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Progressive discipline before severe discipline
Officer Douglas was suspended without pay for ten days due to an investigation based on misconduct.  Several allegations were made against Officer Douglas including that he was insubordinate, derelict in his duties, that he violated the district’s computer policy, and that he made disparaging remarks about superior officers.  At hearing, it was further alleged that he was untruthful in the investigation.  The department contended that his actions merited severe punitive action such as a ten day suspension. The decision was appealed by Officer Douglas, and he was represented by Nicole Valentine of Goyette & Associates Inc.  When the validity of the charges and the state of the action imposed were put to question a very different outcome surfaced.
During the appeal process it was brought to light that an individual who testified against Officer Douglas made an untruthful report motivated by hostility towards Douglas. Furthermore, when a superior officer was questioned with regards to a policy violation involving personal use of office computers, he testified that the personal use was permitted, and that the violation of policy, “…would have been my [superior officer’s] fault.” Of all the allegations, insubordinate conduct was singularly sustained.  It was shown that the remarks made by Officer Douglas were the type of comments typically made by employees about their superior officers.  As it was Officer Douglas’s first disciplinary action in his three years with that department he was entitled under District policy to “progressive discipline before he is subjected to ‘severe discipline’ such as a suspension without pay.”

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