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Washington Guard’s Pay Reduced for Sleeping on Duty

The State of Washington Personnel Appeals Board (PAB) has denied the appeal of McNeil Island Corrections Center Guard Eric Baker, who was disciplined for sleeping on duty.

While assigned to perform hospital watch of a special commitment Center resident at Tacoma General Hospital on January 1, 2005, Baker did not respond or react when Sgt. Joel Estes entered the room and greeted the resident in a loud voice. It was only after Estes tapped the bottom of Baker’s shoe that he woke up, saying he “must have dozed off.”

Estes wrote an Employee Conduct Report alleging he observed Appellant sleeping or giving the appearance of sleeping on duty. During an administrative review, Baker admitted he “probably nodded off for a few seconds.” For the infraction, Baker’s pay was reduced effective May 16, 2005 through April 15, 2005.

The Personnel Appeals Board held the facts supported the disciplinary action to impress upon Baker the seriousness of sleeping on duty, which creates a serious safety risk. It also noted that Baker had received five letters of reprimand from August 1999 to March 2005for offences that ranged from being arrested for DUI, providing false information and making false allegations against another staff member, to not reporting to work. Baker’s appeal was denied.

See: Baker v. Department of Corrections, PAB No – RED -05-0025 (2006). The PAB ruling is in the brief bank.

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Related legal case

Baker v. Department of Corrections