Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Out-of-title work


Out-of-title work
Haubert v GOER, 284 A.D.2d 879

In the Haubert case the Appellate Division, Third Department considered the issue of whether or not the assignment of certain additional duties to an individual, or specific changes in an employee's existing duties, constitutes “out-of-title” work. As the decision demonstrates, it all depends on the nature of the changes and the nature of the positions involved.

Section 61.2 of the Civil Service Law prohibits “out-of-title work.” In addition, no credit is given for out-of-title work in order to qualify for a promotion examination.

Ruth A. Haubert appealed the Governor's Office of Employee Relations' [GOER] denial of her out-of-title work grievance. The grievance arose after the State Department of Health changed its procedures with respect to surveying long-term health care facilities to ensure their compliance with State and federal laws and rules.

Initially the surveys were conducted by teams under the supervision of a Consultant Nurse, grade 24. In late 1996 Health revised its procedure and required various employees in grade 19, 20 or 22 specialized clinician positions to serve as the “team facilitator” on a rotating basis in addition to the designated “facilitator” remaining responsible for his or her primary tasks as a team member.

Claiming that the new role of team facilitator required them to perform out-of-title work, Haubert and other employees filed an “out-of-title” work grievance. The grievance was rejected at all steps and an appeal was filed in Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Appellate Division affirmed the Supreme Court's dismissal of Haubert's petition.

The Appellate Division said that not all additional duties assigned to an incumbent constitute out-of-title work. The question is whether the new duties are appropriate to the employee's titles and, or, are they similar in nature to, or a reasonable outgrowth of, the duties listed in the employee's job specifications.

In this instance, the court decided that based upon “the team concept of the survey work, which required coordination and cooperation among all team members, and the high level of expertise required of petitioners in order to qualify for their titles,” GOER rationally concluded that the obligation of a team facilitator to monitor the team's progress to ensure that the team accomplished its mission in a timely fashion “is appropriate to petitioners' titles and, or, constitutes a logical extension of their duties.” 

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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