The New York City Dep’t of
Health & Mental Hygiene [Employer] served one of its Public Health Nurses [Respondent]
with disciplinary charges pursuant to §75 of the Civil Service Law alleging
Respondent had engaged in "uncivil and discourteous behavior toward a
co-worker, slept on duty, and repeatedly falsified her timesheets".
Respondent, appearing via video-conference and presenting four witnesses and documentary evidence, denied all charges.
New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Administrative Law Judge Kevin F. Casey made the following findings:
1. Employer proved that Respondent engaged in uncivil and discourteous behavior, and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline as alleged in Charge I, Specification A, of the amended petition;
2. Employer failed to prove that Respondent used inappropriate language or pushed a school nurse, as alleged in Charge I, Specification A, of the amended petition;
3. Employer failed to prove that Respondent slept on duty or engaged in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline as alleged in Charge II, Specification A, of the amended petition;
4. Employer proved that Respondent submitted false records and engaged in conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline when she falsified her timekeeping records on 15 occasions alleged in Charge III, Specifications A through N, and Specification P, of the amended petition; and
5. Employer failed to prove that Respondent falsified her timesheet on one occasion, May 24, 2022, as alleged in Charge III, Specification O, of the amended petition.
After making the above findings, Judge Casey requested and received Respondent’s disciplinary history and recent performance evaluations. The ALJ noted the record indicated that  in 2018 Respondent accepted a reprimand in satisfaction of charges that she slept on duty on two occasions;  Respondent failed to leave a school building during a fire drill; and  Respondent's most recent, available performance evaluation rates her work as good.
Noting that Employer seeks the termination of Respondent’s employment, Judge Casey opined that "That is appropriate. Falsifying timesheets is serious misconduct that often leads to termination of employment, citing a number of decisions by New York City Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings Administrative Law Judges.
In the words of Judge Casey, the Employer "expects its employees to be trustworthy and respondent’s duties as a nurse include accurate record-keeping. Respondent’s repeated and deliberate dishonesty is a fundamental form of misconduct that demonstrates her unreliability. Though Respondent has a long tenure with the agency, good evaluations, and only a minor disciplinary history, those mitigating factors are heavily outweighed by the frequency and severity of her misconduct.
Observing that "Respondent failed to accept any responsibility for her false records and unsuccessfully attempted to shift the blame to others", Judge Casey recommended that the Respondent be terminated from her position.
Click HERE to access Judge Casey's decision posted on the Internet.
A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances -- The text of this e-book focuses on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. For more information click HERE.