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Manhattan Civil Service Disciplinary Charges Defense Lawyer

Manhattan Civil Service Disciplinary Charges Due Process Hearing Attorney

Attorney Defending New York City Civil Service Employees in Disciplinary Hearings

As a civil service employee, being served with disciplinary charges can be unnerving. You could be suspended without pay for as long as 30 days pending the outcome of a hearing on the charges. Worse, if the charges are proven, you could face serious penalties such as a longer suspension, demotion, or termination. If terminated, you may have trouble finding a new job in your field.

With so much on the line, you need the attorneys of Watford Jackson, PLLC. Lawyers Gregory J. Watford and Joey Jackson have the experience you need, having practiced criminal and civil service defense law in New York City for over 40 years combined. Our disciplinary charges defense team will go over your case in detail and come up with a defense strategy to have the charges reduced or dismissed. You can count on our dedication to do everything possible to get you a favorable outcome.

Requirements for Valid Civil Service Disciplinary Charges in New York

Under section 75 of the Civil Service Law in the state of New York, when a civil service employer believes a tenured employee should be penalized for misconduct or incompetence, the employer must serve the employee with formal charges notifying them of the alleged misconduct or incompetence and allegations of fact to support the charge.

The employer must clearly state what performance standard was not met, or what rule was violated. The employee must have known about and understood the rule they are accused of breaking. For example, the employer's workplace policies manual should clearly state that conduct such as repeated absences, insubordination, or theft will result in disciplinary action.

The employer must keep records to support their allegations of incompetency or misconduct at a hearing.

The alleged offense must be substantial. A single trivial or technical offense is not sufficient to warrant disciplinary charges. As one example, an employee who was late three hours over a 90-day period, but who also worked 11 hours of unpaid overtime, was judged to be a trivial offense. In another case, an employee was dismissed for serving eight-ounce portions of meat in violation of a regulation limiting servings to four ounces each. The appeals court overturned that ruling on the basis of three facts: that the meat was delivered to the employee from the kitchen, that the kitchen had customarily been delivering eight-ounce portions, and that there was no gross negligence on the part of the employee.

Disciplinary charges are typically related to on-the-job incompetence or misconduct. However, off-duty offenses may be cause for disciplinary action if the conduct brings discredit to the public service or if the conduct reflects unfavorably on the moral character or fitness of the employee. For example, a state-employed physician who committed indecent assault on a woman he was treating in private practice was dismissed from his civil service job.

Civil Service Due Process Hearings in New York

The employee has the right to challenge the allegations in a due process hearing. As part of the hearing, the employee may seek discovery of evidence, question the evidence and witnesses put forth by their employer, call their own witnesses, and testify on their own behalf.

Their employer bears the burden to prove the charges at the hearing. The hearing officer will record the hearing and issue their recommendation as to guilt or innocence and appropriate penalties. The employer will review the hearing officer's recommendations and make the final determination on the charges and penalties.

For additional details on the process, see our Disciplinary Action Overview page.

Outcomes If Acquitted or Found Guilty

If acquitted, the employee can return to their position with full pay for the period of suspension less the amount of any unemployment benefits received.

If found guilty, a copy of the charges, the employee's written response to the charges, a transcript of the hearing, and the determination will be filed with the employing agency and with the relevant civil service commission.

NYC Lawyers for Criminal and Civil Service Job Defense

When a civil service employee is served with official disciplinary charges, a private attorney can help you fight back. Contact the attorneys at Watford Jackson at 855-WAT-JACK or 855-928-5225. We are fully prepared to mount an aggressive defense to protect your legal rights and your job. We handle civil service employment cases in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan and in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties. We Stand For You.

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