On September 7, 2018, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that amended Civil Service Law Section 75 (“Section 75”), according due process protections to labor class employees. Previously, labor class employees were not entitled to any due process rights under Section 75.
Section 75 provides that certain employees may not be terminated or otherwise disciplined as a result of incompetency or misconduct without being afforded the right to a hearing on disciplinary charges. These protections were already afforded to: (a) individuals holding permanent appointment to competitive class positions; (b) certain military veterans and exempt volunteer firefighters; (c) individuals holding non-competitive class positions, other than those designated as confidential or managerial, after completing five years of continuous service in the position; (d) individuals holding New York City Homemaker or Home Aide non-competitive class positions after three years of continuous service in the position; and (e) individuals holding the position of police detective after three years of continuous service (other than for reduction in rank based on reasons of the economy, consolidation or abolition of functions, or curtailment of activities).
The amendment, which takes effect immediately, provides that individuals holding labor class positions, similar to noncompetitive class employees, shall receive due process rights under Section 75 upon the completion of five years of continuous service in their positions, including: (1) the right to written notice of their entitlement to union representation prior to questioning about matters that may lead to discipline; and (2) the right to written disciplinary charges and a hearing before the imposition of any discipline up to, and including, termination.
Many public employers already provide labor class employees Section 75 rights pursuant to their collective bargaining agreements. However, for any labor class employees who were not already granted such rights through collective bargaining agreements, this is a significant change. As such, if you have any labor class employees with less than five years of service who have not already received Section 75 rights pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, we recommend that you address any performance issues that you may have with them prior to them receiving such rights.
Should you have any questions, please contact Susan Fine, Esq. or William Kang, Esq.