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October 23, 2017

Administrative due process must be provided the accused employee in a disciplinary arbitration proceeding


Administrative due process must be provided the accused employee in a disciplinary arbitration proceeding
2017 NY Slip Op 03853, Appellate Division, First Department

Petitioner, a tenured educator, initiated a CPLR Article 75 action seeking a court order vacating an arbitration award in which Petitioner was found guilty of multiple disciplinary charges and was terminated.

The Appellate Division sustained the arbitration award, noting that the following administrative due process requirements were satisfied:

1. Petitioner's right to administrative due process was not violated as Petitioner [a] was provided with appropriate notice, [b] was represented by counsel at a 13-day hearing and [c] had the opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses;

2. The hearing officer issued a detailed decision in which she [a] thoroughly analyzed the facts, [b] evaluated the credibility of witnesses and evidence presented and [c] arrived at a reasoned conclusion; and

3. Petitioner's claim that the arbitrator was bias was speculative and unsupported by the evidence.

As to the penalty imposed by the arbitrator, dismissal from the position, the Appellate Division opined that considering "Petitioner's teaching deficiencies over the course of three years, the absence of any improvement despite assistance offered by the appointing authority," and Petitioner's "refusal to acknowledge her shortcomings," imposing the penalty of termination "does not shock the court's sense of fairness," citing the so-called Pell standard [Pell v Board of Education,  34 NY2d 222.


Click here to Read a FREE excerpt from The Discipline Book concerning the due process rights of public employees in New York State.

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