Respondent, a hospital institutional aide, was charged with failing to follow protocol for returning found property and with being intoxicated while on duty. Respondent took possession of a patient's clock radio that was left behind during a patient move. Respondent testified that she placed the radio on her cart for safekeeping, with the intent of giving it to her supervisor at the end of her shift, but that she was confronted by the patient's son before she could do so and she returned it to him. ALJ Alessandra F. Zorgniotti recommended dismissal of the charge. Petitioner did not prove that respondent was on notice of a rule or policy mandating the immediate report of lost property to a supervisor. Her decision to wait until the end of her shift to bring the radio to housekeeping was not so unreasonable as to be considered negligence. As for the intoxication charge, the son's claim that he smelled alcohol on respondent's breath when he walked alongside her was contradicted by surveillance video which showed respondent left the room first and the son followed several paces behind and testimony from respondent's supervisor, who did not smell alcohol. Dismissal of intoxication charge recommended. Health & Hospitals Corp. (Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital) v. Savain, OATH Index No. 217/15 (Nov. 5, 2014).
Respondent, a service aide, was charged with five individual absences without authorization, a long-term period of absence without authorization and failing to adhere to two directives to resolve her employment status. The charges were established by documentary evidence and the testimony of petitioner's witnesses. Respondent had been previously disciplined for similar wrongdoing and was aware of petitioner's policies and procedures. Thus, ALJ Kara J. Miller recommended termination of respondent's employment. Health & Hospitals Corp. (Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Nursing & Rehabilitation Ctr.) v. Ellis, OATH Index No. 1710/14 (Nov. 25, 2014).
Petitioner sought to place respondent, a clerical associate, on an involuntary leave of absence under Section 72 of the Civil Service Law, alleging that she is mentally unfit to perform the duties of her position. Petitioner had directed respondent to undergo psychiatric evaluation after respondent continually exhibited inappropriate, disruptive, and aggressive behavior at work. The evaluating psychiatrist offered testimony and a report declaring that respondent suffered from a severe functional psychiatric disorder and that her behavior was incompatible with her work duties. Respondent maintained that she was fit to work, submitting a one-paragraph letter from her treating psychiatrist. Following a hearing, ALJ Astrid B. Gloade found petitioner's proof more persuasive and she recommended that respondent be placed on Section 72 disability leave. Human Resources Admin. v. M.O., OATH Index No. 173/15 (Nov. 21, 2014).