We have had a number of situations where students in White Plains, NY have been subject to discipline and these are university students, public school students, or private university students and there are steps that can be taken to challenge that discipline. Typically, the educational institution has internal steps that must be taken first whether it’s an appeal to a dean, an appeal to the chancellor or the president of the university. Once those steps are pursued and are unsuccessful there is a procedure in state law, of a petition which is pursuant to article 78 of the civil practice law and rules. We should caution people that those challenges are very difficult to win but they are available, and the appropriate circumstances can be successful.
We have had many parents of high school students in White Plains, NY receive a letter from the principal of their child’s school advising them that the child has been suspended for five days and on the fifth day of that suspension there will be a superintendent hearing. A superintendents hearing is a vehicle provided by the New York state education law to establish an appropriate method of discipline when a school district wants it's student to be suspended for an excess of five days. A student can be suspended for less than five days without a hearing but when the school district feels that the student has done something academic, or it’s something like bullying. When the school district wants that student to be suspended for more than five days because it believes that whatever the student has done is so egregious it must give the student a hearing and that hearing typically is before an appointed hearing officer paid for by the district who hears evidence, and testimony.
In our practice in White Plains, NY we have a number of municipal employees who come to us with disciplinary problems. Also, depending upon the status of that employee they may not be fired without notice, without charges, or without a hearing. If the employee in New York has permanent competitive civil service status he can’t just be fired on the spot, there is a process that has to be followed.
In our practice in White Plains, NY we have seen many municipal employees, a good number of those employees have protected civil service status. Employees are appointed pursuant to the New York state civil service law, a civil service eligible list, and they are appointed from the three top individuals on that list, after they pass the probationary period. It could be 26 weeks, it could be a year or some other length, then that employee has permanent civil service status. The only way to discipline such a person is pursuant to particular provisions of the civil service law and those provisions require that the employee be served with charges, and if the employee wants to, there will be a hearing on those charges. Furthermore, the hearing will be before an appointed hearing officer and the hearing officer is appointed by the employer. The appointing authority and the hearing officer will take testimonies and exhibits and will make a recommendation to the appointing authority which that person can follow or not. Often times, when it’s the first situation and charges are involved there can be a negotiated resolution, if one is suspended or terminated there is the ability down the road to challenge that determination by taking an article 78 proceeding in the state supreme court.