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Queens civil service employment defense attorney

Although civil service employees in New York City generally have protections that private-sector employees do not, there are still some laws that dictate how and when they can take action. If we were to simply answer the question of whether or not civil servants are allowed to strike in New York, the answer would be no, but that is not the full story. To understand how public employees can organize and enact change, you must understand the Taylor Law. If you find yourself in any dispute while holding a civil service job, it is imperative to seek trustworthy legal assistance from an experienced NYC civil service and job defense attorney. With professional help, you will be able to better navigate the intricacies of New York civil service law.

The Taylor Law

The Taylor Law, which took effect in 1967, covers almost all public employees who work for the state, cities, counties, towns, villages, school districts, public authorities, and some special service districts. Although it prevents public employees from striking, the law does the following:

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NYC job defense lawyerIn addition to the job security that you have as a public service employee, some additional laws help preserve your rights while working in a public position. In particular, there are rules regarding how civil service employees may be treated regarding their political views and laws that prevent certain public employees from engaging in any political activity that would cause a conflict of interest. Since individual circumstances often differ, it is important to meet with a knowledgeable civil service employment attorney in NYC. This way, there is no room for confusion relating to how your employer treats you and what you can and cannot do in your position.

NYC Civil Service Political Activity Laws

In general, most people who work for the State of New York are allowed to take part in partisan political activity outside of work. To protect this right, the New York civil service laws state that public employers are not allowed to exert any political pressure on their employees while at work. This entails the following:

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New York City civil service employment lawyerCivil service positions offer the benefit of increased job security and some additional rights that you will not find in the private sector, and their implications can vary from person to person. If you are seeking a public job or are trying to defend your status as a civil servant, an experienced civil service employment attorney can help you protect your rights and the benefits of working in the public sector. 

Veterans’ Rights in the Public Sector

A veteran trying to pass an examination to either be appointed or promoted to a State position will have some unique benefits, and understanding what you could be eligible for can play an important role in determining whether or not you get the job that you desire. In general, New York State laws require these exams to be competitive in order to place qualified and excellent candidates in the appropriate jobs. This also means that no advantages should be given to one applicant over another. 

However, there is a small caveat if the person taking a civil service exam is a veteran. If you are a veteran but are not disabled, you can claim five additional points on your exam score. If you are a disabled veteran, you will get 10 points of additional credit on the exam for an open position and five points for a promotion exam. In order to ensure that any candidate selected for a job is properly trained and highly-capable, these bonus points are only applied if the veteran in question passes the exam with their base score.

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New York civil service job defense attorneysFederal and state governments operate on complex set laws, rules, policies and procedures, some of which go back to even before the country’s birth. One of these laws in New York is the Freedom of Information Law. This law is intended to provide the public with access to information regarding the goings-on in government. In enacting this law, the New York Legislature declared that government is “the public’s business and that the public, individually and collectively and represented by a free press, should have access to the records of government” as provided under the law.

Getting Access to Government Information and Exceptions to Freedom of Information Law

Freedom of information laws such as these are designed give the public access to information about what the government has done or is doing through its actors and agents. However, all manner of restrictions and exceptions by the affected agencies can make it almost impossible for the average citizen to know what happened or what is going on. Restrictions may apply for a variety of reasons, including national security and personal privacy concerns.

Civil Law 50-a is a section of the New York Civil Rights Law that puts restrictions on releasing to the public certain information deemed to be “personal records” of police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers. This information is precluded from release to the public on the basis it is confidential and therefore “not subject to inspection or review” without the affected officer’s permission.

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Brooklyn police discipline defense attorney

In New York, state law NYCL CVR Section 50-a prohibits the release of the personnel records of certain occupations, including corrections officers, firefighters, and EMTs. However, police officers are the occupation most commonly associated with this law, and information about certain types of police disciplinary actions is not disclosable to the public or the media. 

By blocking public disclosure of these records, Section 50-a protects police officers from retaliation by criminals and prevents defense attorneys from using a police officer’s disciplinary record to discredit their testimony in a criminal trial. This law also protects police officers from being publicly vilified on the basis of unverified or unsubstantiated accusations or because of disciplinary actions that are unrelated to the cases they are involved in.

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New York City employment law attorney labor unionsIf you are a government employee covered by a union collective-bargaining agreement, such as a police officer or school teacher, you cannot be forced by law to join a union and pay union dues. Until recently, however, non-members could be required by New York state law, and by similar laws in 21 other states, to pay a significant percentage of the annual union dues in the form of “agency fees.” The reasoning was that non-members benefited from the union’s collective bargaining efforts and should contribute toward those costs.

The legality of mandatory agency fees was challenged in federal court in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31. Mark Janus is an employee of the state of Illinois who chose not to join the AFSCME because he opposes many of the union’s political positions. Nonetheless, he had been required to pay $535 per year to the union as an agency fee, which is about 78 percent of the annual dues paid by union members.  

Agency Fees Deprive Employees of the Right to Free Speech

In its June 2018 decision on the Janus case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to require non-union members to pay agency fees. The Court held that the union’s collective bargaining activities and political speech are inextricably linked. Thus, agency fees violate an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech by “compelling them to subsidize [the union’s] private speech on matters of substantial public concern” including “education, child welfare, healthcare, and minority rights.” 

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