MINEOLA, N.Y. (CN) - An administrative law judge sued New York, claiming he was demoted after he resisted plans to beef up the workload for his department without paying overtime or hiring new staff.
Leonard R. Shapiro claims that since 2008, his office at the state Department of Labor's Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board has received a "surge of cases" and that his office was pushed to resolve them faster than normally.
"The increased demands to resolve more cases at a faster rate overly burdensome for the ALJ's, particularly supervising ALJs in counties beyond the New York City main offices who must often hear cases of their own, must always supervise their judges, and monitor contact between administrative staff and the public," Shapiro says in the complaint in Nassau County Supreme Court.
Shapiro claims that since the push, he and other senior ALJs worked 9 hours per day, "sometimes late into the evening."
In the summer of 2009, funding for overtime ran out, but the defendant members of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board continued to expect Shapiro and other senior judges to do the same amount of work in a 37½-hour work week.
"These expectations could not be met, especially given that the prior overtime work had resulted in substantial credits for compensatory time off, which had to be taken or if made impossible to take, would have rendered the compensatory time unusable," according to the complaint.
Shapiro claims that he and other judges brought the issues up with their superiors.
Shortly thereafter, Shapiro's job responsibilities had been "materially negatively altered," he says. He claims he was replaced by a younger, less-qualified judge, then passed over for a supervisor position in retaliation for complaining about the work load and increased expectations.
Shapiro claims that defendant UIAB Executive Director Susan Borenstein said: "Older senior judges were obstructionists who should all retire."
He sued the State of New York and UIAB members Borenstein, Leonard D. Polletta, Jason S. Myers, Matthew J. Tierney and Teresa A. De Meo, in their official and individual capacities.
He is represented by Rick Ostrove with Leeds Brown Law, of Carle Place, N.Y.