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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Employees served with disciplinary charges alleging time and attendance violations

Employees served with disciplinary charges alleging time and attendance violations
NYC Department of Sanitation v Alves, OATH Index #402/12
NYC Department of Corrections v Sharon Jackson-Crawford, OATH Index #2710/11

The Alves Case

OATH Administrative Law Judge Alessandra F. Zorgniotti recommended a 47 day suspension without pay as the penalty to be imposed after finding a NYC Sanitation Department worker guilty of being AWOL on 15 occasions in about a one-year period and being habitually late in violation of Department rules.

Although the tardiness was typically less than four minutes, Judge Zorgniotti noted that the Department’s rules did not allow any “grace period” with respect to lateness. While the employee contended that clock used to record the 6:00 a.m. start time was not accurate, the ALJ said that the employee “was on notice that her timeliness was being monitored and should have synchronized her time piece to that clock.”

As to the penalty recommended, Judge Zorgniotti said although the Department seeks to terminate the individual or, in the alternative ten days for each AWOL and three to five days for each lateness, despite the employee’s very poor record, “I find that the penalty of termination is excessive under the circumstances.” Also, said the ALJ, “a suspension of 140 days would be disproportionate to the misconduct and would also be shocking to one’s sense of fairness.”

Still, the Judge agreed that a stern penalty is warranted, hence her recommendation that the employee be suspended without pay for 47 days.

The ALJ also commented that “The Department has a right to a work force that it can rely on. There can be no doubt that if [the employee] continues to have time and leave issues, [the employee] will be terminated from her employment.”


The Jackson-Crawford case


In another “time and attendance” case, Department of Corrections v Jackson-Crawford, OATH Index #2710/11, OATH Administrative Law Judge John B. Spooner recommended the termination of employment of a correction officer who had spent 250 days on sick leave since September 2009.

The officer testified that the absences were due to a work-related injury. ALJ Spooner, however, found that the connection between the absences and a work-related injury was tenuous and that the number of absences violated department rules by a substantial margin. The ALJ also noted that the officer had a pattern of using excessive sick leave for a number of years, including 95 days in 2006, 199 days in 2007, and 171 sick days in 2008.

The NYS Sanitation Department decision is posted on the Internet at:

The NYC Department of Correction decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://archive.citylaw.org/oath/11_Cases/11-2710.pdf


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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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