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WHEN YOU ARE CALLED IN TO MEET WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR,
DO YOU KNOW WHAT RIGHTS YOU HAVE AS AN EMPLOYEE?
Section 75 of the Civil Service Law provides protection to every post-probationary permanent or contingent permanent employee in a competitive class job. It also protects non-competitive employees with at least five years of continuous service, other than those employees in positions which the Civil Service Department has designated as "confidential” or that "require the performance of functions influencing policy," pursuant to Section 42(2-a). Veterans and exempt volunteer firefighters (as defined by Section 85 of Civil Service Law and General Municipal Law, respectively) regardless of their titles, are protected by Section 75. An employee who has Section 75 protection can be removed from his/her job only after a hearing at which the employee must be proved guilty of misconduct or incompetence.
You have the RIGHT to ask what the meeting is about, and what will be discussed.
If the meeting is disciplinary, accusatory, or investigatory in nature, you should ask to have a Union representative present.
If your Union representative is not available, we can ask that the meeting be rescheduled to another time when your representative is available.
If your supervisor orders you to attend the meeting, follow these steps:
Attend the meeting to avoid being accused of insubordination;
As the meeting begins, inform the person conducting the meeting that
You are there under protest;
You intend to file a grievance because you were denied your right to have your representative present; and
You will stay in the meeting but will not participate in any discussion (you have the RIGHT to remain silent). Be sure to take notes of what is said to you. Do not respond to questions or accusations!
If you attend a meeting that starts off being routine, but during the course of the meeting you feel you are being harassed, intimidated, accused, investigated or disciplined, you should request that your representative be present for the rest of the meeting. If you request is denied, follow the steps above.
If your supervisor asks whether you agree to have the meeting tape-recorded or to have a stenographer present, you have the RIGHT to ask that this meeting NOT be conducted under those conditions. If your supervisor insists that the meeting recorded, state on the record that you did not agree to this and then be silent.
BOTTOM LINE: KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
If you are called into a meeting, you have the right to know the purpose of the meeting and whether it may lead to discipline.
If ordered to attend a meeting, comply with the directive to avoid a charge of insubordination. Clearly state that you want representation present before the meeting continues and that you will not respond to charges or questions. THEN REMAIN SILENT AND DO NO REACT TO CHARGES OR QUESTIONS.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
An employee acquires property rights to their position once they become permanent. This right cannot be taken away from them without due process. Due process includes the right to respond to the charges during an administrative hearing and to be represented during any meeting called for the purpose of taking disciplinary action or to investigate matters, which could lead to such action.