Phillips v. Dept. of Public Safety Standards and Training

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Labor Law
  • Date Filed: 12-09-2015
  • Case #: A150444
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J., for the Court; Hadlock, J.; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When an employment case is heard by an administrator and his findings pertain to allegations of misconduct under OAR 259-008-0070 then the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training must consider that issue resolved in a certification case. However, if the administrator’s decision on allegations of misconduct is not made under OAR 259-008-0070 then the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is able to review the issues of the case for misconduct under that statute despite the arbitrator’s decision.

Phillips requested review of a final order issued by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) in which her certifications as a corrections officer were revoked for failure to meet minimum moral fitness standards. Phillips was involved in two incidents at a non-secured facility involving humiliation and potential safety issues with inmates resulting in the termination of Phillips’ employment. A grievance arbitration proceeding then occurred wherein the arbitrator issued a reinstatement of Phillips. The arbitrator stated that there was misconduct on one incident, but not to the point of termination as a result, and that the other incident, involving a holding cell, was not misconduct per say but that Phillips acted unprofessionally. Marion County did not reinstate Phillips and asked DPSST to revoke her certifications under OAR 259-008-007-(4). Phillips argued that DPSST violated OAR 259-008-0070-(9) by “referring the holding cell incident to the Policy Committee and Board for review.” This Court concluded that though the holding cell incident was reviewed by an arbitrator and found to not be misconduct in his order, the holding was narrowed to the rule that the county used to impose suspension on Phillips and not whether it was misconduct under OAR 259-008-007-(4). Affirmed.

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