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February 4, 2019

Sending threatening texts messages to a co-worker


Sending threatening texts messages to a co-worker
OATH Index No. 2411/18

An employee was served with disciplinary charges pursuant to Section 7.5 of the Personnel Rules and Regulations of the Health and Hospitals Corporation alleging that he sent threatening text messages to another employee of the Corporation. The employee apologized for his actions the next day and subsequently took, and completed, five months of counseling and anger management training and received a certificate confirming that he had successfully completed the treatment program.

OATH Administrative Law Judge John B. Spooner, in consideration of the employee's sincere expressions of remorse and his substantial efforts to deal with his anger control issues, recommended that the appointing authority impose a penalty of a 60-day suspension, without credit for employee's 30-day pre-hearing suspension without pay.

Section 7.5.5 of HHC's Personnel Rules and Regulations, "Sustaining of Charges - Penalty," provides as follows:

If the charges are sustained, the penalty or punishment may consist of the following and the time which the employee is suspended without pay pending the hearing may be considered as part of the penalty:

a) A reprimand; or
b) A fine not to exceed $100.00 to be deducted from his/her salary; or
c) Suspension without pay not exceeding two months; or
d) Demotion in grade and title; or 
e) Dismissal from service.

Similarly, §75.3 of the Civil Service Law provides, in pertinent part, "that the time during which an officer or employee is suspended  without pay may be considered as part of the penalty."

However both §7.5.4 of the Personnel Rules and Regulations of the Health and Hospitals Corporation and §75.3 of the Civil Service Law, in pertinent part, state that if the employee is acquitted of the disciplinary charges, the individual shall be restored to the position with full pay for the period of the suspension without pay, less the amount of any unemployment insurance benefits or wages the individual received during that period.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
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