Long Island employment lawyer Peter J. Famighetti secured a sizeable settlement for a firm’s employment litigation client. The settlement amount totals just shy of $295,000 and was based on claims that the public employer violated constitutional due process and civil service laws. As discussed below, the case shows that Famighetti & Weinick PLLC is able to use a wide range of tactics along with its depth of knowledge of employment laws, to obtain quick and substantial results for clients, oftentimes without ever needing to file a lawsuit, as was the case here.
Public employees are employees who work for the state, city, town, or local government. Public employees can also be employed by quasi-government agencies or public benefit corporations, such as the MTA.
In New York, many public employees are entitled to job protections. These employees cannot be fired without cause and must be provided a hearing to determine whether cause exists. Further, the constitution requires that employees who enjoy these protections, must also be provided with a notice of charges and an opportunity to be heard on the charges, before a termination is made effective. Whether public employees are entitled to job protections can be a fact specific inquiry, dependent on whether the employee is subject to a collective bargaining agreement, the civil service title, the type of civil service appointment, and the employee’s job responsibilities and reporting hierarchy.
In Famighetti’s case, the client was appointed to a probationary civil service position, after taking a civil service examination. After the client successfully completed the probationary period, the client became a permanent employee, subject to the protections of Civil Service Law 75 and the constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of due process. Civil Service Law 75 requires that employees be given charges and a hearing before the employer can terminate the employee. In violation of these laws, the client’s employer fired the employee without providing him a hearing or advising him of charges.
Based on these allegations, the firm sent to the employer a letter with notice of intent to sue. Famighetti set forth the forgoing facts and recited the applicable laws and legal principles entitling the client to relief. Specifically, Famighetti showed how the employer was required to give notice of charges and hold a hearing, that it failed to do so, and that these failures constituted violations of Civil Service Law 75 and the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Perhaps realizing its position was indefensible, the employer quickly acquiesced to Famighetti’s settlement demand. Included as part of the settlement terms was conversion of the client’s unlawful termination into a voluntary resignation, back pay, severance pay, payment of unused leave time, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
The case was settled within months and the terms are highly favorable to the employee. The results showcase how the firm uses its knowledge of employment laws to zealously advocate for its clients.
If you have questions about public employment, civil service laws and protections, due process, or disciplinary hearings, contact a Long Island employment lawyer. Our phone number is 631-352-0050. More information about the firm is available online at http://linycemploymentlaw.com.