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Court upholds limited-duty accommodation for state trooper

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Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has upheld an arbitrator’s decision granting desk duty to a Pennsylvania state trooper who has a history of depression.

The state trooper was repeatedly admitted for psychiatric care before a suicide attempt. The State Police removed him from duty and required him to submit to a psychiatric examination.

A police psychiatrist determined there was no job within the department that wouldn’t trigger the trooper’s depression and suicidal tendencies. Acting on the psychiatrist’s evaluation, the State Police terminated the officer.

He filed a grievance through the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, the union representing state troopers. The grievance went before an arbitrator, who ruled the trooper should be reinstated to a light-duty office position on the condition he surrender his weapon. The State Police filed suit in Commonwealth Court seeking to overturn the arbitrator’s decision. The court refused.

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