Articles Posted in Labor & Employment Law

by
A city-employer's failure to provide information to a union for the purposes of representing nurse-employees in their disciplinary proceedings was improper. Two members of the New York State Nurses Association (the Union) employed by New York City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA) were served with disciplinary charges. The Union requested information from HRA for the purposes of representing the employees in their disciplinary proceedings, but the City refused to provide any of the requested information. After it was recommended that the nurses’ employment be terminated, the Union filed an improper practice action alleging that the HRA’s failure to provide the requested information violated New York City Collective Bargaining Law 12-306(c)(4). The Board of Collective Bargaining of the City of New York found that it was an improper practice for the City to refuse to respond to a large portion of the information requests. Supreme Court annulled the Board’s determination, concluding that the Board improperly extended the right to obtain information for grievances pursuant to contract administration to disciplinary proceedings. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that the Board’s decision had a rational basis. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the City was required to furnish the information specified by the Board. View "City of New York v. New York State Nurses Ass’n" on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeals held that an administrative notice declaring that the policy of the Administrative Board of the Courts of the State of New York henceforth would be that no judge certificated for service as a Justice of the Supreme Court may receive, concurrent with a salary for such service, a retirement allowance for prior judicial service within the United Court System, is not contrary to law or constitutional mandate raised by Plaintiffs. In so holding, the Court reversed the decision of the Appellate Division - which declared that the Board’s administrative order violated the New York Constitution, the Judiciary Law, and the Retirement and Social Security Law - and reinstated the judgment of Supreme Court. View "Loehr v. Administrative Board of the Courts of the State of New York" on Justia Law

by
The Court of Appeals answered three questions certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit regarding who may be liable under the New York State Human Rights Law. Plaintiffs sued Astro Moving and Storage Co., Allied Van Lines, and Sirva, Inc. after Astro fired them upon discovering their convictions for sexual offenses against young children. Astro performed moving services for Allied, and Allied was a subsidiary of Sirva, Inc. The Court of Appeals answered (1) section 296(15) of the New York State Human Rights Law, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of a criminal conviction, limits liability to an aggrieved party’s “employer”; (2) common-law principles determine who may be liable as an employer under section 296(15), with the greatest emphasis placed on the alleged employer’s power “to order and control” the employee in his or her performance of work; and (3) section 296(6) of the New York State Human Rights Law, which provides for aiding and abetting liability, extends liability to an out-of-state nonemployer who aids or abets employment discrimination against individuals with a prior criminal conviction. View "Griffin v. Sirva, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff was working as an employee of DCM Erectors at the 1 World Trade Center construction site when he received a workplace injury. Plaintiff commenced this action against the owner of the premises and the general contractor, alleging violations of N.Y. Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6). Supreme Court denied the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment on Plaintiff’s section 240(1) claim but granted Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on the section 241(6) claim. The Appellate Division modified the order by granting Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on the section 240(1) claim and denying Plaintiff summary judgment on the section 241(6) claim. The Court of Appeals modified the order of the Appellate Division by denying Plaintiff’s motion insofar as it sought summary judgment not he issue of liability on his section 240(1) claim, holding that there were triable issues of fact that precluded summary judgment. View "O'Brien v. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey" on Justia Law

by
Claimant, a former police officer employed by the City of Buffalo, alleged that exposure to asbestos occurred during his employment, later leading to his diagnosis of mesothelioma. Claimant and his wife commenced this proceeding seeking permission to serve a late notice of claim on the City. The City argued, in opposition, that leave should be denied because N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 207-c provides the exclusive remedy for the alleged work-related remedies. The Appellate Division denied the application. At issue on appeal was whether a police officer who is entitled to receive benefits under section 207-c for a duty-related injury is barred from bringing a claim against his or her employer under N.Y. Gen. Mun. Law 205-e. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that section 205-e does not bar a lawsuit by a police officer who suffers a line-of-duty injury caused by the employer’s statutory or regulatory violations when that police officer is employed by a municipality that has elected not to provide coverage pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Law. View "Diegelman v. City of Buffalo" on Justia Law

