April 1997 Legal Update

COUNSEL'S CORNER
By: Louis D. Stober, Esq.
CSEA REGIONAL ATTORNEY

THE IMPORTANCE OF DEMANDING UNION REPRESENTATION

NASSAU COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER
TOLD TO RESTORE SUSPENSION DUE
TO VIOLATION OF UNION RIGHTS

In yet another case showing the importance of §10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Disciplinary protection), the Nassau County Medical Center was ordered to restore 20 days pay to an employee who was suspended without being afforded the opportunity to have a union representative present.

Section 10-3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement mandates that no penalty beyond a reprimand can be imposed unless the employee has had an opportunity to have a union representative present.

In this case, an employee of NCMC was served with disciplinary charges and suspended for 20 days on allegations of job related misconduct. At the arbitration, I established that the employee had been deprived of his right to union representation. The result was that the arbitrator ordered the charges dismissed and the employee be repaid for the suspension. In this case we never even had to deal with the truth or falsity of the charges, the mere fact the County violated the employee's rights was enough to win the case.

The lesson to be learned is that anytime you are being served with disciplinary charges always ask for union representation. If you are refused, then the discipline will not be allowed to stand (unless it's a reprimand).

DID YOU KNOW

In a precedent setting decision, the New York State Appellate Division has held that when a County employee covered by the CSEA Collective Bargaining Agreement changes from a part time position to a full time position in the same title, that is considered a job assignment under §12 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That means that any part time employee who believes that another part time employee in the same title was improperly appointed to a full time position is entitled to file a grievance if s/he believes his/her seniority rights have been violated.

The case before the Court involved three part time Museum Attendant I's in Rec & Parks who grieved the appointment of a less senior part time Museum Attendant I to a full time position. The County took the position that part time employees could not file a grievance under §12 for this situation. We contended that a grievance was appropriate. As you can see, we won the argument and thus preserved an important right for part time employees.