Terminated Officer Reinstated with Back Pay after Arbitration Hearing
Friday, January, 15, 2016
An arbitrator recently ruled in favor of a police sergeant who had been terminated by the Western Springs police force. The sergeant requested and received back pay, after claiming to have been fired without cause and based on a medical condition.
Sergeant Mark Battista, who has a 23 year history with the force, filed a union grievance after he was fired in October 2014. The hearing lasted two days and included a single arbitrator who ruled the village of Western Springs had failed to show just cause when terminating Battista and that they did not prove their claims that there had been a pattern of misconduct during his time with the force.
The village claimed that for nearly a year, Battista had obstructed, delayed, and ultimately refused to provide medical information, and that he had engaged in insubordinate misconduct, all because he wanted to work a fixed day shift. Information concerning Battista’s medical record has been redacted from the ruling and is not viewable by the general public.
However, Battista’s federal lawsuits states he has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, shift work disorder, and circadian rhythm disorder. The suit notes Battista experienced no medical problems working nightshifts prior to 2012, and further points how he had never been disciplined for any wrongdoing. Battista has submitted reports from his doctor regarding his health issues, and the diagnoses were confirmed by a doctor requested by the village.
Though the arbitrator found in favor of Battista, she did find that he should be disciplined for failing to disclose full medical information about his condition. He will likely receive a 30 day suspension related to his back pay because of this charge.