In the case entitled, In The Matter of Poplawski, 33-2-0649, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division rendered a decision that upheld the New Jersey Department of Personnel, Merit System Board’s decision that the removal of the Appellant’s name from a promotional list was proper due to his past disciplinary history. Poplawski appealed his employer’s action of removing his name from a promotional list due to his alleged adverse employment history. Poplawski’s employment history included two adverse actions that resulted in suspensions from employment due to charges centering around N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3 (a) 6, conduct unbecoming a public employee. Both of the charges that resulted in suspension were disposed of by way of settlement agreement. The Appellate Division held that the Merit System Board’s actions were not arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable due to the fact that the Appellant had actually agreed with the disposal of the disciplinary charges by a settlement and based upon the same, the action’s of the board were upheld.
It is important to remember that the disposal of discipline by way of a settlement agreement may seem like a good idea when you are staring down the charges. However, settlement agreements can have repercussions concerning promotion from a civil service list of eligibles. Thus, if at all possible, when disposing of charges by way of settlement agreement, a clause that states that the discipline can not be used against the employee for promotion should be included.