Can an Individual Who has a Property Right in Employment be Suspended After He Has Been Issued a Notice of the Charges and an Opportunity to Respond ?
In Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 84 L. Ed. 2d 494, 105 S. Ct. 1487 (1985), the United States Supreme Court held that where an individual has a property right in employment, he may be suspended prior to a full due process removal hearing, but only after he has been afforded notice of the charges and an opportunity to respond.
The very limited pretermination hearing "should be an initial check against mistaken decisions--essentially, a determination of whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the charges against the employee are true and support the proposed action." Id. at 545-46.
The process need only include oral or written notice of the charges, an explanation of the employer's evidence, and an opportunity for the employee to tell his side of the story. Id. at 546; accord, Gilbert v. Homar, 520 U.S. 924, 138 L. Ed. 2d 120, 117 S. Ct. 1807 (1997) (suspension without pay of policeman at East Stroudsburg University after arrest on felony drug charges).
Notice is sufficient:
(1) if it apprises the vulnerable party of the nature of the charges and general evidence against him, and;
(2) if it is timely under the particular circumstances of the case. Gniotek v. City of Philadelphia, 808 F.2d 241 (3rd Cir. 1986).
However, advance notice is not required. Id.
"'The timing and content of notice ... will depend on appropriate accommodation of the competing interests involved.'" Id. at 244, quoting Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 565, 579, 42 L. Ed. 2d 725, 95 S. Ct. 729 (1975).