SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A judge ruled that a northern New Mexico school district must reinstate three employees who were fired without cause more than a year ago.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that the former superintendent of the Mora Independent School District ousted a teacher and two counselors without specifying reasons why, prompting the American Federation of Teachers to later sue.

The lawsuit came after the district refused to rehire the employees when an arbitrator ruled the district to reinstate them in April.

The judge's ruling on Tuesday orders the district to give the employees full back pay and benefits and to maintain their district seniority ranking. The judge also gave the union the option to petition the court to have the district cover all legal fees in the case.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com