Developing sound personnel practices which apply to all employees can prevent many problems relative to discipline. However, there are times when disciplinary actions are necessary.
Civil Service Law provides that certain employees may not be removed or otherwise subjected to any disciplinary penalty except for incompetency or misconduct. Such employees must be provided specific charges in writing, have an opportunity to respond in writing, and have a right to a formal hearing. Charges are generally limited to an 18 month period. The process is governed by the provisions of Section 75 of the Civil Service Law and/or the negotiated agreements between bargaining units and the employer. The Taylor Law provides for collective bargaining to establish terms and conditions of disciplinary action procedures.
Section 75 applies to:
Probationers have limited protection under Section 75. During the minimum period of probation, which is 8 weeks, Section 75 affords full due process protection.
There are a few municipal employees with special circumstances who may be covered by Section 75, therefore legal counsel is always advisable. It is also important for the Dutchess County Personnel Department to promptly be informed of any disciplinary actions.
The Law Bureau of the Department of Civil Service has published the Disciplinary Proceedings pursuant to the Civil Service Law. This manual was prepared to aid officials and is complete with examples, suggestions and serves as a guide through the process including preparing specifications and charges. The manual also provides recommendations relating to personnel practices and tips to reduce chances of disciplinary proceedings and facilitate successful resolutions when problems occur. Please make note that this is intended to be used as an informational guide only and not as legal authority. Always seek sound legal advice from counsel when involved in disciplinary actions and notify the Dutchess County Department of Human Resources.