Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Motion to delay disciplinary action pending the outcome of a criminal investigation denied


Motion to delay disciplinary action pending the outcome of a criminal investigation denied
NYC Department of Homeless Services v Simmons, OATH Index #2042/12

OATH Administrative Law Judge Ingrid A. Addison denied a pre-trial motion made by a public employee to stay her disciplinary proceeding pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.

Judge Addison ruled that there was no constitutional bar to moving forward with the disciplinary action, where, as here, criminal charges had not yet been brought.

The employee, in effect, was asking for an indeterminate stay. Such stays are disfavored, said Judge Addison, because the employer has an interest in the prompt resolution of misconduct allegations and having the employee against whom disciplinary charges, or someone else, fulfill the job responsibilities. 

Below are selected excerpts from The Discipline Book* [an e-book published by the Public Employment Law Press, 2012, 1476 pages] concerning the relationship of administrative disciplinary actions and criminal proceedings based on the same alleged acts or omissions. They are reprinted here with permission: 

Pending criminal matters:

1. " ... Chaplin v NYC Department of Education, 48 A.D.3d 226, is another example. Here the Appellate Division said that an employee was not entitled to a stay of the disciplinary case as a criminal defendant does not have a right to stay a related disciplinary proceeding pending the outcome of trial, citing Watson v City of Jamestown, 27 AD3d 1183. Denial of such a stay does not adversely affect the employee’s constitutional rights.

2. " The appointing authority has no obligation to postpone disciplinary action even if the county District Attorney requests administrative action be postponed. This was the point made by the court in Levine v New York City Transit Authority, 70 AD2d 900 (2nd Dept 1979), affirmed 49 NY2d 747 (1980). [See also 2.14: “Impact of criminal action on disciplinary action”.]

3. "A [Taylor Law] contract may … prohibit disciplinary action in the face of pending criminal charges. Although not so stated in law, the courts have ruled that Section 75 proceedings need not be postponed because a criminal action is already pending or may soon be commenced.

4. "May administrative disciplinary action be prosecuted at the same time that a criminal action based on the same facts and allegations is pending? Yes. See, for example, the decisions of the court in Nosik v Singe, 40 F.3d 592, (unnecessary to delay administrative disciplinary action in a case of a school psychologist accused of defrauding insurance companies) and Matter of the Haverstraw-Stony Point CSD, 24 Ed. Dept. Rep. 466, (no requirement to adjourn a Section 3020-a hearing when parallel criminal proceedings are underway)."

* For information about The Discipline Book , click on  http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html 

The NYC Department of Homeless Services v Simmons decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://archive.citylaw.org/oath/12_Cases/12-2042md.pdf

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/

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