"insubordination" to an officer of same rank.

I was terminated by a county sheriff for "insubordination" to an officer of the same rank as myself. In our contract with the county it says only a supervisor can give a "lawful" order, and that the chain of command goes from correction officer to a Sgt. Both myself and the officer giving the "order" were correction officers at the time. Do I have a wrongful termination lawsuit?

1 answer  |  asked Mar 19, 2003 03:30 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Relative Rank Not the Issue

I hope your union is grieving the termination. If not, you should immediately start getting on the union's leadership.

Because you identify yourself as a corrections officer, I assume that you work for a government entity. If that is true, then you are a civl servent, and civil service positions operate under an entirely different set of rules than employees in the private sector. In particular, the employment at will doctrine dosn't apply, unless you are on probation.

Normally, civil service employees in New York State (excluding federal civil servants who work under yet another set of rules) can be terminate only for cause. There are various rights to notice and hearing which provide further protections. Whether there is "cause" in your situation depends on the details of the case, and is beyond the narrow question of your rank relative to this other employee.

In New York State, there is no claim for wrongful termination. Even if there was, as a civil servant, you would not pursue your claim as a wrongful termination claim. You would follow the procedures set up in the New York State Civil Service Law. In some cases, you might be able to pursue a civil rights claim under federal law for the deprivation of a property right in your job.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Mar 19, 2003 09:18 AM [EST]

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