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new york civil service discipline lawyerIn New York, civil service employees have certain rights and protections that will allow them to continue working in their positions. However, there may be situations where civil service employees may face discipline due to allegations of misconduct, which may involve issues such as abuse of authority, corruption, dishonesty, favoritism, misuse of a person's position, and potential conflicts of interest. Employees may also face discipline due to incompetence, such as repeated errors made while working or an inability to properly perform the duties of a position.

If a supervisor or another party believes that discipline is warranted, disciplinary charges may be pursued against an employee, and a disciplinary hearing may be held to determine what forms of discipline may be appropriate. However, before a case reaches this point, investigations will usually be performed to gather evidence related to the alleged misconduct or incompetence. The purpose of these investigations is to gain sufficient information to determine whether disciplinary action should be taken. In some cases, the evidence may be clear, and the decision to discipline the employee may be straightforward. However, in other cases, the evidence may be less clear, or there may be extenuating circumstances that will affect the case. Civil service employees will need to understand the procedures that may be followed during these investigations and the steps they can take to defend themselves against potential discipline.

Actions Taken Prior to Initiating Disciplinary Proceedings

Civil service employees are entitled to due process during a disciplinary investigation. Employers are required to follow the correct procedures to ensure that employees fully understand the rules and policies that apply to them and the forms of discipline they can expect if they commit violations. An employer will need to provide evidence showing that an employee engaged in misconduct or is incompetent. During an investigation, multiple types of records may be gathered, including personnel records, reports related to employee reviews or reprimands, and email communications with an employee.

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civil service employee discipline defense lawyerGovernment workers or others who are considered to be civil service employees in New York have a number of rights and protections. These include the right to a hearing to address any disciplinary charges that could affect a person's job. Civil service employees who may be subject to disciplinary action will need to be sure to understand the charges that have been levied against them, how they can address these accusations, and the steps they can take to prevent the loss of their job or other forms of discipline.

Grounds for Disciplinary Action for Civil Service Employees

There are many different types of disciplinary charges that can be filed against civil service employees. Generally, these charges will fall into two categories: incompetence and misconduct. Incompetence may include any actions that affect a person's ability to carry out their job-related duties correctly. In contrast, misconduct may include criminal activity or other actions that are inappropriate or that violate the rules, regulations, or policies that apply to a position.

Some of the most common grounds for civil service employee discipline include:

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new york civile service employment defenseEmployees who work in the public sector in New York have certain rights and protections, and they may need to determine how to respond in situations where they could potentially face disciplinary action. When a civil service employee is suspected of engaging in misconduct or other behavior that may warrant discipline, their employer or other parties may perform an investigation to gather information about the person’s alleged actions. Investigative interviews are an important part of disciplinary proceedings, and employees will need to understand the right ways to approach these situations.

Interviews Vs. Interrogations

An employee who is asked to submit to questioning by an employer or investigator will first need to understand the nature of these questions. In some cases, investigators may be seeking information about reports of misconduct prior to taking steps to determine whether discipline is warranted. Interviews may involve the questioning of people who may have relevant information about a certain incident or course of behavior or conversations seeking to gain facts. Interrogations, on the other hand, involve a person who is suspected of misconduct or wrongdoing being questioned. In an interrogation, the person being asked questions is likely to be the target of potential disciplinary action.

Employee Rights in Interrogations

Civil service employees who are covered by Section §75 of New York’s Civil Service Law have certain rights in interrogations. If it appears that an employee may potentially face disciplinary action, the employee has the right to be represented by a union representative. The employee must be notified of their right to representation in advance of questioning, and if they request representation, they must be provided with a reasonable amount of time to obtain the necessary representation. In addition to a union representative, an employee may also be represented by an attorney.

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Civil Service Employee Disciplinary lawyerCivil service employees can receive a number of benefits, and they are provided with certain rights and protections. This includes the right to a hearing if they face disciplinary action. Disciplinary charges must usually be based on allegations of misconduct or incompetence, and specific procedures will be followed in these cases. By understanding the requirements that apply in these cases and the steps they can take to defend against charges, employees can determine the best ways to avoid discipline and ensure that they can continue working in their position.

