Best Lawblog Contest for 2017 now being conducted by The Legal Institute

From now until
September 15th, 2017, Lawblog fans can nominate their favorite blogs and bloggers for inclusion in the voting round of 2017. As in previous years, the nomination process is competitive, meaning the more nominations a blog receives, the more likely it is to be included in the public voting stage of the contest.

To access the link to the nomination form, click on:

https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/blog-contest/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=CTA&utm_campaign=blog-contest-8.14.2017-general

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Supervisor terminated for staging plot to “fool” employees

Supervisor terminated for staging plot to “fool” employees
Keith v NYS Thruway Authority, ;517 N.Y.S.2d 334

What might start as a “practical joke” may result in disciplinary action being taken against a supervisor or an employee if the consequences of such a “joke” adversely affect employees or the agency. A recent ruling by the Appellate Division, illustrates just such a situation.

Bertram Keith, an employee of the NYS Thruway Authority, was overseeing the installation of a new heating system in a toll plaza when some employees were apparently exposed to asbestos. The employees were granted sick leave and Keith reprimanded for “failing to take proper safety precautions.”

Believing that the employees had fabricated their illness, Keith, with the aid of his subordinates, created the appearance that asbestos removal at another location had commenced without appropriate precautions having been taken. In fact, the removal work had not yet been started. His scheme succeeded, producing worker panic and union threats of pulling all toll workers off the job.

As a result, charges of misconduct were filed against Keith alleging he had led employees to believe that their health was in danger and his actions placed the Thruway in a position where its tollbooths would be unmanned. A hearing officer found Keith guilty of the charges and recommended his termination.

When the Authority adopted the findings and recommendation of the hearing officer, Keith appealed, arguing that he should not have been terminated as “nobody was in actual peril.”

The Appellate Division affirmed Keith’s dismissal

The Appellate Division found that there was substantial evidence that Keith orchestrated a plot to simulate asbestos removal and that the deception resulted in worker panic and nearly caused the employees to abandon their workstations.

“Such conduct by a public employee in a position of supervision cannot be countenanced or lightly disregarded” said the Court. The fact that no employee had been exposed to asbestos was of no concern to the court as “the alarming situation created was precisely the result sought by (Keith)” and it was for that action that disciplinary charges were filed.

The Court than refused to modify the penalty stating that “in light of the egregious nature of (Keith’s) actions and resulting hysteria which flowed naturally and foreseeable therefrom, we cannot say that the penalty imposed by the agency was inconsistent with the notions of fairness.”

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/

A Reasonable Penalty Under The Circumstances at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

Caution:

Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.

THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG. THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.

Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that the publisher is not providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader should seek such advice from a competent professional.

Items published in NYPPL may not be used for commercial purposes without prior written permission to copy and distribute such material. Send your request via e-mail to publications@nycap.rr.com

Copyright© 1987 - 2017 by the Public Employment Law Press.



___________________



N.B. From time to time a political ad or endorsement may appear in the sidebar of this Blog. NYPPL does not have any control over such posting.

_____________________

.