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New York civil service medical separation lawyerNew York’s civil service laws provide enhanced job security that many employees in the public sector do not have. If you are recovering from an injury or a disability that will make you unable to work temporarily, you will not lose your job in most cases. However, Section 71-73 of the New York Civil Service Law dictates when an employer is allowed to terminate a civil service employee for medical reasons. If this happens to you, a skilled civil service attorney with years of experience can help you contest the termination and protect your rights.

Medical Separation

If you need to recover from a serious injury or disability, Section 71-73 gives you the right to a medical leave of absence for up to a year. If you were assaulted while working, you can take up to two years off. When a medical practitioner has determined that you are fit to work, you can be reinstated to your position.

Since this leave of absence can be so long, civil service employers will need to fill your position in many cases. Should this happen, Section 71 states that you should be given a similar job in the same field or for any position that you are qualified to transfer to. If there is no immediate vacancy for you to fill, you will be put on a preferred list, and you will be eligible for the next available and appropriate position for four years.

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New York civil service job defense lawyerAs a civil service employee in NYC, you have some additional job security that those outside of the public sector often lack. However, that does not make you immune from disciplinary action. If your employer ever accuses you of misconduct, there are still ways that they can seek to remove you from your position. Contact a reputable civil service and job defense attorney if you are ever accused of willful misconduct at work. In the meantime, familiarize yourself with the process an employer must commit to before engaging in any disciplinary action.

NYC Disciplinary Action Procedures

According to New York State law, civil service employees are entitled to due process before any disciplinary action is taken against them. If an employer tries to ignore this process, they risk losing to an appeal and being negatively judged by their other employees. New York law states that due process not only be granted in a hearing, but in the preliminary stages of an investigation.

For example, employers are strongly encouraged not to let their own biases or prejudices play a role in an investigation. If this is apparent, the strength of their testimony will be greatly diminished. Employers are also barred from trying to mislead employees or put them at a disadvantage in any regard. Instead, employees should be notified of the actions that they are being accused of so that there is no confusion.

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New York civil service job defense attorneysUp until a couple of years ago, not all civil service employees had the right to due process if they were facing disciplinary procedures on the job. In 2018, however, Governor Cuomo signed an extension of Section 75 of the Civil Service Law into place that extends due process benefits to the labor class. This could have a dramatic impact on you if you are in a public position that was not protected by Section 75 before, and you will have much greater job security and an easier time defending against any accusations. Regardless of what your case may be, it is always important to form an aggressive defense to defend your rights with the help of a civil service employment and job defense lawyer.

Your Rights Under Section 75 

Anyone eligible for protection under Section 75 of the New York Civil Service Law cannot be removed from their position or penalized without due process to prove their incompetence or misconduct. These terms leave a lot of room for interpretation, but in general, incompetence is understood as a person’s disregard for management, procedures, lack of knowledge, or little aptitude. Misconduct is often meant to refer to intentional misdeeds or deliberate ignorance of rules. Without Section 75 protection, an employee would be subject to penalties or removal without a proper hearing. With this law, accused employees also gain the right to legal representation during the due process proceedings to maintain heightened job security.

Before Governor Cuomo passed the extension, Section 75 only applied to employees in “competitive class” positions, meaning anyone in a position that is earned by merit or examination. Employees in non-competitive positions like teachers and bus drivers were eligible for protection after five years of service. This left labor class employees (i.e. cleaners, food service helpers) without any access to due process in a disciplinary hearing. Fortunately, this extension provides bolstered job security to labor class positions after five years of service. If you hold a labor class position and are accused of incompetence or misconduct, you are entitled to legal representation to provide a defense before being penalized or removed from your job.

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New York City job defense attorneyFor a few years now, New York has been in an ambiguous limbo regarding government and employer attitudes towards marijuana possession and usage. However, as of May 10, 2020, significant changes took effect that prevent job applicants from being discriminated against based on marijuana use. Although this does not fully legalize marijuana, it provides a significant amount of clarity regarding the vague legislation that is currently in place. If you face any charges for marijuana possession or use on or off the job, ensure that you get excellent legal aid from an experienced criminal and job defense attorney.

NYC Marijuana Laws

If you are not already aware, new rules regarding marijuana use in New York State were enacted in August 2019. These rules did not legalize marijuana, but it did lessen the severity of potential enforcement. For example, possession of marijuana up to two ounces is only considered a violation that could warrant a fine, but possession over that limit could still lead to criminal charges. This law ignores whether or not a person uses marijuana.

The Ban of Job Applicant Marijuana Tests

Given that New York seems to be slowly pushing towards the legalization of marijuana, this new measure provides more leniency than the somewhat superficial decriminalization imposed last year. Some states, like Maine, prevent employers from discriminating against employees for marijuana use, but this ban takes such efforts a step further. Now, public and private employers in New York City (even if their headquarters reside elsewhere) can no longer perform drug screening on any potential hires.

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NYC civil service job defense attorneysSo you have made it through several rounds of interviewing and you really hit it off with a prospective employer. You receive a job offer. Human Resources says if you pass the background check and drug screening, you will start working there within a few weeks. No problem: You do not do drugs and you have no criminal history. This should be a routine pass, right? But you do have one skeleton in your closet: a terrible credit report. The employer gets back to you and says the company cannot hire you because you did not pass the background check. You suspect it is due to your credit report, but are they even allowed to deny employment on the basis of poor credit? Actually, this scenario is against the law in New York, with some exceptions.

NYC Human Rights Law: Giving You the Credit You Deserve

Your credit report does not define you. You may have fallen on hard times—anything from dealing with an expensive, debilitating illness to managing extreme reductions in income or long-term unemployment— and failed to pay your bills. Or, you might have been married to someone who dragged your credit through the mud. You might have even had your identity stolen, and it has not been restored yet. The point is, any number of extenuating circumstances could have caused you to amass a disastrous credit report. That does not make you any lesser of a person. It does not mean that you are a horrible worker. It does not mean that you are untrustworthy. You could still do the job you are hired to do—maybe even better than most, regardless of your credit report. And that is why employers cannot consider it when making hiring, firing, and promoting decisions in New York.

The NYC Human Rights Law offers this legal protection. Specifically, the law states that:

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