Conducting disciplinary hearings in absentia
This is another example demonstrating that an individual against whom disciplinary charges have been filed cannot avoid the consequences of disciplinary action being taken against him or her by refusing to appear at the disciplinary hearing.
In Hall v Environmental Conservation, 235 A.D.2d 757, the employer boycotted the disciplinary arbitration because it believed that Hall was not entitled to the disciplinary arbitration. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the employee and directed Environment Conservation to reinstate the employee to his position with back pay.
Environmental Conservation [DEC] sought a court order vacating the arbitration award, contending that its termination of Hall was not subject to being challenged pursuant to the “contract disciplinary procedure” because the State Department of Civil Service had disqualified Hall for employment. DEC argued that as Hall’s appointment had been voided by the Department of Civil Service he could not claim any rights under Section 75 of the Civil Service Law or the collective bargaining agreement.**
A Supreme Court judge granted the union’s motion to confirm that portion of the award providing for the payment of certain back pay, holding that the disciplinary proceeding was not rendered moot by the Civil Service Department’s action but declined to confirm that part of the award that directed DEC reinstate Hall to his former position. The Appellate Division sustained the lower court’s ruling.
** Pursuant to Civil Service Law Section 76.4, many Taylor Law collective bargaining agreements provide that a permanent employee in the classified service may challenge a disciplinary action in accordance with the terms set out in a "contract disciplinary procedure" that is operative in lieu of disciplinary action pursuant to a statutory disciplinary procedure [see Antinore v State, 40 NY2d 6].