"LOUD, AGGRESSIVE AND CONFRONTATIONAL" RESPONSE COST HER 3 DAYS
The Department of Social Services (DSS) filed a disciplinary proceeding against VMC, pursuant to the Civil Service Law, alleging that she had “engaged in discourteous and threatening conduct toward her supervisor.”
At a hearing conducted on February 8, 2023, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) weighed the testimony of the various witnesses, and in a written “Report and Recommendation,” dated March 21, 2023, highlighted some of the pertinent testimony and delineated the tribunal's "findings of fact."
Apparently, some two years earlier, on March 24, 2021, while her supervisor was giving her feedback about her “poor work performance,” VMC supposedly became “very loud, aggressive and confrontational” – allegedly calling him a “liar,” and saying such things as, “you don’t know me,” and “you’re not going to disrespect me.”
Even if spoken in a loud and disrespectful manner, the ALJ found that the words uttered by VMC to be “sufficiently vague,” did not “constitute an expressed or implied threat,” and concluded that the “threatening language” charge was not supported by a “preponderance of the evidence.” But, given the “demeaning and provocative” way VMC expressed herself (and noting that there were “more professional ways of expressing disagreement”) during the course of the performance-review session, the “discourteous conduct” charge was sustained.
While DSS sought a 15-day suspension as a penalty, the ALJ didn’t think the established misconduct was “so egregious as to warrant such a significant” outcome and, instead, recommended that VMC be suspended and not compensated for only three days.
Apparently, discourteousness doesn’t pay, folks ….
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