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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Was the decision supported by substantial evidence is the judicial standard of review of a decision made after an administrative hearing required by law


Was the decision supported by substantial evidence is the judicial standard of review of a decision made after an administrative hearing required by law

The Westchester County Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Facilities adopted the report and recommendation of a hearing officer, made after a hearing pursuant to Civil Service Law §75, finding the individual guilty of certain disciplinary charges, and terminated the individual's employment.

The Appellate Division sustained the Commissioner’s decision, explaining that “The standard of review of an administrative determination ‘made as a result of a hearing held, and at which evidence was taken, pursuant to direction by law’ is whether the determination is supported by substantial evidence.”

Finding that substantial evidence in the record supported the determination that the individual was guilty of the disciplinary charges, the court said that in this instance the penalty imposed, termination, was not so disproportionate to the offense as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness.

In contrast, in Christopher v Phillips, 160 A.D.2d 1165, motion to appeal denied, 76 N.Y.2d 706, the Appellate Division, Third Department, decided a case in which the due process implications of a “non-mandatory” disciplinary hearing were considered.

In Christopher the court ruled that “if a hearing is not required by law, the substantial evidence standard of review does not apply....” Instead, said the Appellate Division, “the appropriate standard for the purpose of judicial review [in such a situation] is whether the determination is arbitrary or capricious.” The fact that a hearing was held even when not required by law does not alter the applicability of that standard.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_02071.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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