Disciplinary Procedures for Civil Service Employees

If a civil service employee is accused of violating the rules or standards that apply to their position, their employer will need to review the allegations to determine whether to pursue disciplinary action. Investigative interviews or other methods may be used to gather information about the case, and an employee has the right to be represented by an attorney during an investigation. 

Once disciplinary proceedingshave been initiated, the employer must send a letter or other form of communication notifying the employee of the accusations of misconduct or incompetence and detailing the specific violations the person is accused of committing. After receiving notice, the employee may submit an answer pleading guilty or not guilty, admitting or denying certain facts, and raising defenses against the accusations.

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new york employee discipline defense lawyerIssues related to employee discipline can be a significant concern for civil service employees. Fortunately, these employees have certain protections under New York’s laws. Specifically, New York Civil Service Law Section 75 details when certain employees are considered to have “tenure” that will prevent them from being fired or receiving other forms of discipline except in cases involving misconduct or incompetence. By understanding when tenure will apply, a person can determine their best options for defending against employee discipline.

Tenured Civil Service Positions in New York

Section 75 lists five categories of civil service employees who are protected from discipline:

  • People with permanent appointments - These include all employees who were permanently appointed to the competitive class of classified civil service. Classified employees include most positions other than elected officers, people appointed by the Governor, members of election boards, teachers, and school employees. Most positions are considered competitive unless they are designated as non-competitive or labor class by the New York State Civil Service Commission.

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New York civil service job defense attorneyIn New York, civil service employees who are subject to disciplinary action based on the outcome of a hearing have options to appeal the action if they believe it to have been issued in error. One such option, outlined in Article 78 of the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules, is to file a proceeding against the body or officer who issued the decision. Appeals of this nature are heard in New York Supreme Court, and it is important for an employee to be represented by an experienced attorney who understands how the process works and how to achieve a successful outcome.

When Can an Appeal Be Heard in New York Supreme Court?

If you need to appeal a disciplinary action, it is important to determine the venue through which you should proceed. In some cases, it may be best to take your appeal before the New York Civil Service Commission (CSC). However, the time frame for filing an appeal with the CSC is only 20 days after the disciplinary decision is issued. If this deadline has passed, or if the CSC has declined to hear your appeal, you can instead bring your case before the Supreme Court. You have significantly more time to initiate this process: up to 120 days from the date of the disciplinary action.

What Happens During an Appeal to the Supreme Court?

Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law & Rules allows a petitioner to appeal a variety of actions of public officers, bodies, and agencies. However, of greatest relevance to employee discipline cases is the ability to appeal a determination made at a hearing on the grounds that it was made in error, in violation of procedure, or without sufficient evidence. Employees can also appeal on the grounds that the disciplinary action constitutes abuse or an overstep on the part of the hearing officer.

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NYC civil sevice employee discipline defense attorneyIf you are facing disciplinary action for alleged misconduct related to your civil service job, the question of your guilt and any appropriate penalties will be determined at a hearing where you and your attorney have the opportunity to present evidence in your defense. However, the outcome of this hearing does not always signify the end of the process. If you believe that the hearing or the decision was handled incorrectly or unfairly, you have the option to request an appeal.

Grounds for an Appeal

In order for an appeal to have merit, you must be able to demonstrate some manner of impropriety in the initial hearing. For example, you may make the case that the hearing did not follow the appropriate procedure under New York Civil Service Law, that the decision was issued based on insufficient or unreliable evidence, or that the penalties assessed were more severe than your actions merited. Your attorney can advise you as to whether you have a substantial case for an appeal.

How Does the Appeal Work?

In some cases, a civil service employee can appeal a decision by filing a proceeding against the public body or officer who issued the decision under the terms of Article 78 of New York’s Civil Practice Law & Rules. These cases are handled in the New York State Supreme Court. However, Section 76 of the New York Civil Service code also allows employees to pursue an appeal through the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

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NYC DWI defense attorneyIf you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer under suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or any other traffic violation, you are protected by certain constitutional rights. For example, you are not required to consent to a search of your vehicle if the officer does not have a warrant, and you are not required to answer an officer's questions in a way that could implicate you or be used against you in a legal proceeding. However, under New York’s implied consent law, you are required to submit to an officer’s request for you to undergo a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test, or else face consequences related to your driver’s license.

