Individuals performing services for a public employer may be designated "non-employees" by statute
Levitt v NYC Office of Collective Bargaining, 273 AD2d 104
For the purposes of collective bargaining Article 14 of the Civil Service Law -- the Taylor Law -- applies to all individuals in the services of a public employer except judges, individuals in the military service and public employees designated managerial or confidential.*
The point made clear by the Levitt decision -- individuals who might otherwise satisfy the criteria for public employment, and thus otherwise covered by the Taylor Law, may be denied such status by statute.
Kenneth Levitt challenged a ruling by New York City’s Office of Collective Bargaining [OCB] declaring that four hearing examiners employed by the city’s Parking Violations Bureau [PVB] were ineligible for inclusion in a collective bargaining unit representing city employees.
OCB’s rationale: Section 236(2)(d) of the Vehicle and Traffic Law provides that [s]uch hearing examiners shall not be considered employees of the city in which the administrative tribunal has been established.**
The Appellate Division, First Department, agreed, ruling that [g]iven this clear statutory language, the PVB hearing officers cannot be considered City employees entitled to collectively bargain pursuant to the Taylor Law even though, as OCB found following a hearing, in all other respects these hearing officers meet the criteria for public employment.
Does Levitt have any recourse? Perhaps. As the court pointed out, this was an issue for the Legislature, not the courts, to address.
* Certain individuals have been declared managerial or confidential within the meaning of the Taylor Law by statute.
** Civil Service Law Sections 210 - Prohibition against strikes - and Section 211 - Injunctive relief to prohibit a strike - specifically apply to judges, military personnel and managerial or confidential employees within the meaning of the Taylor Law. Presumably these provisions would not apply to Section 236(2)(d) hearing examiners as the incumbents of such positions are not employees of the jurisdiction in which they serve.
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