August 18, 2021

Involuntary placement on disability leave pursuant to Civil Service Law §72

In a proceeding brought pursuant to §72.5 of the Civil Service Law, OATH of Administrative Law Judge Ingrid M. Addison recommended that the New York City Police Department [NYPD] place a Traffic Enforcement Agent [TEA] on an involuntary leave of absence, finding the TEA was unfit to perform her job duties due to a medical disability not incurred in the performance of the duties of her position.

The TEA did not dispute the fact that she could not stand or walk for long periods, conceding that effects of an earlier surgery prevented her from performing the duties required of a TEA.

Although the TEA had been temporarily assigned to a clerical job as a reasonable accommodation, the NYPD determined that she was unfit to perform the duties of a TEA. Judge Addison agreed, finding that the NYPD proved the employee was currently unfit to perform the essential duties a TEA due to her disability and recommended the TEA be placed on involuntary leave consistent with the provisions of Civil Service Law §72.5.

The appointing authority of the NYPD adopted the ALJ’s recommendation subject to the approval of NYPD’s pending application for a change in title of the TEA's position to Clerical Associate, presumably as the result of the reclassification of the TEA position then encumbered by the employee to "Clerical Associate."

On a similar note, General Municipal Law §207-c, providing for the payment of salary, wages, medical and hospital expenses of police officers disabled as the result of injuries or illness incurred in the performance of duty, authorizes appropriate municipal officials to transfer a police officer on disability leave pursuant §207-c to another position, including a position with another agency or department where he is able to perform the duties of such position consistent with [1] the applicable civil service law requirements, [2] provided the police officer consents to the change and [3] the agency to which the employee will transfer approves the transfer.

General Municipal Law §207-a, applicable to firefighters on disability leave as the result of suffering an injury or illness incurred in performance of official duties, similarly authorizes the appointment of the disabled firefighter to another position or title in the same or another agency with the consent of the injured firefighter and the approval of the department or agency involved.

Click HERE to access Judge Addison's decision and recommendation.

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