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Monday, June 13, 2011

Some guidelines followed by the courts when reviewing disciplinary arbitration awards


Some guidelines followed by the courts when reviewing disciplinary arbitration awards
Matter of Watt v East Greenbush Cent. School Dist., 2011 NY Slip Op 04795,
510841

In considering an appeal of an adverse disciplinary arbitration pursuant to Article 75 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, the Appellate Division observed that:

  1. Courts must review Education Law §3020-a disciplinary determinations by a Hearing Officer in accordance with the provision set out in §7511 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules, which section permits vacatur of an award on grounds of misconduct, abuse of power or procedural defects.*
  2. Where the parties are required to submit the matter to arbitration, in contrast to submitting the matter to “voluntary arbitration,” courts must ensure that the award comports with due process and is supported by adequate evidence 
  3. A court, when conducting its review of an arbitration award, must accept the Hearing Officer's credibility determinations.
  4. The free speech rights of school employees are not violated when a school district
    imposes discipline on teachers for directing ethnic slurs or disparaging comments towards students in class.
  5. Ethnic comments deemed offensive or embarrassing by students is a proper basis for initiating disciplinary action against a teacher.
* Courts have also vacated arbitration awards found to violate “strong public policy.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2011/2011_04795.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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