Understanding Implied Consent in New York

In the State of New York, drivers are considered to have given “implied consent” to a chemical test in the event that they are arrested for DWI. Often, this testing consists of an initial breath test in the field, and it may be followed by an additional test of the driver’s blood, urine, or saliva once the driver is brought to a police station. Under New York law, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 in most circumstances, and a test result above this number can be used as evidence in support of a DWI conviction.

You may think that refusing a chemical test will prevent an officer from obtaining the evidence necessary to place you under arrest, but this is not necessarily the case. If, upon observing your behavior, the officer has a reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of alcohol, you may still be arrested even without BAC test results.

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New York City employment defense lawyerIn 2020, social media is a regular part of life for most Americans, and some even use it to perform work-related activities. However, social media activity can also often be a source of conflict between employers and employees, and in some cases it can lead to employee discipline or even termination. If you are facing discipline from your employer due to your social media use, an employment defense attorney can help you understand your rights.

Policies and Laws Regarding Employee Social Media Use

Due to the increased prevalence of social media, many employers now have social media and electronic communication policies that address issues including social media use during work hours, content that employees may or may not share on social media, and the monitoring of work email and other activities on work-issued electronic devices. If your employer has such a policy, you may have been asked to agree to it at the time you were hired or when the policy was created. This consent is a crucial component in justifying an employer’s discipline of an employee for any social media activity that may violate the policy.

However, there are some situations in which the legality of disciplining an employee for social media use may be called into question. For example, federal laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) and the Stored Communications Act (SCA) provide protections from the interception of or access to electronic communications without the sender’s consent, such as in cases in which access was acquired surreptitiously or through the use of force. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) also protects employees from discrimination for using social media for the purposes of collective bargaining, and appeals court rulings have held that employee communication with legal counsel may also be protected from employer surveillance.

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NYC weapons possession defense attorneyIn the State of New York, the illegal possession of firearms and many other types of weapons can result in serious criminal charges. If a law enforcement officer finds an illegal weapon on your person or your property, you could face fines, imprisonment, and other consequences that could affect you for the rest of your life, especially if you have a prior criminal record. A criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges you are facing, and one possible defense depending on the circumstances is a demonstration of transitory possession of the weapon.

Criminal Weapons Offenses in New York

Some of the types of weapons that can result in criminal charges in New York if possessed illegally include:

  • Handguns: The possession of pistols and other types of handguns is illegal throughout the state without the required permit, license, and registration.

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New York civil service employee defense lawyerAs a civil service or public sector employee, your job security may be under serious threat if you are the subject of an employer investigation related to possible disciplinary action. If you are not careful, the way that you respond to an investigation can negatively affect your ability to contest disciplinary charges that your employer issues, and it may even put you at risk of a criminal conviction. It is important to know that you have rights when you are under investigation, and a civil service defense attorney can help you protect them.

Garrity and Weingarten Rights

The rights of public sector employees when under investigation have been secured in large part by two cases argued before the United States Supreme Court. One case, Garrity v. New Jersey, confirmed that public employees are protected from forced self-incrimination. This means that if an employee is under investigation for a potential work violation that could also be considered a criminal offense, the employer cannot threaten the employee with disciplinary action or termination to compel the employee to respond in a way that could be used against him or her in criminal proceedings. As an employee, it is important for you to assert your Garrity rights verbally when under questioning to ensure that your responses can only be used in disciplinary proceedings regarding your employment.

Another case, NLRB v. Weingarten, Inc., confirmed that civil service employees have the right to representation during an investigative interview, when asked for a written statement as part of a disciplinary investigation, or in any situation in which the employee believes that responding to the employer’s questions could have disciplinary implications. This means that you can request the presence of a union representative before answering any questions, and you can also consult privately with that representative before continuing the conversation with your employer.

