Written by attorney Kevin P. Sheerin

Character and Medical Disqualifications from Police Departments

Overview of medical and psychological disqualifications

The NYS Civil Service Law along with the NYC Charter authorizes the DCAS Commissioner to disqualify a potential candidate to a competitive position for failure to meet medical and psychological standards. If this occurs, the candidate has the right to appeal the disqualification to the New York City Civil Service Commission.

Section 814(a)(6) of the New York City Charter provides that the DCAS Commissioner investigates and reviews the qualifications of applicants for positions in civil service.

Section 813(d) of the Charter provides that the CCSC has the power to hear and determine appeals.

Section 815(a)(5) provides that agency heads assist DCAS in reviewing and evaluating a candidate’s qualifications, a Section 815(a)(18) permits the delegation by the DCAS Commissioner of certain personnel management functions to agency heads.

It is the Hiring Agency’s responsibility to ensure that these processes are followed with regard to candidates for positions in its agency.

The CCSC will forward appeals and documentation, if submitted, in support of an appeal of medical and psychological disqualifications to the office within each Hiring Agency for such purpose. The Hiring Agency will first ascertain that the appeal to the CCSC was filed by the candidate within thirty days of the date of the action. If the candidate did not file the appeal with the CCSC in a timely fashion, the Hiring Agency will request that the appeal be dismissed on that basis.

When filed in a timely fashion, the Hiring Agency will, prior to preparing any submission to the CCSC to support the disqualification, afford the disqualified candidate sixty days in which to submit medical documentation to support the appeal.

If a candidate submits medical and/or psychological documentation to support the appeal from the disqualification, the CCSC will forward any new documentation to the office within each Hiring Agency identified for such purchase. The Hiring Agency will review and give due consideration to each new documentation commensurate with the weight of the new documentation. Review and consideration may include scrutiny of the documentation by a doctor of the Hiring Agency or an independent consultant, or a re-examination of the candidate.

In cases where a Hiring Agency decides not to rescind a disqualification, they are responsible for submitting to the CCSC a cover report explaining the decision to disqualify a candidate. The cover report must contain a reference to the specific medical or psychological standard not met by the candidate, an explanation of how the candidate did not meet this standard, how failure to meet standard prevents the candidate from performing an essential function of the position, and reference to any documentation supplied by the candidate with an explanation as to why said documentation does not serve as a basis to rescind the disqualification. Along with the cover report should be copies of all medical or psychological records that support the disqualification clearly labeled as records in support of the disqualification and copies of all medical or psychological records submitted by the candidate in support of their contention that he or she is qualified for the position clearly identified as records in support of the candidate’s appeal.

If an evidentiary hearing is determined necessary, the CCSC must forward the notice to the Hiring Agency and the Office Manager of the Office of the General Counsel of DCAS.

The Hiring Agency is responsible for maintaining statistics required by DCAS to ensure that the mandatory processes are being followed. Each Hiring Agency must maintain the statistics of the number of appeals forwarded to the Hiring Agency by the CCSC, the date on which the appeals were submitted to the CCSC, and the date on which cover reports were submitted to the CCSC.

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