Saturday, February 04, 2012

Right to counsel in an administrative disciplinary hearing

Right to counsel in an administrative disciplinary hearing
Matter of Elmore v Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District, Board of Education, 273 A.D.2d 307

The Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District terminated the employee following an administrative disciplinary hearing held pursuant to Education Law §3020-a.

The employee appealed the dismissal, contending that the Hearing Officer’s ruling unfairly denied him his right to counsel during the hearing when the Hearing Officer ruled that the employee could not discuss his “cross-examination testimony” with his attorney during any adjournments in the proceding.*

The Supreme Court agreed and granted the employee’s petition to vacate the School District’s decision to terminate his employment.

The Appellate Division sustained the lower court’s ruling, noting that under Education Law §3020-a(3)(c)(i), a teacher facing disciplinary charges shall have the right to be represented by counsel at any hearing held on those charges.

The court explained that while it was mindful that teacher disciplinary proceedings are not criminal actions, it was equally mindful that a tenured teacher has a protected property interest in his position which raises due process considerations when a teacher is faced with termination of his employment.

Noting that New York courts have disapproved similar prohibitions forbidding a defendant from discussing his trial testimony with his attorney for all but brief periods of time, the Appellate Division ruled that “In view of the due process considerations involved when a tenured teacher is threatened with termination of his employment, this is a sound approach, particularly in the instant case, where the time period involved was 10 weeks.”

Accordingly, the Appellate Division concluded that the Supreme Court did not err in vacating the award and directing a new hearing.

* The cross-examination of the employee was conducted during five days which extended over a period of 10 weeks.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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/

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.

_____________________

.