Village of Cobleskill Violates Employment Rights of Former Employee, According to Lawsuit

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Former sewage treatment plant superintendent files lawsuit against village to get his prior job back.

I hope to have the opportunity to resolve this situation and continue to apply my skills to better the village’s sewer plant.

A lawsuit has been filed in the state of New York Supreme Court in Schoharie County against the village of Cobleskill regarding the village’s violation of a former employee’s rights under the Civil Service Law.

The lawsuit, Pahls v. Village of Cobleskill, arises from the termination of the village’s sewage treatment plant superintendent Christian Pahls. Pahls was promoted to the superintendent position in 2007 and terminated just under a year later in relation to misconstrued comments regarding the denial of his request for a performance evaluation.

In the lawsuit, Maria C. Tebano, Esq., Pahls’ attorney, alleges that the village of Cobleskill violated the Civil Service Law in their failure to reinstate Pahls to his prior position once he was terminated from the superintendent position. The lawsuit cites that Civil Service Law provides that the prior position should have been left vacant until the successful completion of Pahls’ probationary period as superintendent.

Further, Tebano states in the lawsuit that Pahls should have been entitled to a hearing regarding his termination and the village’s refusal to reinstate him to the prior position, which never occurred.

“Considering the arbitrary nature of Mr. Pahls’ termination, there is no reason why he should not be given the opportunity to have his former position back. A comment taken out of context does not give the village the right to violate Mr. Pahls’ rights,” said Tebano, who serves as a partner at the Albany law firm Tully Rinckey PLLC. “It is unjust that a committed, veteran employee be treated with this level of disrespect. His tenure with the village of Cobleskill is completely unblemished and a true testament to the meaning of a dedicated employee.”

Prior to his termination, Pahls was employed by the village of Cobleskill for 19 years.

“I dedicated my career to serving the village of Cobleskill and worked hard to make it up the ranks,” said Pahls, who is a resident of Schoharie County. “I hope to have the opportunity to resolve this situation and continue to apply my skills to better the village’s sewer plant.”

The Article 78 petition, which is the document used to sue municipalities, was filed in March in the state of New York Supreme Court in Schoharie County under civil index number 2009-114 and RJI number 47-6730-09.

Tebano is available for comment on Pahls’ case. For more information or to speak with Tebano, please contact Caitlin Merrill at 518-755-2789 or via email at cmerrill(at)tullylegal.com.

Tully Rinckey PLLC is one of the fastest growing full-service law firms in the Capital Region and is dedicated to providing quality legal representation and customer service to individuals, families and businesses throughout New York’s Capital and Hudson Valley Regions. The team of attorneys, paralegals, and professionals helps clients in a wide range of practice areas. The firm maintains a website, http://www.tullylegal.com, with additional information about its attorneys, achievements, and news stories involving the firm’s work.

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Caitlin Merrill
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