August 13, 2020

Restoration to the payroll following an employee's being suspended without pay after being served with disciplinary charges


The appointing authority terminated an employee [Plaintiff] following a §75 hearing. Plaintiff challenged his termination and the Appellate Division found that the Plaintiff's termination was based on "the improper consideration of irrelevant matter." Explaining that in such situations an employee may not be suspended without pay for more than 30 days, the court ruled that Plaintiff was entitled to go back on the payroll pending the results of a new hearing.* 

An employer who has preferred charges against an employee sometimes wishes to avoid having the employee at the work site while the charges are pending. This decision supports restoring a suspended employee to the payroll upon the expiration of the period of suspension without pay otherwise permitted by law or a Taylor Law agreement without having the employee actually returning to the work site.

In contrast, a number of Taylor Law** collective bargaining agreements [CBA] include provisions permitting the appointing authority to suspend employees without pay upon the serving of disciplinary charges until a final disciplinary decision is made while other CBAs permit the appointing authority to deny the charged individual access to the work site but require the employee to be continued on the payroll while the disciplinary action is pending. Courts have upheld the lawfulness of both of these types of CBA contract provisions. 

* In this instance the court directed the appointing authority to pay Plaintiff "the salary he would have earned for the period beginning 30 days after his suspension without pay, less any compensation he derived in that period from other employment, unemployment benefits, or disability or workers' compensation benefits." 

** Article 14 of the New York State Civil Service Law.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: 
https://casetext.com/case/matter-of-chopay-v-town-of-oyster-bay

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