Case Results

Public Employee's Right to Records Prior to Disciplinary Hearing Affirmed by Court of Appeals

May 2017

Our client was fired and pursued a grievance regarding his termination. Prior to the hearing on his grievance, he requested and was denied records from his personnel file. The requested records were unredacted internal investigative notes used in the town's decision to fire him.

Edelstein & Payne sued the town manager in Superior Court and obtained a Writ of Mandamus ordering that the records be provided and that he be provided a new hearing regarding his termination. The town appealed the trial court's ruling and the Court of Appeals affirmed. This case is important because the Appellate decision held that our client actually had a Constitutional right, under the Due Process clause, to receive and review the records prior to his hearing. The Court ruled that the town's failure to timely provide the record deprived him of a meaningful opportunity to defend himself at the grievance hearing, and noted that "When the State chooses to afford procedural rights-- such as a grievance hearing for employees-- it must ensure that the the procedure comports with due process", which includes an opportunity to be heard "at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner."    

Practice area(s): Employment / Labor

Court: North Carolina Court of Appeals