Terminated Dutchess County Employee Defeats Employer's Motion to Dismiss
On April 28, 2020, the Dutchess County Supreme Court issued a Decision & Order, ruling in favor of an employee of the Town of Pleasant Valley, who brought an Article 78 proceeding to challenge her termination by the Town and its former Supervisor. In the Decision, the Court denied the Town's motion to dismiss in its entirety.
The employee, a former secretary and bookkeeper/controller, alleges she was wrongfully terminated by the Town Supervisor without a vote by the Town Board, and for reasons that are arbitrary and capricious. After her termination, at least one Town Board member made false and stigmatizing statements at a public meeting about the employee, when she was not present. The Court concluded that she may be entitled to a full name-clearing hearing, writing: "[T]he statements made against petitioner at the August 8, 2019 public Town Board meeting attack her moral character, accuse her of [wrong]doing and possible criminality. These statements "are stigmatizing in the constitutional sense because of their inevitable effect of foreclosing employment opportunities."
Laura Wong-Pan, Esq., represents the employee.
The Court's Decision & Order in the matter of O'Connor v. Town of Pleasant Valley can be accessed here.
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