by
In Matter of Maron v. Silver, the Supreme Court concluded that the Legislature’s and Governor’s practice of directly and explicitly tying consideration of judicial compensation to unrelated policy initiatives - called linkage - during years 2006 through 2008 violated the separation of powers doctrine. As a result of the Court’s decision, the Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, legislation establishing the Independent Commission on Judicial Compensation, by which the issue of judicial compensation now receives consideration independent of other political matters. In the instant case, Plaintiffs, current and retired judges and justices, sought an award of money damages to remedy the constitutional violation that led to the court’s decision in Matter of Maron. The Appellate Division denied relief. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that neither Matter of Maron nor any other authority permitted the Court to grant monetary relief to Plaintiffs in this case. View "Larabee v. Governor of State of N.Y." on Justia Law

by
In 1996, New York State Racing and Wagering Board (the Racing Board) reduced per diem wages for its seasonal employees by twenty-five percent. The Public Employees Federation (PEF) filed an improper practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), alleging that the reduction in wages violated the Racing Board’s duty to negotiate in good faith under N.Y. Civ. Serv. 209-a(1)(d). PERB dismissed the improper practice charge. Petitioner, then president of PEF, subsequently brought this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding, asserting that PERB’s determination was arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law. Supreme Court dismissed the petition. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that PERB’s determination was arbitrary and capricious. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that PERB’s decision dismissing the improper practice charge was not affected by an error of law and was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. View "Kent v. Lefkowitz" on Justia Law

by
After achieving tenure at Food and Finance High School, Petitioner voluntarily resigned from his teaching position. Petitioner was later hired as a teacher at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual arts. Petitioner received a rating of “unsatisfactory” for the school year and, consequently, was terminated. Petitioner brought this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding arguing that he was a tenured teacher upon his reappointment, and therefore, his termination without just cause and without following the procedures in N.Y. Educ. Law 3020-a was unlawful, arbitrary and capricious, or an abuse of discretion. Supreme Court denied the petition and dismissed the proceeding for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The Appellate Division affirmed on a different ground, holding that when Petitioner was rehired, his tenure was not ipso facto restored. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) a tenured teacher who resigns, and who later seeks to return as a tenured teacher must strictly comply with paragraph 29 of New York City Board of Education Chancellor’s Regulation C-205 (C-205(29)) and submit a written request to withdraw his prior resignation; and (2) absent a request to withdraw his resignation, Petitioner failed to meet the requirements of C-205(29) for reinstatement with tenure. View "Springer v. Board of Education" on Justia Law

by
In 1993, Petitioner began receiving public assistance from the City of New York. At that time, the City required that Petitioner work thirty-five hours per week in the Work Experience Program (WEP). In 2000, Petitioner left the WEP, and his benefits were terminated. In 2007, Petitioner won $10,000 in the New York State lottery. The New York State Division of Lottery and the New York State Office of Temporary Disability Assistance (OTDA) invoked N.Y. Soc Serv. Law 131-r, which authorizes the State to appropriate half of any lottery prize to reimburse itself to public assistance benefits paid to the prizewinner during the previous ten years. Petitioner filed this N.Y. C.P.L.R. 78 proceeding alleging that were OTDA permitted to recoup a portion of the benefits paid to him through section 131-r, then he would be paid less than minimum wage in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Supreme Court ultimately granted Petitioner’s petition against OTDA and its Commissioner. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Petitioner was entitled to minimum wage for his hours worked as a participant in the WEP program, and the State could not retroactively deprive him of a minimum wage by recouping the funds through his lottery prize. View "Carver v. State" on Justia Law

by
After Plaintiff was removed from his position at his place of employment and demoted, he commenced this action pursuant to N.Y. Civ. Serv. Law 75-b, the whistleblower statute, alleging that he was retaliated against for reporting improper governmental activity. Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, arguing that Plaintiff failed to comply with section 75-b by not reporting the allegedly wrongful actions to the appointing authority before contacting the Inspector General’s office. Supreme Court granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the complaint. The Appellate Division reversed and granted Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that Plaintiff’s good faith efforts in the manner and filing of his reporting met the requirements of section 75-b(2). After a trial on damages, Supreme Court awarded Plaintiff back pay, interest, and attorney’s fees and costs and directed Defendants to reinstate Plaintiff to his position. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding (1) under the circumstances of this case, Plaintiff demonstrated good faith compliance with section 75-b; and (2) Plaintiff was entitled to prejudgment interest. View "Tipaldo v. Lynn" on Justia Law