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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Whistle blowing – complaint of retaliation


Whistle blowing – complaint of retaliation
Dobson v Loos, 277 A.D.2d 1013

In Dobson the significant issue before the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, concerned whether or not certain personnel actions alleged taken against an employee could constitute retaliation for whistle blowing in violation of Civil Service Law Section 75-b and Labor Law Section 740.

Richard Dobson, an Erie County Sheriff's Department Sergeant, complained that the Department had retaliated against him because of his “whistle blowing activities” by taking “active and extraordinary measures to preclude his appointment as Lieutenant during the life of the preferred eligibility list until its expiration by operation of law.”

The Appellate Division ruled that such alleged conduct falls within the definition of a “retaliatory personnel action”.

The court noted that retaliatory personnel action is defined in the statutes as the “discharge, suspension or demotion of an employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.”

In addition, the court found that the following departmental actions Dobson alleged were taken against him could constitute unlawful retaliation as well:

1. Creating and filling new positions of senior and supervisory detectives, quasi-lieutenant positions “that rightfully should have been offered to [Dobson] but were not.”

2. Assigning Dobson to “virtually nonexistent duties.”

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

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