Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Hearing officer in state employee case can reduce discipline for misconduct

In Tatum v. Va. Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Court of Appeals in an opinion by Senior Judge Coleman joined by Judges Benton and Annunziate dealt with a state employee grievance case, where the hearing officer found the employee guilty of misconduct but reduced the punishment, and the Circuit Court held that the hearing officer had no authority to change the punishment for the misconduct. The Court concluded that the hearing officer is "is expressly authorized to reduce the discipline if the officer finds that the level or severity of discipline for the misconduct was too severe," and had acted within his authority under Va. Code 2.2-3005.

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