year, the employee is given three to six months notice, Barry said.

This the second year that the college has included the clause in its personnel manual, Barry said. In January 2007, the college held a staff meeting and explained the program, began including it in the manual, and then employees signed off on it as part of their contracts, Barry said.

Another change in the 2008-2009 Personnel Handbook included dress at work and states that:
“Body art is not to be visible during work hours. Body art is defined as tattos, gauges (ear disks), and piercings other than ears. Men should not wear earrings during work hours.”