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Friday, June 10, 2011

Former employee entitled to a name clearing hearing upon satisfying the “stigma plus” test


Former employee entitled to a name clearing hearing upon satisfying the “stigma plus” test
Knox v New York City Dept. of Educ., 2011 NY Slip Op 04735, Appellate Division, First Department

State Supreme Court, New York County rejected the New York City Department of Education’s motion to dismiss the petition filed by Dr. Tulsa Knox challenging the Department’s decisions that Dr. Knox was ineligible for re-employment, and granting Dr. Knox’s petition to the extent of remanding the matter for a name-clearing hearing.*

The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The court said that Dr. Knox had demonstrated "stigma plus," i.e., defamation by the government, coupled with a likelihood of dissemination of the stigmatizing material that could significantly impair her ability to gain employment as a school psychologist in the future.

The Appellate Division said that the placement of Dr. Knox’s name on the Department’s  "Ineligible/Inquiry List" and certain adverse information concerning Dr. Know had been  disseminated “not only within the Department of Education, but also to the Bronx County District Attorney's Office and the State Department of Education.” This, said the court, satisfied Dr. Knox’s burden of showing “stigma plus”.

* N.B. Absent a violation of a constitutional or statutory provision, reinstatement is not an available remedy to an individual even if vindicated at a name clearing hearing.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: 
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_04735.htm

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/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances 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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