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Arbitration Wins State Trooper Back His Job

Tuesday, July, 24, 2012

An Ohio State Trooper recently took on the system and won, fighting for his job. The weapon he used to get his career back was employment arbitration.


The trooper was fired in March 2011. While he quickly filed for arbitration, getting his job back in November of that year, the records have only now come out, due to the freedom of information act.

Why Was the Ohio State Trooper Fired?


Kamal Nelson was relieved of his duty as an officer on the 24th of March, 2011. The official reasons were making false statements, improper use of equipment, and conduct unbecoming an officer.


What really happened was that Nelson was found to be having an affair with a married woman, sometimes seeing her during his on-duty time.


Officer Nelson met the woman at a crash scene while he was on duty.

How Employment Arbitration Got a Man His Job Back


Nelson's arbitration attorney Herschel M. Segall argued that while the officer was guilty of the charges, the punishment simply did not fit the crime. The case was reviewed by a panel of troopers, then sent to a third party arbitration specialist.


An unfairness was cited by the arbitration lawyer was the lack of what is known as "progressive discipline." Nelson had had no discipline problems before the affair.


Normally, employees of all kinds will receive "progressive discipline" before being terminated: a succession of write-ups, warnings, and stricter disciplinary actions before their employment was ended.


Such was not the case with Officer Nelson.

The Arbitration Attorney's Other Arguments


One of the biggest points made by Nelson and his lawyer were that other, higher-ranking officers had faced similar charges over even more serious extramarital affairs—yet they kept their jobs after the allegations.


The third-party arbiter said that while there was enough evidence for the state to seek discipline against Nelson, firing him was above and beyond what should have been done. There was also contention that false claims had been made against the State Trooper.


While Nelson was suspended for 15 days without pay—a standard disciplinary action—he also received back pay for the period in which he was unemployed, a period of over 7 months.