Monday, April 25, 2011

Untenured employee must demonstrate his or her termination was made bad faith or for an unlawful reason in order to successfully challenge his or her dismissal

Untenured employee must demonstrate his or her termination was made bad faith or for an unlawful reason in order to successfully challenge his or her dismissal
Shih v Waterfront Commn. of N.Y., 2011 NY Slip Op 03190, Appellate Division, First Department

As Conrad Shih’s status as an auditor with the New York City Waterfront Commission was not within the Commission’s definition of a "permanent employee" Supreme Court ruled that Shih was not entitled to the due process protections of a “permanent employee” i.e. a pretermination hearing.

The Appellate Division agreed with the lower court determination that the Commission’s terminating Shih without such a hearing was neither arbitrary nor capricious.

Key to the Appellate Division’s decision was Howard v Wyman, 28 NY2d 434. In Howard the Court of Appeals said that “An agency has broad power to construe and interpret its own rules” and its interpretation must be upheld where, as here, it is rational.

As a nontenured employee, said the court, Shih was not entitled to a full adversarial hearing concerning the reasons for his termination. Further, the Appellate Division said that Shih “failed to show that his termination was for an improper reason or in bad faith,” citing Beneky v Waterfront Commn. of N.Y. Harbor, 42 NY2d 920, Certiorari denied 434 US 940.

Applying the “Pell Doctrine,”* the court ruled that “Given [Shih’s] attempt to steal a DVD from a music store and failure to report his arrest on related charges, we cannot say that the penalty imposed was so disproportionate to the offense as to shock one's sense of fairness.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

* Matter of Pell v Board of Education, 34 NY2d 222.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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