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NEPBA WINS ARBITRATION ON BEHALF OF NORFOLK HOUSE OF CORRECTION OFFICER

The Grievant, received a three-day unpaid suspension based upon two distinct reasons, (1) for allegedly ignoring a direct order to attend an investigatory interview on September 28, 2021, and (2) for allegedly failing to secure and properly account for inmate funds. The arbitrator held that the employer, the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office (NSO), despite the calling ten witnesses, failed to meet their burden of proof for both allegations and rescinded the three-day suspension in its entirety.

In rescinding the suspension at issue, the arbitrator relied upon the fact that an employee must receive clear notice of both what the employer expects as well as the range of penalties that may be imposed for failing to meet the employer’s expectations.

The arbitrator also relied on the premise that once discipline for a given offence is impose, it cannot thereafter be increased. (How Arbitration Works Elkouri (Ch 15.3.F.vi: Double Jeopardy). Here, the Grievant was specifically informed that if she violated the order to attend a second investigatory interview on September 29th she would be placed on unpaid leave, not suspended.

Concerning the second allegation, that the Grievant allegedly failed to secure and properly account for inmate funds, the arbitrator again found that NSO had failed to meet their burden of proof. Specifically, the arbitrator held that there was no evidence that the Grievant was on notice that inmate funds must be counted by hand. Further, the evidence established that there was no policy that otherwise required inmate funds to be counted by hand or that the Grievant had otherwise been instructed by a supervisor to do so prior to the incident in question.

Click here to read the entire case.

NEPBA ATTORNEYS RESPONSE TO DECISION

Court says POST Questions 6 & 7 are Unconstitutional – NEPBA granted partial injunction

In response to a consolidated lawsuit filed by Nolan | Perroni on behalf of the NEPBA (and the Worcester Police Patrol Officers and President Dan Gilbert, NEPBA’s representative local union), and other unions, the Suffolk Superior Court today enjoined POST from requiring officers to answer two of the most objectionable questions on the recertification questionnaire.The Court held that Question 6, regarding social media posts that could be perceived as biased, was, as NEPBA argued, unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment’s protections of Free Speech.  In striking down Question 6, the Court stated “grounding these questions in wholly subjective, indiscernible standards does not comport with Constitutional requirements.”Also, the Court rejected Question 7, which requires disclosure of membership in certain organizations, as an unconstitutional invasion of the right to privacy of association and belief protected by the First Amendment.  As argued by the NEPBA, the Court noted that “Question Number 7 makes no effort to limit disclosure to the type of membership that might actually indicate some bias … but, rather, seeks information that by and large is irrelevant…”The Court Ordered that POST may not ask officers Questions 6 and 7 as part of the recertification process and that officers that have not yet responded to the Questionnaire need not respond to Questions 6 and 7.  For Officers that have already responded to the Questionnaire, the court ordered that their answers to Questions 6 and 7 may not be used, directly or indirectly, as a basis for denial of recertification.The court considered several other arguments advanced by the unions but only ordered that Questions 6 & 7 were unconstitutional and appropriate for the extraordinary relief in the form of an injunction.This case, and the ongoing effort to protect the constitutional rights of law enforcement officers, is extremely important to the entire NEPBA Executive Committee. We are still analyzing this decision together with the NEPBA. In the meantime, a copy is attached below.

Read decision here: