Recent findings and recommendations of OATH Administrative Law Judges
Source: New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings
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Failure to return lost property to patient
Health & Hospitals Corp. (Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital) v. Savain, OATH Index No. 217/15
Employee, a hospital institutional aide, was charged with failing to follow protocol for returning found property and with being intoxicated while on duty. Employee took possession of a patient's clock radio that was left behind during a patient move. Employee testified that she placed the radio on her cart for safekeeping, with the intent of giving it to her supervisor at the end of her shift, but that she was confronted by the patient's son before she could do so and she returned it to him.
ALJ Alessandra F. Zorgniotti recommended dismissal of the charge finding that Employer did not prove that Employee was on notice of a rule or policy mandating the immediate report of lost property to a supervisor. Employee's decision to wait until the end of her shift to bring the radio to housekeeping was not so unreasonable as to be considered negligence.
As for the intoxication charge, the son's claim that he smelled alcohol on Employee's breath when he walked alongside her was contradicted by surveillance video which showed Employee left the room first and the son followed several paces behind and testimony from Employee's supervisor, who did not smell alcohol.
Dismissal of the charges recommended.
Health & Hospitals Corp. (Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing & Rehabilitation Ctr.) v. Ellis, OATH Index No. 1710/14
Employee, a service aide, was charged with five individual absences without authorization, a long-term period of absence without authorization and failing to adhere to two directives to resolve her employment status.
The charges were established by documentary evidence and the testimony of Employer's witnesses.
Employee had been previously disciplined for similar wrongdoing and was aware of Employer's policies and procedures.
ALJ Kara J. Miller recommended termination of Employee's employment.
Placement on involuntary leave pursuant to §72 of the Civil Service Law
Human Resources Admin. v. M.O., OATH Index No. 173/15
Employer sought to place employee, a clerical associate, on an involuntary leave of absence under §72 of the Civil Service Law, alleging that she is mentally unfit to perform the duties of her position. Employer had directed Employee to undergo psychiatric evaluation after Employee continually exhibited inappropriate, disruptive, and aggressive behavior at work.
The evaluating psychiatrist offered testimony and a report declaring that Employee suffered from a severe functional psychiatric disorder and that her behavior was incompatible with her work duties. Employee maintained that she was fit to work, submitting a one-paragraph letter from her treating psychiatrist.
Following a hearing, ALJ Astrid B. Gloade found Employer's proof more persuasive and she recommended that Employee be placed on §72 disability leave.
To learn of the disposition of the OATH ALJ’s recommendations by the referring agency, please contact OATH's calendar unit at 1-844-628-4692.