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NYC domestic violence defense lawyerSince March 2020, stay-at-home orders in New York and throughout the United States and the rest of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic have meant that many families are spending more time in close proximity to each other than ever before. Unfortunately, many experts report that along with this increased togetherness has come an increase in reported cases of domestic violence. If you have been accused of domestic abuse during this difficult time, you need an attorney who can help you understand and protect your rights.

Why Are COVID-19 and Domestic Violence Connected?

Domestic violence is a widespread problem even under normal circumstances, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting that 1 in 4 women, 1 in 10 men, and 1 in 7 children have been victims at some point in their lives. Stay-at-home orders and other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated many of the factors that often lead to domestic violence, including economic anxiety related to unemployment, as well as stress, depression, and other mental health challenges. Those who experience abuse may also have fewer safe places to escape to during the pandemic, and some experts suggest that domestic violence is even more widespread than we know, as victims may struggle to find a way to seek help without their abusers interfering.

Defense Against Domestic Abuse Charges in New York

Domestic violence is certainly a problem during this time, but even as reports increase, it is important to note that not all alleged abusers are guilty of the accusations they face. If you have been charged with harassment, assault, or other crimes related to domestic violence, an experienced criminal defense attorney can work to ensure your fair treatment in court and the New York criminal justice system. Depending on the situation, we can help you build a defense based on an argument that the allegations against you lack sufficient evidence, or that you were acting in self-defense.

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New York City employee defense attorneyAccording to the New York Human Rights Law, an employee cannot be discriminated against for a physical or mental disability, and employers have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities whenever possible. That said, what is considered a reasonable accommodation can vary depending on the situation. If you believe you are entitled to an accommodation that your employer is not providing, or if you are facing a medical separation because of a disability, an employment attorney can help you understand your rights and take legal action to secure them.

Who Can Request Reasonable Accommodations in New York?

As long as you are qualified for the position you hold or hope to obtain, and you are capable of performing the essential job responsibilities, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations for a disability so that you can complete your work tasks.

In this context, New York law defines a disability as any physical, mental, or medical impairment that affects bodily functions or can be demonstrated by accepted medical techniques. This can include both temporary and permanent conditions, and it may include alcohol or drug addiction if you are in recovery and not currently using illegal drugs. Since 2016, pregnancy-related conditions can also be a justification for reasonable accommodations.

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New York City DWI defense attorneyWhile the term “driving while intoxicated” seems to imply that offenders can only be arrested when they are driving, the definition of the offense under New York law is actually slightly broader. State statutes specifically declare that “no person shall operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition,” which means there is a possibility of facing charges in certain situations other than when you are actively driving. With this technicality in mind, it is especially important that you understand your rights if you are arrested and the possible penalties you may face if you are convicted.

What Does it Mean to Operate a Motor Vehicle?

As you might expect, operating a vehicle includes any situation in which you are behind the wheel while the vehicle is moving. An intoxicated driver in motion poses a clear threat to other drivers on the road, and a law enforcement officer can pull over and arrest a driver with probable cause to believe that he or she is intoxicated. The officer may also ask the driver to submit to a chemical test to measure blood alcohol concentration, and a result of 0.08 or higher can be used as evidence to prosecute DWI charges.

However, you may also be arrested for DWI while sitting in the driver’s seat of a parked car while the engine is running. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may see this as a sign of your intent to drive while intoxicated, or possibly as evidence that you have driven while intoxicated if you are found at a location that is a significant distance from your home or the place where you were drinking.

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New York City criminal defense attorney weapons charges

New York has many laws that influence who and how someone may possess a firearm. If you plan on owning a gun, you should familiarize yourself with the State’s regulations and restrictions to avoid the charges associated with unlawful use or possession of a weapon. Whether or not the firearm is loaded can impact the criminal charges you can face as a gun owner. If you have questions regarding gun possession or you face charges for violating New York State’s gun laws, it is important to speak with a criminal defense attorney who has a thorough understanding of New York’s weapons laws and how to defend against these serious charges.

