In some employment situations employees are entitled to what is called notice of misconduct or incompetence. That’s typical, you will find in a union represented employees and as well as in civil service positions and as well as in people who we call property rights in their position of employment. What will happen initially, is a notice of charge will be sent and depending on where your employer is and what rules and laws govern the particular circumstances of your employment you are going to have a set number of days to answer those charges. You have to be very careful not to go beyond that period of time and it’s very important that if you are represented by a union you make sure that the union is carrying out its obligations to either respond to those charges or answer those charges for you. Going forward from there, typically the employee will be entitled to what’s called a hearing. A hearing is usually like a mini trial, it’s usually conducted before an administrative law judge or other type of appointed hearing officer at which time the employer needs to prove the disciplinary charges against you by calling witnesses and presenting evidence and you certainly have the right to have representation during all phases of the disciplinary process.
It’s highly recommended that you have representation during all phases of the disciplinary process because after all this is your livelihood that’s on the line. You want to do everything to protect your position but also to protect your reputation going forward so that in the event that you do lose your position of employment you are able to get another job down the road. It’s very difficult in a civil service situation to find a job after you have terminated on charges because most often the applications on employment ask whether you have been terminated for cause in the sense of being served with charges where you were fired as a result of misconduct or incompetence. So a lot of times what needs to happen depending on the municipality that you are working for we need to work on what laws are governing your situation and whether a union contract may for example require arbitration rather than a hearing and then determine what steps you are going to take in order to defend those charges in a way that’s successful for you.
This informational blog post was provided by Jane Gould, an experienced White Plains, NY Employment Lawyer.