Case Summaries on Legal Compliance
with Quinlan Publishing Group
Fired officer sees possibility of reinstatement -- police union must represent him
In Manchester, N.H., a state labor board recently ruled that a terminated police officer's rights were violated by his labor union as well as the police department that made the decision to fire him.
On Oct. 24, 2003, a Manchester resident called the police to report that her roommate's dog had been stolen, and she named Officer Marc Desilet as a possible suspect. After the theft, the roommate went to Desilet's house and found the dog.
When the police spoke to Desilet, he first claimed that his wife had found the dog, but he later changed his story, saying his wife had stolen the dog but that he had had nothing to do with it. Through its investigation, however, the police department concluded that while Desilet's wife had stolen the dog, Desilet had first driven by the house to make sure that no one was home.
After learning of the city's intent to terminate his employment, Desilet's went to the police union, but the union refused to represent him because he had not been paying his dues when the alleged dog theft occurred.
In its ruling, the labor board held that the union was required to represent Desilet in spite of his failure to pay dues. Furthermore, the hearing officer ruled that the police department also violated his rights by not allowing him time to find a union official to represent him during an interview or to have a union representative present during an interview and polygraph test.
Though the board's ruling does not require his reinstatement to the force, it opens the door for him to have another hearing concerning the accusations, and this time with representation.
Source: Associated Press