June 13, 2018

Recent disciplinary findings and penalty recommendations of OATH Administrative Law Judges


Recent disciplinary findings and penalty recommendations of OATH Administrative Law Judges
Source: New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings

Employee's "whistleblower defense" rejected by Administrative Law Judge
OATH Index No. 1883/17

A New York City claims examiner raised a Civil Service Law §75-b whistleblower defense to misconduct charges filed against the individual

Administrative Law Judge Noel R. Garcia found the employee did not establish that the sole motivation for petitioner’s charges was to retaliate against the employee for the complaints that he had filed.

Rather, the ALJ found that the persons who investigated and prosecuted the disciplinary matter had an independent and good faith basis to file the charges.

Among Judge Garcia's findings:

1. Petitioner proved respondent took 288 days of unauthorized absence;

2. The individual operated of a personal watercraft in Florida while on leave for a purported injury; and

3. The employee submitted false documents during the hiring process that indicated that He was employed as an Assistant District Attorney during a period when he, in fact, worked as a paralegal.

Penalty recommended by the ALJ: termination of employment.  

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


Only one of several disciplinary charges filed against the employee sustained by proof submitted by the appointing authority at the disciplinary hearing
OATH Index No. 1958/17

In response to complaints filed against a New York City correction officer, the correction officer was charged with aggravated harassment, violating EEO policies, failing to maintain professional boundaries with a female recruit and suppressing the recruit's report about his conduct.

OATH Administrative Law Judge Kara J. Miller found the evidence inconclusive on most charges because the witnesses for both sides had credibility issues, making it difficult for the appointing authority to sustain its burden of proof.

Judge Miller sustained only the charge that the officer failed to maintain professional boundaries by referring to the complainant as “redbone”.

A five-day suspension without pay was recommended.  

The decision is posted on the Internet at:


Placing employee on "emergency involuntary leave" as authorized by CSL §72.5  sustained
OATH Index No. 1750/18

An employee challenged his placement on emergency involuntary leave for unfitness to perform his job duties due to mental disability pursuant to §72.5 of the Civil Service Law.

Co-workers credibly testified about the employee’s sudden, unprovoked outbursts, his verbal altercations with women who worked in his unit and his repeated, unsupported claims that the women are sexual predators who physically and verbally harassed him.

A psychiatrist who examined the employee found the employee was unfit because he could not get along with his co-workers.

ALJ Zorgniotti found petitioner proved that the employee was unfit and that petitioner properly placed him on emergency pre-hearing leave.  

The decisions is posted on the Internet at:

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