Monday, March 05, 2012

Applying an employer’s anti-fraternization policy

Applying an employer’s anti-fraternization policy
Source: Portland [Maine] Press Herald news report

OATH Administrative Law Judge John B. Spooner sustained charges that a correction officer engaged in undue familiarity with an ex-inmate and made false statements about the relationship and recommended that the correction officer be dismissed. [See http://www.publicpersonnellaw.blogspot.com/2012/02/hearing-officer-recommends-correction.html ]

The arbitrator in another “prohibited association” case came to a different conclusion and ruled that a State of Maine Bureau of Insurance insurance examiner who married a woman who worked for an insurance company should not have been terminated from his position.

According to Portland [Maine] Press Herald, the examiner told his supervisor that “he might want to date” a woman that he had noticed while performing an audit of an insurance company. His supervisor told the examiner not to socialize with the woman while he was conducting the audit. The examiner complied with his superior’s instruction but after completing the audit the examiner contacted the woman and ultimately they married.

When his supervisor directed the examiner to conduct another audit of the insurance company he declined, contending that it constitute a conflict of interest for him to do so. Ultimately Anne Head, commissioner of the Maine Department of Financial and Professional Regulation wrote the examiner, stating that "Your marriage to an insurance company manager represents a conflict of interest. As a result of this determination, your employment with the Bureau of Insurance will cease."

The arbitrator ruled that “the State did not have grounds to fire [the insurance examiner] simply because he got married.” The arbitrator found that there was no evidence that “the bureau considered any alternatives to termination, in terms of assignment of other duties.” Ruling that the examiner should not have terminated from his employment by the Bureau, the arbitrator directed that the examiner be reinstated to his former position with back pay.

Handbooks focusing on State and Municipal Public Personnel Law continue to be available for purchase via the links provided below:

The Discipline Book at http://thedisciplinebook.blogspot.com/

Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions at http://nypplarchives.blogspot.com

The Disability Benefits E-book: at http://section207.blogspot.com/

Layoff, Preferred Lists at http://nylayoff.blogspot.com/

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