Friday, September 09, 2011

Settlement of disciplinary charges


Settlement of disciplinary charges
Ivory v NYS Dept. of Civil Service, NYS Supreme Court, [Not selected for publication in the Official Reports]

Often the employer and the employee will agree to settle a disciplinary action on mutually acceptable terms rather than proceed with an administrative hearing or submit the matter to arbitration. One of the issues in the Ivory case concerned an administrative “settlement” of a proposed disciplinary action. As the decision notes, courts will not vacate such types of agreements lightly when entered into knowingly and in good faith.

Ivory was employed as a secretary by State University of New York Maritime College for about 10 years. On April 15, 1999, the College Ivory told that she would be charged with misconduct that could lead to her termination. The college had alleged that Ivory's “work performance was poor, that she had unauthorized absences from work, and that she threatened the Personnel Director at the College.”

Ultimately, Ivory and the College agreed to resolve the matter administratively and on June 21, 1999, the parties entered into a “stipulation of settlement.” They mutually agreed that, “in return for the [College's] removal of grievances and a notice of discipline from her official file, [Ivory] would be laid off from her position at the College.”

Ivory later filed a number of race and disability discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission [EEOC]. EEOC dismissed her charges finding that “it was unable to conclude that the information obtained established violations of any of the relevant statutes.”

Ivory also sued the College and the New York State Civil Service Commission in State court. One of her motions asked the court to void the June 21, 1999 settlement agreement.

The court, declined to do so, stating that the settlement agreement, describing the terms of a settlement between plaintiff and the College, was duly executed by plaintiff, her representative, and her employer's representative. In the words of the court, “[s]tipulations of settlement are favored by the courts and not lightly cast aside,” citing Hallock v State of New York, 64 NY2d 224.

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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