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When Are Civil Service Employees Protected Against Discipline?

 Posted on June 22, 2022 in Criminal Defense

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.

  • Honorably discharged veterans and volunteer firefighters - A veteran of the U.S. military who served during wartime and firefighters who are part of the exempt class may have tenure if they were permanently appointed or employed in classified civil service positions. However, protections will not apply to people employed as cashiers, private secretaries, or deputies.

  • Non-competitive or labor class employees - People in this category may receive tenure after five years of continuous service. However, protections will not apply to people in positions that are considered confidential or who influence public policy.

  • New York City homemakers and home aides - People in the non-competitive class who provide services such as housekeeping, meal preparation, and companionship may receive tenure after three years of continuous service.

  • Police detectives - Police officers who hold the rank of detective for three continuous years may receive tenure.

People who have tenure cannot be laid off, removed from a position, or otherwise subjected to discipline unless they are accused of incompetency or misconduct. New York’s laws do not detail specific acts that fall into these categories, so determining whether an employee has engaged in misconduct or acted incompetently will typically be based on the standards of a position and the common sense of those evaluating their performance or actions. Failure to meet certain performance standards or follow the rules that apply to a position may be considered incompetence. Misconduct may include violations of criminal laws or other misuses of authority or abuses of privileges. 

A single, trivial offense is usually not sufficient to warrant discipline. A person must generally have a pattern of improper behavior, or they must have committed a serious offense that would be considered misconduct that affects their ability to perform their duties properly.

Contact Our New York City Employee Discipline Defense Attorney

If you are facing discipline as a civil service employee, contact The Law Firm of Gregory J. Watford, Esq., PLLC right away. We can help you understand your options for defense and represent you in disciplinary hearings. We will help you take the right steps to protect yourself from issues that may threaten your ability to maintain employment. Contact skilled New York civil service disciplinary hearing lawyer Gregory J. Watford today. Call 646-580-6675 to schedule a consultation and get the legal help you need.


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