Dennis Goetz (plaintiff) was employed as a cleaner for the Windsor Central School District (School District) (defendant). Goetz was classified as an at-will employee. Pursuant to a collective-bargaining agreement, the School District was required to provide Goetz with notice and an explanation prior to terminating his employment. Approximately one year after Goetz was hired, a series of thefts occurred at the School District’s offices. Goetz was arrested and charged with burglary in connection with the thefts. On January 10, 1981, while the charges were pending, the School District suspended Goetz. On January 12, 1981, the School District sent Goetz a letter requesting a written explanation regarding his involvement in the thefts. Goetz never responded. The School District also circulated a memorandum among the staff requesting that recent events at the school be subject to the strictest confidentiality. On January 19, 1981, Goetz sent a letter to the School District, alleging that his suspension without a hearing violated his constitutional rights. The letter requested that the School District provide Goetz with a hearing. On January 22, 1981, the School District terminated Goetz’s employment because he had failed to provide a written explanation pursuant to the January 12 letter. Goetz sued the School District, alleging that his termination had deprived him of property and liberty interests guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The United States District Court for the Northern District of New York granted summary judgment in favor of the School District. Goetz appealed.