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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Summaries of recent decisions posted on the Internet by the New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings [OATH]


Summaries of recent decisions posted on the Internet by the New York CityOffice of Administrative Trials and Hearings [OATH] 
Source: NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings
Click on text highlighted in color to access the text of the decision. 


OATH Administrative Law Judge denies employer’s motion to strike the testimony of two witnesses called by the accused
NYC Department of Corrections v Williams, OATH Index No. 2223/15

In this hearing conducted pursuant to Civil Service Law §75, OATH Administrative Law Judge John B. Spooner denied a motion made by counsel for the NYC Department of Corrections to strike the testimony of two of the employees witnesses on the grounds that there was an indication of collusion.

The attorney said that the two witnesses worked in the same facility and were supervised by the employee and were jointly interviewed by the employee's counsel.

The employee’s counsel, on the other hand, described the pre-trial meeting as consisting of a five-minute conversation in which counsel informed the witnesses about why they were present and asked them to simply testify as to what they remembered about the incident.

Under the circumstances, Judge Spooner explained, there was virtually no possibility that the witnesses would alter their testimony to match one another as they testified about different stages of the charged incident. Further, said Judge Spooner, the witnesses’ working relationship with the employee who was the target of the disciplinary action, while a proper issue to consider when assessing credibility, did not warrant precluding their testimony entirely.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


Computer specialist charged with misconduct, including answering his phone “in a robotic voice” 
OATH Index No. 2231/15


OATH Administrative Law Judge Ingrid M. Addison found that Ronald Dillon,* a computer specialist assigned to the IT Help Desk, answered the phone in a robotic voice on two occasions, created and abandoned service desk requests, failed to timely resolve tickets, misdirected callers, inaccurately re-classified a ticket and failed to respond to supervisor inquiries.

Dillon was also alleged to have” force-closed the employer’s acceptable use policy” on many occasions, thereby circumventing the acceptance of the agreement.

Judge Addison found the Department's proposed penalty, termination of Dillion’s employment, to be excessive and she recommended a thirty day suspension without pay.

Posted on the Internet at:

* See, also, Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene v. Dillon, OATH Index No. 108/14, posted on the Internet at http://archive.citylaw.org/oath/11_Cases/14-108.pdf, involving similar charges of misconduct filed against Dillon.


An employee who refused to report to her new work location found guilty of being absent without leave [AWOL]
OATH Index No. 1512/15

A New York City Sanitation Enforcement Agent (SEA) was charged with being AWOL when she refused to report to a new work location. The Department introduced a plan to reassign SEAs as an anti-corruption effort. SEAs were required to list three different work locations on a form or they could request an interview for personal hardship consideration.

The SEA, who was assigned in Brooklyn, did neither. When she was ordered to report to her new location in the Bronxshe refused to do so. At hearing the SEA argued that her seniority status entitled her to the work assignment she wanted in Brooklyn.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Susan J. Pogoda disagreed and sustained the AWOL charge filed against the employee. The assignment of personnel is within the employer's discretion and the SEA did not show that the transfer would present an imminent threat to her health or to her safety.

Taking into consideration the SEA's prior disciplinary record, Judge Pogoda recommended termination of her employment with the Department.   

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://archive.citylaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/oath/15_cases/15-1512.pdf

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Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

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The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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