Retaliating against employees for political activity
Richardson v Saratoga Springs, App Div, 246 A.D.2d 900
Scott Richardson, one of two “city electricians” employed by the Saratoga Springs Department of Public Works, supported his brother-in-law in a political race against the City’s incumbent Commissioner of Public Works. After the incumbent won, Richardson sued, alleging that the City had retaliated against him for his political activities by:
1. Transferring some of his duties to a co-worker, Vincent Arpey; and
2. Discontinuing his de facto status as supervisor of the entire electrical crew.
He cited Section 107 of the Civil Service Law, which provides, in pertinent part, that political opinions or affiliations may not be a consideration in the “appointment or selection to or removal from an office or employment” (or in the discharge or promotion or reduction, or in any manner change in the official rank or compensation) of an individual whose position is subject to the Civil Service Law.”
The Appellate Division agreed, holding a jury trial was needed to determine whether Saratoga Springs violated this section of the law when it made a personnel decision that was “affected or influenced by” an employee’s political opinion or affiliation. “[A] reasonable factfinder could conclude that [Richardson] was discriminated against because of his political activities outside of working hours.”
The Court said discrimination could explain why Richardson’s was denied “a promotion and concomitant salary increase -- ‘for constitutionally impermissible reasons,’ namely, because of his off-duty political activities.” The fact that an independent consultant actually recommended the reclassification was, according to the ruling, of little significance “where, as here, it can be inferred that those actions were the direct consequence of the changes in the electricians’ work duties “affected or influenced by” the Commissioner.”
Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor members of the staff are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to seek such advice from a competent professional.