Civil Service Charges

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Absent Without Permission
When employee was absent eight days due to illness of daughter and collective bargaining agreement permitted three days absence as a right for family illness, employee should be considered absent without permission for only five days, not enough to trigger suspension under the "resigned not in good standing" rule. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 089
Employee removed for unauthorized absence due to a medical emergency was reinstated because she believed she had permission for her absence. Even if charges were sustained, removal is too severe a penalty in light of the principles of progressive discipline and the facts of this case. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 612
Alcoholism
Even though alcoholism has been determined to be a handicap within the purview of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, an employee may be removed from his position if alcohol use precludes the performance of particular employment. In this case, appellant's continued employment as a drawbridge operator posed an unacceptable risk of substantial harm to the public. Decision: 11 N.J.A.R. 546
Back Pay
Appellant was entitled to back pay for five months following his 30-day suspension because the order of reinstatement provided for back pay for that period. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 529
Collateral Estoppel
The doctrine of collateral estoppel bars the assertion of any defense to Civil Service charges where the individual has been convicted of a disorderly persons offense arising out of the same set of facts. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 009
Acquittal in a criminal case does not preclude Civil Service disciplinary charges from being brought against an employee. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 072
Excessive Absenteeism
Appellant was reinstated with back pay after the judge found the appellant's medical condition justified his absences. In addition, the employer failed to charge excess sick time against accrued vacation time, as required by contract. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 485
Exclusionary Rule
While Civil Service disciplinary proceedings may result in suspension or the loss of a job, this cannot be equated with criminal sanctions which justify the application of stricter standards to safeguard fundamental rights; thus, evidence seized in the search of a police officer's locker is admissible in an administrative proceeding even if that search was found to be violative of the Fourth Amendment in a related criminal proceeding. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 435
Failure to Complete Assignment
Because appellant was working out of title and was not given formal training in the use of computers, his failure to complete assignment was due to not being given duties appropriate to his title. Removal was not justified. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 089
First Amendment Rights
Welfare worker's First Amendment rights were not violated by his suspension for failing to comply with his supervisor's direction not to counsel a client about having an abortion. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 474
Forfeiture
Appellant is not entitled to a hearing on the factual issue of whether the offense touches or involves his employment. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 606
Harassment
Corrections officer forfeited his position when he was convicted of harassment as a result of actions directed at his former supervisor. Decision: 12 N.J.A.R. 529
Incompetence
Incompetence means that an individual lacks the ability or the qualifications to perform the duties required of him. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 091
Where evidence demonstrates that an appellant consistently performed her prescribed tasks in a manner well below that which is minimally acceptable for her position, the appointing authority has sustained its burden of establishing the charge. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 315
Insubordination
Refusal to perform routine clerical duties during normal business hours constitutes insubordination. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 020
Employee bears the burden of clarifying any misunderstanding he might have concerning the order of a supervisor. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 020
Failure of police officer to follow an order of the chief of police amounts to insubordination. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 044
Welfare worker's First Amendment rights were not violated by his suspension for failing to comply with his supervisor's direction not to counsel a client about having an abortion. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 474
Mental Incapacity
Correction officer who was removed after attempting suicide while on duty was reinstated because the appointing authority did not offer sufficient proof of mental incapacity. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 955
Neglect of Duty
Police officer's use of marijuana in his home and his possession of stolen property and improperly registered weapons along with failure to report the discharge of a firearm support a charge of neglect of duty under N.J.A.C. 4:1-16.9. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 026
Neglect of duty means not performing one's job; that duty may arise by specific statute or may arise from the very nature of the position itself. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 091
Fact that appellant was not aware of the consequences of her failure to perform assigned duties did not excuse neglect, but should be given some consideration in assessing a proper penalty. In addition, fact that other employees sometimes fail to perform the duties does not mitigate in appellant's favor. Decision: 11 N.J.A.R. 020
Prison guard was suspended rather than removed for failing to make a required prisoner count during evening when an escape occurred. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 270
Notice
Service of a duplicate notice of disciplinary action and another copy of charges after the resolution of pending criminal charges meets the notice requirements of N.J.S.A.. 40A:14-147. Decision: 7 N.J.A.R. 072
Termination of police officer was proper even though he did not receive the required preliminary notice because appellant was fully. aware of the action being taken to remove him. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 598
Penalty
In determining proper penalty, Civil Service Commission may consider prior disciplinary record. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 044
Where current misconduct involves a minor offense, no criminal intent was present and im- mediate three and one-half years of service were without incident, administrative law judge concludes that suspension of police officer rather than removal is appropriate penalty. Civil Service Comission determines that removal is appropriate concluding that misconduct constituted probable violation of policy and constitutional rights and created potentially dangerous situation. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 044
In determining appropriate penalty for a police officer, the Civil Service Commission may consider how that police officer's misconduct reflected on the public image of the police department. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 044
Police Officer
In determining appropriate penalty for a police officer, the Civil Service Commission may consider how that police officer's misconduct reflected on the public image of the police department. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 044
Failure of police officer to follow an order of the chief of police amounts to insubordination. Decision: 10 N.J.A.R. 044
Progressive Discipline
Employee removed for unauthorized absence due to a medical emergency was reinstated because she believed she had permission for her absence. Even if charges were sustained, removal is too severe a penalty in light of the principles of progressive discipline and the facts of this case. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 612
Unbecoming Conduct
Shooting a neighbor's dog and using marijuana at home by a policeman constitutes unbecoming conduct for a policeman under N.J.A.C. 4:1-16.9. Decision: 2 N.J.A.R. 026
While the conduct underlying conspiracy and bookmaking charges does amount to conduct unbecoming a teacher, it does not require dismissal of that teacher. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 381
Appellant's admitted removal of State property from her work place when she knew she was not to remove that property, constitutes conduct unbecoming an employee in the public service. Decision: 1 N.J.A.R. 315
Unsatisfactory Attendance
Institution was justified in removing corrections officer after his seventh infraction involving unsatisfactory attendance. Decision: 13 N.J.A.R. 472