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State of New York vs. COVID-19 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo periodically updates New Yorkers on the state's progress during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The latest reports of the number of new cases, the percentage of tests that were positive and many other relevant data points concerning COVID-19 are available at forward.ny.gov.

N.B. §22 of the New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL applies this protocol to individuals referred to in a decision self-identifying as LGBTQA+.

January 5, 2011

Free speech does not protect employee making a racist statement

Free speech does not protect employee making a racist statementPereira v Commissioner of Social Services (SJC-08218), the Supreme Judicial Court, Mass., 432 Mass. 251

The First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech did not shield a twelve-year public employee from dismissal for telling a racist joke at a political gathering.

Linda M. Pereira, a social worker, was terminated after making remarks that she, herself, described as a stupid, racist, and unthinking joke.

While citing a line of cases that included Pickering v Board of Education, 31 U.S. 563, and Connick v Meyers, 461 U.S. 138, 1983, the Massachusetts high court said that although a public employee’s speech may be entitled to constitutional protection if the employee speaks out on a matter of public concern, and his or her interests as a citizen are not outweighed by the state’s interest in performing a public service, Pereira’s speech was not so protected.

Why not? Because, the court explained, while Pereira spoke at a political event, she conceded that her off-the-cuff ‘joke’ was not intended to convey any message and therefore did not address any matter of public concern. Further, the court noted that although the political affair was not a public gathering, Pereira’s remark was widely reported in the press.


Public Personnel Law E-books

The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State set out in a 700 page e-book. For more information click on https://booklocker.com/books/5215.html

A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 442-page e-book focusing on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. Now available in two formats - as a large, paperback print edition and as an e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/7401.html

The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - A 645 page e-book reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html

Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - A 1098 page e-book focusing on disability benefits available to public officers and employees employed by New York State and its political subdivisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/3916.html