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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Union did not violate its duty of fair representation when it declined to submit a provisional employee’s disciplinary dismissal to arbitration

Union did not violate its duty of fair representation when it declined to submit a provisional employee’s disciplinary dismissal to arbitration
Mahinda v Board of Collective Bargaining, 2012 NY Slip Op 00636, Appellate Division, First Department

After an informal conference and "Step II" hearing, disciplinary allegations against Josephine Mahinda, a provisional employee, were sustained, and her employment with the New York City Department of Transportation was terminated.

Subsequently Mahinda failed to establish that her employee organization, the Organization of Staff Analysts, [OAS], breached its duty of fair representation by failing to advance to arbitration the grievance arising out of her termination. 

Although Mahinda argued that OSA should have processed her grievance to arbitration, the Appellate Division said that she had not established that an agreement providing for provisional disciplinary procedures had been negotiated pursuant to §65(5)(g)* of the Civil Service Law. §65(5)(g) authorizes the City and certain other public employers to enter such agreements in the course of collective bargaining..

After considering other theories advanced by Mahinda to support her argument that she was entitled to submit the matter to arbitration, the Appellate Division ruled that “there was no basis on which to grant [Mahinda’s] request….”

Nor, said the court, was there any basis for granting her request to review the City's underlying decision to terminate her. As a provisional employee, Mahinda could be terminated at any time, "without a hearing, for almost any reason, or for no reason at all," unless such action constituted an unconstitutional or unlawful action.

Finding that Mahinda failed to demonstrate that in terminating her employment the City violated Civil Service Law §65, which governs provisional appointments, or any other constitutional or statutory provision,"nor had  she demonstrated that her employment was terminated in bad faith or that the termination was arbitrary and capricious," the Appellate Division dismissed her appeal

* Civil Service Law §65.5(g) authorizes “The city of New York; and any other entities whose civil service and examinations are administered by the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services [DCAS] and an Article 14 [Taylor Law] employee organization, to enter into agreements to provide disciplinary procedures applicable to provisional appointees who have served for a period of 24 months or more in a position which is covered by such an agreement. Further, no such provisional employee is to be deemed to be permanently appointed, nor may such disciplinary procedures be deemed to preclude removal of an employee as a result of the establishment of and appointments from an appropriate eligible list or in accordance with any other provision of law. [N.B. Repealed December 31, 2014]

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2012/2012_00636.htm

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/

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