Monday, November 18, 2013

Employee has a duty of loyalty to the appointing authority


Employee has a duty of loyalty to the appointing authority
56 N.Y.2d 656

An employer is sometimes confronted with a situation in which an employee’s duty of loyalty to the employer is called into question or there appears to be a conflict of interest with respect to the employee’s performance.

In this action, the employee sued the agency after it had discharged him for “disloyalty and conflict of interest.”

At the time of his dismissal, the employee served as an associate counsel to the agency. The agency alleged that while its employee, the individual was also actively assisting one of the organizations that the agency was established to regulate.

In the words of the Court of Appeals, “Given the nature of the attorney-client relationship and petitioner's position as associate counsel to [agency] ... it cannot be said that reports of [the employee's] active assistance to two public interest lobbying groups regulated by the [agency] were an improper basis for the [agency's] decision to terminate petitioner's employment (cf. Arnett v Kennedy, 416 U.S. 134; Cooper v Johnson, 590 F.2d 559). Nor was petitioner entitled to a due process hearing* inasmuch as he never alleged that there was public dissemination of the reasons for his dismissal. Finally, petitioner, a nontenured employee, has demonstrated no procedural violation in the manner in which his employment was terminated.”

* Presumably the court was referring to a "name clearing hearing."
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