UNLAWFUL TERMINATION OF MOSTLY MINORITY WORKERS FOR THE WORK FORCE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

On 17th of may the mayor of New York laid off thousands of city workers (95% minoroties). Isn't this ILLEGAL under WARN act a federal law?
In other words, if we can prove that had his decision to lay off thousands of city employees, afected whites(of european descent or Jews) he certainly would not have gone ahead with the decision. When he found that 95% of those going to be affected were blacks, hispanics and other non whites/ minorities he said "go ahead", won't we have a CASE against the mayor.

As city govt. employees, with UNION MEMBERSHIP[Iwas member of local 237] don't we have what is called 'a right to property'? Can you shed some light on this subject?

Almost all states in the united states, as far as civil service laws are concerned, have a STATUTORY LIMIT of maximum 9 months for PROVISIONALS after which they must be terminated or offer to take a test. The city cannot go on prolonging provisional employment for ever. Could you please comment.

If an act is legally 'OK' but morally repugnant, what is the the likely verdict of a right thinking judge/jury?

Do you agree that JUSTICE IS THE LIGAMENT THAT HOLDS A CIVILIZED NATION TOGETHER?

1 answer  |  asked Jul 25, 2003 6:06 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
The Authority of NYC to Lay-off Public Employees

WARN is designed to address the situation where an employer closes a plant. Only in a limit, indirect way does it address a mass layoff. So, given what you have told me, I don't know whether the layoffs violate WARN.

There is a legal theory in dicrimination law called "disparate impact." Disparate impact cases are proven by showing that a particular action (for example, a layoff or reduction in force) affects a protected class (race, national origin, etc.) more than the general population, for example. However, the statistics must be such that other explanations are not possible. So, there is more to be asked about your second questions about discrimination.

In New York State, including New York City, civil service employees have a property right in their jobs (unlike private sector employees) not because of union membership, but because of the working of the Civil Service Law, which restricts the circumstances under which civil service employees can be fired. However, this property right does not mean civil service employees cannot be fired. They can be fired en masse, and without each one separately being accorded due process rights.

The New York State Civil Service Law limits the duration of the tenure of a provisional employee. However, I would say the law is very commonly violated. Interestingly, in New York, any taxpayer could, in theory, challenge each particular instance of a violation of the Civil Service Law by starting an appropriate proceeding in New York State Supreme Court. However, getting a provisional employee fired would not necessarily help a permanent employee keep his or her job.

What is morally repugnant depends on your point of view. That is why the law tries to avoid making decisions based on vague, shifting criteria like "morally repugnant." If there is nothing in the law prohibiting an act, a judge will not and cannot prevent it even though the judge may believe the act is wrong. This is how the law hold a civilized nation together, in its limitation on power.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Jul 28, 2003 09:59 AM [EST]

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