New York Gun Law Definitions

According to the New York State Penal Law, Section 265, a “loaded firearm means any firearm loaded with ammunition or any firearm which is possessed by one who, at the same time, possesses a quantity of ammunition which may be used to discharge such firearm.” For example, if an individual has an unloaded firearm in one of their pants pockets and also has possession of the ammunition in the other pocket, under New York Law, the firearm may be considered loaded. 

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New York County criminal defense attorney assault

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, unique cases of assault have escalated, such as assault against someone who is enforcing mask and distancing policies. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has admitted that even though a mask order has been in place since April, the police will not fine or arrest anyone for not complying. However, New York assault laws apply when someone assaults an employee for trying to enforce mask policies. If you are charged with assault, it is important to understand how the law will apply to you and what options you have when presenting a defense with the help of a skilled criminal law attorney.

Assaults Related to Mask Wearing

Since the police cannot enforce mask policies, retail workers have been the ones to require that customers wear a mask or be denied service. Some of the cases where customers fight back have been striking. A target employee wound up with a broken left arm after denying two customers who refused to wear masks. A man in San Antonio who was barred from boarding a public bus for not wearing a mask shot another passenger. Cases have ranged from verbal outbreaks to physical altercations to gunfire, all of which can have different ramifications under New York assault laws. 

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Bronx County civic service job defense attorney

The New York Civil Service offers its employees plenty of benefits. However, that does not mean that the Civil Service code is without its restrictions. New York Civil Service law penalizes employees for striking. If you are subject to penalties or disciplinary proceedings as a civil service employee in New York, it is imperative that you seek the advice of an experienced civil service job defense attorney in your area.

The Taylor Law

New York Civil Service Law dictates the treatment of strikes as follows: “Strikes by public employees against the State or any public authority or local governmental jurisdiction, including a school district, are prohibited by Article 14 of the Civil Service Law, also known as the Taylor Law.”

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New York City criminal defense attorney domestic violence

In New York State, “domestic violence” is an umbrella term used to define a wide range of crimes between members of the same family or household. Although the term domestic violence is used broadly, there is no mention of it in New York State law. Domestic violence, being a broad subject, applies to any of a person’s actions intended to control or harm a family member or someone with whom he or she is in an intimate relationship. New York courts refer to these crimes as “family offenses,” which all have corresponding definitions according to the Penal Law. These crimes include but are not limited to:

New York City civil service job defense attorney

New York Civil Service laws give those in public positions additional job securities that workers in the private sector do not have. Still, it is essential to understand those limits to understand your rights as a public employee. Knowing how the Civil Service Laws can protect you in the event of a severe physical or mental injury can help you retain your job while you take the time that you need to recover. If you ever run into legal trouble regarding your public position, save yourself the stress by working with an experienced civil service job defense lawyer who will help protect your best interests.

New York Civil Service Law and Medical Separation

Medical Separation/Termination for medical reasons is different from being fired for misconduct. If an employee cannot perform his or her full duties for a year or more because of a temporary disability that occurred on or off the job, the employer can remove the employee or medically separate the employee from his or her position. Sections 71, 72, and 73 of the New York Civil Service Law explain when and how a civil service employee may be medically separated.

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New York City criminal defense attorney order of protection

If you are accused of domestic violence, your accuser may decide to file for an order of protection against you. Should this happen, it is important to understand what the criminal consequences of the various protective orders are, what you can and cannot do because of them, and under what circumstances you can contest them. Domestic abuse is difficult, emotionally turbulent terrain, and if you are ever accused of such, you should contact an experienced domestic abuse lawyer immediately. With professional legal help, you may be able to protect your rights, lessen any charges, and receive or retain fair custody or visitation rights of any children you may have.

Orders of Protection in New York

Orders of protection can be issued by a Judge in a Family Court matter or a Judge in a Criminal prosecution. In a criminal prosecution, the court issues the order of protection against the defendant charged with committing a criminal offense. The parties may or may not be known to each other. In a Family Court matter, the parties must be known to each other and the order of protection can be filed from one person to another if their relationship is spousal, if they share a child, if they are related or married, or if their relationship can be qualified as “intimate.” In this case, intimate does not relate to sex, and can simply include a longstanding history.

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