Thursday, October 06, 2011

Employees assumed to have knowledge of their employer's policies

Employees assumed to have knowledge of their employer's policies
Gallagher v Commissioner of Labor, 298 A.D.2d 828

Robert J. Gallagher was suspended from his position as a senior insurance examiner after criminal charges were filed against him. The criminal charges alleged that he had purchased and sold stock options in an insurance company that was regulated by his employer, the New York State Department of Insurance.

Gallagher filed for unemployment insurance benefits but his application was denied. He appealed to the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board. In his appeal Gallagher admitted to his buying and selling stock options in a company that was regulated by the State Department of Insurance but claimed that he did not know that such conduct was prohibited at the time.

Accordingly, he contended, he should not be deemed culpable to the point that he was ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

The Board, however, denied Gallagher's appeal seeking unemployment insurance benefits after it determined that he had engaged in disqualifying misconduct. Gallagher sued, challenging the Board's ruling.

In the words of the Appellate Division,

It is well settled that "[a]n employee's apparent dishonesty or failure to comply with the employer's established policies and procedures can constitute disqualifying misconduct"

The Appellate Division said the record established that not only were such transactions were against the employer's policies, -- they were unlawful. Further, the job description of Gallagher's position and his responsibilities required him to understand the Insurance Law.

In effect, the court said that Gallagher, serving as a Senior Insurance Examiner, would be deemed to have knowledge of the relevant Insurance Department policies and the Insurance Law.

Under the circumstances, said the court, substantial evidence supports the Board's decision that Gallagher knew or should have known that his actions were prohibited. It sustained the Commission's decision and dismissed Gallagher's appeal.

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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