September 18, 2019

Employee terminated for mishandling cash transactions


A City School District School Board [School Board] charged its cashier [Petitioner] with misconduct based on allegations that she failed to record various purchases of milk and juice by students as well as purchases of food by adults. In addition, she was charged with failing to account for "pre-identified bills."

Testimony was provided by Petitioner's co-workers, who had been instructed to observe her handling of "cash transactions" for a period of time by their supervisor. The Appellate Division said that this testimony, together with certain documentary evidence in the record of the disciplinary hearing, "provided the necessary substantial evidence to support the hearing officer's finding of misconduct and incompetency" and the adoption of  those findings by the School Board.

The Appellate Division also ruled that dismissal was not disproportionate to the offenses committed, citing the Pell standard. The Court said that "having violated her position as an employee entrusted with School District money, termination in all respects was proper."

An employee may claim that his or her theft of money from an employer was the result of a disability. If, indeed, the misconduct can be attributed to a disability in some degree, must the appointing authority refrain from disciplining the individual?

No, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which opined that "an employer may discipline an employee with a disability for engaging in misconduct if it would take the same disciplinary action against an employee without a disability.*

Further, 8 FEP Manual 40-5.7259 indicates that "an employer does not have to excuse ... misconduct, even if the misconduct results from an impairment that rises to the level of a disability if it does not excuse similar misconduct from its other employees."

* See EEOC 915.002.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
https://www.leagle.com/decision/19971076238ad2d8381281


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A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances




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