Monday, February 4, 2013

Police officer who lost license to carry weapon properly terminated

Arbitrator Phillip Dunn has upheld the termination of a police officer who  lost his license to carry a weapon. The Quincy, Mass. Chief of Police had revoked grievant's license to carry, apparently for incidents arising from a dispute with his neighbors. Patriot Ledger: Quincy police chief revokes officer's gun permit. The City thereafter terminated the employment of grievant for, among other reasons, the revocation of his license to carry a weapon. The officer appealed that revocation to the Quincy District Court, and the court upheld the Chief's actions. Following the court's decision the parties agreed to submit  to the arbitrator the issue of whether the license revocation, standing alone, provided just cause for the termination.

The City maintained that it had a longstanding policy requiring officers to posses a valid license to carry, and argued that the arbitrator was without jurisdiction to review the Chief's decision to revoke the license. The Quincy Police Patrol Officer's Association noted that there was a separate process which would have allowed the grievant to carry a weapon, and that the mere revocation of the license was insufficient to support the termination.

Refusing to reverse the termination, Arbitrator Dunn concluded that "the record convincingly  establishes that the Department has consistently maintained for years the requirement that all Quincy police officers must posses a license to carry, as a condition of continued employment."  The arbitrator recognized that the authority of the Chief to decide grievant's suitability for a license, with review of that decision exclusively in the District Court on an abuse of discretion standard "does leave the employee with a distinctly less robust avenue for challenging his/her termination based upon a loss of LTC ...", but concluded that he did not have the authority to review that decision.

Accordingly, Arbitrator Dunn concluded:

The City for decades has required that the police officers in Quincy maintain a valid LTC, as a condition of continuing employment. The chief revoked the grievant's license [sic] LTC, the grievant appealed to the District Court, and the Court  affirmed the chief's revocation action. Given these circumstances, the City had just cause to terminate the grievant's employment, without consideration of the other bases for the termination. reports on the decision, Quincy cop's firing upheld; lack of gun license cited here. Arbitrator Dunn's award can be found here.

Update:For a similar dispute with a different result see Award reinstating police officer without License to Carry weapon confirmed.

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