Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Recent decisions issued by the New York City Office of Administrative Tribunals and Hearings


Recent decisions issued by the New York City Office of Administrative Tribunals and Hearings
Click on text highlighted in color to access the complete text of the decision.

Failure to provide a urine sample for a drug test
Dep't of Sanitation v. E. V., OATH Index No. 805/16
 
A sanitation worker was charged with refusing to undergo a drug test after he could not provide sufficient urine within the requisite three hour period for the test.

The employee argued that his blood pressure medication limited his ability to produce urine. Two doctors, testifying for the appointing authority, concluded that it is unlikely that the particular medication could have had such an effect. The employee did not offer any medical documentation showing his difficulty with urinating prior to the date of the contested drug test and had no trouble producing enough urine in subsequent drug tests.

OATH Administrative Law Judge John B. Spooner sustained the charge and recommended 30-day suspension without pay.   


Physical altercation with a co-worker


OATH Administrative Law Judge Kara J. Miller recommended termination of an administrative associate at a health clinic who was alleged to have been both excessively late to work and having had a physical altercation with a co-worker.

The appointing authority alleged that the employee approached a co-worker and pushed him without provocation, using obscenities and attracting the attention of various other staff members. Multiple witnesses confirmed the co-worker's testimony. The employee argued that the incident stemmed from the co-worker sexually harassing her but provided no evidence to indicate that the alleged harassment actually took place. Moreover, the ALJ found that employee's testimony contained significant inconsistencies and implausible assertions.

Judge Miller sustained the physical altercation charge along with an uncontested charge of excessive lateness. 


Confrontation with a superior
Dep't of Sanitation v. Anonymous, OATH Index No. 056/16

The Department of Sanitation charged a sanitation worker with misconduct after he had a confrontation with a superior at work.

The worker had yelled at a Deputy Chief and pushed a car door into him, fracturing his finger. The worker also refused a drug test after being ordered to take one immediately after the incident.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Faye Lewis weighed the testimony of both parties along with medical documentation and photographs of the Deputy Chief's injury and sustained the charges, recommending termination of employment.  

Initiation of an unauthorized investigation
Dep't of Sanitation v. Serrano, OATH Index No. 813/16

OATH Administrative Law Judge Kevin F. Casey sustained charges of misconduct against a sanitation worker who completed an unauthorized investigation on behalf of a friend.

The employee was alleged to have questioned private security personnel about their procedures for issuing littering summonses while he was on duty. This inquiry following a complaint from the employee’s friend that she was being harassed by the security officers in her housing complex. The employee did not record or report his actions.

Judge Casey concluded that the employee used his position in the Department improperly to assist a friend, failed to document his activities, and acted unprofessionally. A 30-day suspension without pay was recommended.   


Failure to submit documentation justifying emergency leave and sick leave
Dep't of Sanitation v. Adkinson, OATH Index No. 2170/14

The Department of Sanitation proved that on multiple occasions a sanitation worker failed to submit documentation for emergency and sick leave, was inaccessible for home visits while on sick leave and failed to report to a clinic for examination when required.

Given the number of violations, OATH Administrative Law Judge Ingrid M. Addison recommended termination of employment but suggested that the Department consider the employee's expressed desire to retire shortly as a viable alternative to termination.    

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