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December 09, 2011

Dismissal of an employee for “disloyalty” upheld

Dismissal of an employee for “disloyalty” upheld
Thomas v. New York Temporary State Commission on Regulation of Lobbying, 83 A.D.2d 723

An employer is sometimes confronted with a situation in which an employee’s duty of loyalty to the employer is called into question or there appears to be a conflict of interest with respect to the employee’s performance.

In Thomas the employee sued when the Commission discharged him for disloyalty and conflict of interest.

At the time of his discharge, Thomas was an associate counsel to the Commission. The Commission claimed that while an employee, Thomas was also actively assisting one of the lobbying organizations that the Commission was established to regulate.

Noting that the employee was not covered by Civil Service Law Section 75, The Appellate Division rejected Thomas’ argument that his termination reflected adversely on his reputation and position as an attorney as well as his claim that his dismissal had violated his First Amendment rights.

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