Week 6 Discussion 2
“Public Employees’ Liability for Constitutional Torts” Please respond to the following:
Debate It: Take a position for or against this statement: Public sector employees charged with offenses outside of the workplace should be held accountable and liable for their actions – written reprimand, administrative leave, or dismissal from public service. Provide two reasons and examples to support your position.
Public sectors employees charged with offenses outside the workplace should be held accountable and liable for their actions. The level at which they are held accountable or liable is relative depending on the offense. “Charged with offenses” is a broad statement. If a public sector employee is speeding, fined with a minor traffic violation and given a ticket, pays the fees associated with the ticket, no harm, not foul. However, if the offense is a more serious crime, then yes, they should be held accountable and liable. In a current case in Georgia, a sheriff office was allowed to leave the scene of a crime after shooting a woman. This was not the sheriff officer’s first offensive; he has been in trouble with law enforcement before. In my opinion, this officer should be dismissed from public services. Again, depending on the nature of the offensive, the punishment should fit the crime.
Hypothesize a situation in which a public administrator or employee should have the constitutional right to disobey a directive ordered by a superior. Provide at two reasons and examples to support your position.
A public administrator or employee should have the constitutional right to disobey a directive order if the order is unlawful or if it goes against the employee’s religious beliefs. In fact, “To prevail in asserting a constitutional right to disobey unconstitutional directives, the employee may have to show (1) that the refusal to obey was based on a sincere belief that the action at issue was unconstitutional and (2) that he or she is correct in his or her legal assessment.” (Riccucci, 2012, p. 113). Superiors should understand that asking subordinates to perform duties that are unlawful are not upheld in higher courts.