Our office has defended, counseled and represented employees of public entities regardless of union membership status. If you have union representation, you are entitled to hire your own attorney, and we work hand in hand with your union assigned counsel to protect your rights.
The most common area where public employees need outside legal assistance is with regard to employee discipline. Our office has defended employees of nearly every type of government and quasi-government entity within the state of New York.
How does employee discipline start?
Some common signs that discipline is an option a public employer is considering are being asked to submit to a substance abuse test, being asked or directed to attend an appointment at a doctors office or an office of employee health services, receiving a notice of placement on administrative leave, a notice of suspension, a notice of interrogation or, ultimately receiving either a notice of discipline or notice and statement of charges.
If you are the subject of investigation, there are steps your attorney may be able to take to protect you and discover the substance of the allegations made against you. Our office is experienced in both investigating employees, and protecting against those investigations.
After an interrogation or examination under oath, charges are served and a hearing is set. Our attorneys frequently conduct hearings, both in defense of, and in prosecution of, disciplinary charges, whether under a contractually mandated procedure, Section 75, or 3020-a.
What might happen if you are the subject of discipline?
At a hearing, the employer places their evidence before and arbitrator or hearing officer, and then the defense presents their evidence. The arbitrator or hearing officer will then issue a decision. Depending on the nature of the hearing, the decision may be either binding or voluntary. At the hearing, an arbitrator will weigh evidence in the form of any documents or testimony, and will consider your record of employment, how long you have been in your position, any performance reviews, counseling memos, or other records of your performance or conduct.
After a decision is rendered, there may also be an avenue of appeal, whether administratively or through litigation in the New York State Unified Court System - often through an article 78 proceeding.
Our attorneys have represented many employees and employers arbitrations, section 75 hearings, administrative appeals, and in article 78 petitions. We have represented virtually every type of government agency, from small villages up to the state itself.
what are the potential penalties?
The charging document (notice of discipline or notice and statement of charges) will often list one or more specific and potential disciplinary outcomes. These can include a written reprimand, a fine, a period of suspension, a demotion, a loss of accruals, or termination from employment.
Your employment is your livelihood. If you believe you are the likely subject of disciplinary or adverse action by your employer, schedule an initial consult or call us today.