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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Probationary employee terminated notwithstanding the dismissal of criminal charges


Probationary employee terminated notwithstanding the dismissal of criminal charges 
2015 NY Slip Op 00813, Appellate Division, First Department
Martin v Hearst Corporation, USCA, Second Circuit, Docket #13-3315 

Supreme Court denied the petition filed by an individual, a probationary employee, seeking to have the court annul employer's dismissing her from employment.

The court, noting that criminal charges filed against individual were dismissed, held that the termination of a probationary employee based on an arrest for criminal charges that were subsequently dismissed does not constitute bad faith

The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling, explaining that the individual had failed to demonstrate that employer's termination of her probationary employment was in bad faith.

The Appellate Division also commented that “the record reflects that [individual’s] job performance was considered sub-standard.”

In another action, Martin v Hearst Corporation, et al, USCA, Second Circuit, Docket #13-3315, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, affirmed a federal district court judge’s dismissal of an action brought by an individual under color of Connecticut’s “Erasure Statute” in which she had alleged libel and other publication related claims based the publication of certain reports concerning her arrest .

Although the media reports were factually true when published, she contended that they became false and defamatory when the criminal charges brought against her were “nolled.*

Under Connecticut’s Criminal Records Erasure Statute, [Conn. Gen. Stat. 54-142a], when charges against an individual are nolled or dismissed, that individual’s criminal records are erased and he or she is deemed to have never been arrested.

The Circuit Court of Appeals concluded “that the Erasure Statute does not render tortious historically accurate news accounts of an arrest” and affirmed the federal district court’s granting the media defendants' motion for summary judgment. 

* Nolle Prosequi -- a unilateral act by a prosecutor which ends the pending proceedings without an acquittal and without placing the defendant in jeopardy. 
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