Disciplinary hearings will vary depending on the organization in question. Students might face disciplinary hearings if they break the rules or codes of conduct set forth by their universities. Lawyers, doctors, and other professionals might be subject to disciplinary hearings if they fail to conduct their profession in an ethical way.
In New York City, civil servants might have disciplinary actions taken against them through the use of Civil Service Law Section 75. When underlying allegations are in question, permanent employees have the right to receive disciplinary charges notifying them about these allegations. They also have the right to be allowed discovery of any evidence that an employer intends to use during the hearing. They are allowed to call witnesses, challenge witnesses, and challenge evidence during the hearing.
Disciplinary hearings for civil servants are conducted by administrative judges. The judge’s first responsibility is to issue a “finding of fact,” along with a recommendation ranging from dismissal of the charges to potential termination. However, this is only a recommendation, not a sentence. A person’s agency might have a different finding of fact that supports a different conclusion, even if they use the same testimony and evidence.
If a person isn’t satisfied with the decision that their agency makes, they have a right to appeal. Appeals must be filed within 20 days of the final decision handed down by the agency. The decision might also be appealed to the state Supreme Court in a period of 120 days following the original decision’s date.
Misconduct might apply to a variety of behaviors. Insubordination and failure to adequately perform job duties are both related to this. Off-duty misconduct might also be brought into question, such as possessing narcotics, committing assault, or committing theft.
If you’re facing a disciplinary hearing as a civil servant, it’s important to get in contact with an attorney who can help you understand the proceedings. Attorneys might be able to help you during the hearing process by challenging evidence and witness testimony. An attorney has a better sense of the disciplinary hearing process than you do.
If your disciplinary hearing is related to a crime, it’s doubly important to get in contact with an attorney. Your attorney should be able to represent you both in criminal court and during the disciplinary hearing.
After the alleged misconduct occurs, your agency has eighteen months to serve a disciplinary charge. If the agency fails to serve the charge within this time period, the case cannot move forward. That said, this rule doesn’t apply to alleged misconduct if that misconduct is also a crime.
Even if you have criminal charges against you dismissed, you might still face disciplinary action by your employer. In criminal court, it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. In disciplinary hearings, misconduct can be proved merely by “preponderance of credible evidence.” This is much easier to prove. For this reason, a disciplinary charge will not be dismissed even if a related criminal charge is dismissed.
At disciplinary hearings, usually the employment agency will bring forward witnesses that can testify against the employee. Evidence documentation might also be submitted in support of the charges. After the agency has laid out its case, the employee has the right to submit their own documentation and call witnesses in their defense. Witnesses for both the employee and the agency will be subject to cross-examination by the attorneys.
The decision made by the judge is not final. It’s merely a suggestion or guideline for the agency to use going forward. The recommendation will be reviewed by the head of the agency or the agency’s board. They will then decide whether or not to adhere to the recommendation.