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September 12, 2013

Falsification of time records results in suspension without pay


Falsification of time records results in suspension without pay
Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision 11682
Decisions of the Commissioner of Education, Decision 11111

Decision 11682

A teacher charged 11 days of absence over a 3 1/2 month period to her sick leave accruals. The District subsequently learned that the teacher had reported for work at her second job or had attended scheduled classes in an evening course in which she was enrolled on the same days that she had been absent on sick leave.

The District filed disciplinary charges against the teacher pursuant to Education Law §3020-a. The disciplinary hearing panel found the teacher guilty of all but one of the specifications, ruling that her actions constituted conduct unbecoming a teacher and neglect of duty. It imposed a penalty of suspension without pay for three months .

The District appealed, seeking approval to dismiss the teacher. The teacher, on the other hand, asked the Commissioner to vacate the panel's decision and dismiss the charges filed against her.

The Commissioner, sustaining the panel's decision, ruled that the penalty imposed by the panel for the teacher’s abuse of sick leave was, in this case, appropriate and affirmed the penalty imposed by the §3020-a disciplinary panel. 


Decision 11111

 In another Education Law §3020-a disciplinary action involving an alleged falsification of time records, the Commissioner upheld the disciplinary hearing panel's finding the teacher guilty of the charges filed against her alleging that she had misuse of family sick leave benefits. The Commissioner also upheld the disciplinary penalty imposed by the panel: -- a suspension without pay for 9 1/2 months for "abuse of sick leave benefits."

The disciplinary hearing panel had found that the teacher had absented herself from work, charging her absence to her sick leave credits for an alleged “family illness” for three days immediately preceding the School District’s spring recess. The teacher, however, chanced to meet her principal at a vacation site that they both were visiting on one of the days she had charged to her “family sick leave” leave credits. 
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