Cleveland Allowed To Lay Off Injured Police Officers

In January 2004, the City of Cleveland laid off approximately 250 police officers. Eight of the officers were on a status known as Hazardous Duty Injury leave (HDI). The City’s layoff decision meant that the disabled officers no longer received any HDI benefits.

The Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association challenged the City’s decision through the grievance procedure. An arbitrator rejected the grievance.

The Arbitrator reasoned that the HDI provisions in the collective bargaining agreement allowed the City to terminate employees who had been on HDI status for two years. In the Arbitrator’s judgment, the contract “was not drafted in the context of a layoff or in contemplation of all ways that HDI could terminate. Therefore, this language cannot be used to exclude layoffs as a way to terminate HDI status.”

The Arbitrator also found that the failure of the contract to deal with the issue of HDI status in the event of a layoff granted the City the discretion to terminate HDI leave.

City of Cleveland, Ohio and Cleveland Patrolman’s Association, LAIG 6494 (Weatherspoon, 2007).

This article appears in the September 2007 issue