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New York DOC’s Changing Staff Job Classifications Upheld

New York’s Court of Appeals has held that it was not irrational for the Classification and Compensation Division in the New York State Department of Civil Service to revise the classification standards for the civil service titles of Education Supervisor, Plant Superintendant, and Assistant Industrial Superintendent so as to require Department of Corrections employees in these titles to conduct tier III disciplinary hearings at the superintendent’s behest.

In 2006, the Division amended its classification specifications to bring them in line with its analysis and evaluation that Senior Correctional Counselor may assist with, conduct, and/or make determinations in prisoner disciplinary hearings. The Supreme Court dismissed the petitioner’s article 78 proceeding on grounds that the additional job duties were not wholly irrational or without rational basis considering the other duties of those titles. The Appellate Division affirmed.

The Court of Appeals agreed, holding also that the “Division may always rework classification specifications to reflect Management’s needs and available resources; a prior finding of out-of-title work does not foreclose the Division from revising a classification to include this work, so long as its decision to do so is rationally based.”

The lower courts’ orders were affirmed. See: Criscolo v. Vagianelis, 12 N.Y.3d 92 (2009).

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Related legal case

Criscolo v. Vagianelis