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July 24, 2015

Failure to exhaust administrative remedies and other procedural error result in dismissal of the employee’s efforts to have courts adjudicate her claims


Failure to exhaust administrative remedies and other procedural error result in dismissal of the employee’s efforts to have courts adjudicate her claims
2015 NY Slip Op 05779, Appellate Division, First Department

The Appellate Division said that Supreme Court correctly dismissed the complaint filed by an employee [Grievant] against New York City Department of Education (DOE), because Grievant had failed to exhaust the administrative remedies set forth in the relevant collective bargaining agreement.

Grievant, said the court, was not excused from exhausting her administrative remedies by simply alleging that her collective bargaining representative [Union] had mishandled her grievance, because she could have instituted the grievance procedure herself but failed to so.. Further, explained the Appellate Division, “This is not a case where the Unionhad sole, exclusive authority over the grievance process.*

In addition, the court noted that the City of New Yorkis not a proper party to this action, as it cannot be held liable for the Grievant’s employer, the New York City Department of Education.

As to Grievant’s claim against the Union  was not brought within the applicable four-month statute of limitations. as the statute of limitations was not tolled for the purposes of the CPLR because Grievant’s initial federal action, which was dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, was, itself, untimely. In addition, the Appellate Division said that Grievant “was not entitled to the 30-day toll [of the statute of limitations] created by the application of Education Law §3813(1) and CPLR §204(a) because the union is not an entity covered by Education Law §3813(1).”

*Typically a union has “exclusive authority” with respect to demanding arbitration of an alleged violation of a term or condition of employment set out in a collective bargaining agreement.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:

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