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August 07, 2013

Diminution of employment benefits may constitute disciplinary action within the meaning of Civil Service Law §75

Diminution of employment benefits may constitute disciplinary action within the meaning of Civil Service Law §75 
Lynch v Board of Education of the Hewlett-Woodmere Union Free School District, 13 Misc 3d 1217(A)

The School District changed the work schedule of a school bus driver and part time security aide. The change prevented him from working as a security aide.

The employee sued, contending that he lost benefits because of the change in his work schedule. This change in his work schedule, he argued, was a "de facto termination" from his security aide position in violation of Civil Service Law Section 75.

The court agreed, holding that “A ‘diminution in benefits’ occasioned by a reassignment is sufficient to qualify as a disciplinary action so as to require compliance with CSL §75.”

The collective bargaining agreement, however, provided that complaints concerning work assignments and working hours were to be processed through the agreement’s “contract grievance procedure”.

The court said that this provision did not control as the collective bargaining agreement also provided that the term "grievance" did not include any complaint that was otherwise reviewable pursuant to law or any rule or regulation having the force or effect of law.

The court ruled that “Given the exemption from grievance procedure for those matters otherwise reviewable pursuant to law” Lynch could sue “to vindicate a statutory right under Civil Service Law §75” without first utilizing the collective bargaining agreement's contract grievance procedure.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

N.B. An earlier decision posted on the Internet at http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2006/2006_51734.htm
vacated by the court and republished a modified the opinion to correct a mis-stated date.

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