ATPE's Employment Rights Protection Program
Answers to members' most common questions
What should I do if I am sued?*
You must call (800) 777-2873 immediately and forward copies of all documents you have received to the ATPE Member Legal Services Department. Written notice of an occurrence must be made to the insurance company as soon as possible by forwarding copies of every demand, notice, summons, or other process received by the member or his representative.
How do I get help if I am arrested?*
You may call any criminal defense attorney for assistance. The insured benefit pays up to $15,000 per covered claim and aggregate in attorney fees for the defense of criminal actions brought against you that arise out of activities in your professional capacity. The benefit is subject to $10,000 win or lose in certain circumstances. You must be an eligible member at the time of the activity that led to the action against you. Up to $5,000 per bail bond is also available. Call ATPE at (800) 777-2873 for claim information as soon as possible.
What if I cannot talk to an attorney while I am at school?
Simply get a message to the ATPE Member Legal Services Department during office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday), and an attorney will call you back. Attorneys return calls daily after office hours.
Do I need to find a lawyer?*
You can simply call the ATPE Member Legal Services Department at (800) 777-2873, and staff members will arrange for you to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. In criminal defense cases, you may hire the attorney of your choice; simply call the ATPE Member Legal Services Department for claim instructions as soon as possible.
What if I need a Spanish-speaking attorney?*
ATPE can arrange for Spanish-speaking attorneys whenever needed. Just call the ATPE Member Legal Services Department at (800) 777-2873.
What if I have a problem with another teacher or a supervisor who is also a member of ATPE? Will ATPE only help one of us?*
Professional, administrator, associate, and student teacher members’ legal costs are paid through the insurance policy for covered claims. If a member’s legal problem involves another ATPE member and attorneys are needed, each member may hire a separate attorney from a panel approved by the insurance company subject to eligibility pursuant to the insurance policy.*
What if my problem began before I became an ATPE member? Will I be eligible for the insured benefits?*
No. The insurance policy applies to occurrences during the policy period and activities of an insured that begin during the coverage period. The effective date of insurance begins on the member’s date of membership or after a 30-day waiting period for those members who join after September 30 and were eligible to join from August through September. In no event is coverage provided for acts prior to membership.
What if I cannot reach the state office until the next day?
If you are being pressed by the district to take action, particularly to submit a resignation of your employment, you can simply say you cannot answer until you speak with an ATPE attorney.**
Published/reviewed: January 21, 2020
*THE EDUCATORS PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE POLICY IS UNDERWRITTEN BY NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE CO. OF PITTSBURGH, PA. ALL COVERAGE IS SUBJECT TO THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE MASTER INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED TO ATPE AND KEPT ON FILE AT THE ATPE STATE OFFICE. Coverage applies to an insured’s activities within his/her professional capacity and does not apply to activities that predate the coverage period. View insurance policy details here. Eligibility for ATPE membership benefits is contingent upon ATPE’s receipt of the entire annual membership dues amount 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 for the entire membership year retroactive to Aug. 1 or your membership date. ATPE reserves the right to determine eligibility for the appropriate membership category. The membership year runs from Aug. 1–July 31.
**The insured member services and staff attorneys’ assistance are offered through separate programs.