December 23, 2013

Video tape exonerates employee accused of vandalism of employer’s property

Video tape exonerates employee accused of vandalism of employer’s property
OATH Index No.1572/13

Tapes created by surveillance video cameras have been used as evidence against employees in disciplinary procedures.

In this disciplinary action, a videotape introduced by the employee in his defense persuaded the hearing officer that the department had not proven the disciplinary charges filed against him.

A New York City a sanitation worker was served with disciplinary charges alleging that he had vandalized a garbage truck parked in a Department garage. The New York City Department of Sanitation attempted to prove these charges by introducing evidence that alleged that the employee vandalized a Department truck at about 3:15 a.m.

The evidence relied upon by the Department consisted of the testimony of two investigators who were watching a Department parking lot at night from the rooftop of an adjacent building and who had made a video recording of the lot from their observation point.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Kevin F. Casey found that the sound of broken glass could be heard on the video made by the investigators but no one was visible on the tape because it was too dark.

The employee denied that he had vandalized the Department’s equipment and introduced into evidence a video surveillance camera tape taken at a nearby 7-Eleven store and “[a]ccording to the time stamp on the recording, the [employee] entered the 7-Eleven at 3:12 a.m. and he left at 3:22 a.m., after using the restroom and purchasing food and coffee.”

Finding that the Department failed to rebut employee’s alibi evidence, including the video tape showing that he was at a 7-Eleven at the alleged time of the incident, OATH Administrative Law Judge recommended that the disciplinary charges filed against the employee be dismissed.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: