Sleeping Officer Properly Denied Standby Pay

The collective bargaining agreement between Lodge 9 of the Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Grove City, Ohio calls for “court standby pay” when officers are required to remain in ready status to report for court testimony. On June 26, 2007, a graveyard shift officer had a “court standby” subpoena for 10:00 a.m. The officer fell asleep, and did not respond to telephone calls seeking his appearance. At 11:47 a.m., he telephoned the Department and learned that the case had been dismissed as a result of his failure to appear.

Lodge 9 filed a grievance challenging the City’s failure to pay the officer the “court standby pay.” An arbitrator rejected the grievance.
The Arbitrator reasoned that “any reasonable person would conclude that the officer on standby status might be called to appear at 10 a.m. or any time thereafter on the same day. The subpoena, as it is referenced in the contract, defines when an officer wishing to qualify for standby pay must be available.” In the eyes of the Arbitrator, by falling asleep the officer was no longer “available,” and thus was not eligible for standby pay.

City Of Grove City, Ohio, LAIG 6824 (Gerhart, 2010).

This article appears in the May 2010 issue