Monday, December 3, 2001
LAPD Officer Not Entitled to Arbitrate Transfer Involving Loss of Pay—C.A.
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles City Charter does not require the city to arbitrate a police officer’s grievance challenging a pay reduction accompanying his involuntary transfer to another position, the Court of Appeal for this district ruled Friday.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League cannot force arbitration of the reduction in pay that accompanied Sgt. Robert Smith’s 1999 transfer from West Los Angeles to the Wilshire Station, Justice Norman Epstein wrote for Div. Four, because the transfer and concomitant pay reduction were “inextricably intertwined under the civil service system applicable to the police department.”
Smith, a 25-year veteran, was transferred while facing allegations of misconduct in connection with an officer-involved shooting incident. The department assigned him to less-demanding duties and consequently reduced his pay classification from Sergeant II to Sergeant I.
In his grievance, Smith alleged that the transfer violated a department rule conditioning a reduction in pay on a showing of inability to satisfactorily perform one’s duties, as well as a charter provision barring discipline without due process.
The LAPD declined to arbitrate, saying the issue was not grievable under its Memorandum of Understanding with the LAPPL and that Smith had waived any rights by not filing a written response within 30 days of being notified of the transfer.
The LAPPL then filed a petition to compel arbitration, citing the MOU’s grievance procedure and the arbitration provisions of the Los Angeles Administrative Code.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rodney E. Nelson denied the petition, saying that the MOU’s grant of exclusive authority to the chief of police to make assignments and order transfers, without right of grievance or arbitration, was controlling.
Epstein agreed, saying the MOU was clear. Past Court of Appeal decisions requiring the department to arbitrate certain grievances are not entitled to collateral estoppel effect, the justice said, because they did not involve the transfer authority.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company