If you work in HR for a New Jersey law enforcement agency, take heed: Agencies that adopt the New Jersey attorney general’s (AG) guidelines on disciplinary actions must follow those guidelines if they expect their disciplinary decisions to stick.
Recent case: Michael O’Rourke worked for the city of Lambertville as a police officer. O’Rourke believed that all civilian employees had to be fingerprinted and that he needed to do a thorough on them before allowing them access to the city’s computer systems. The director disagreed and fired O’Rourke for insubordination and neglect of duty.
O’Rourke sued, alleging the city hadn’t followed the guidelines it had adopted for disciplinary actions. The court ordered him reinstated, ruling that once the city had adopted the AG’s guidelines, it had to follow them. (O’Rourke v. City of Lambertville, No. A-0481-07T3, Superior Court of New Jersey, 2008)
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