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Failure to Comply in the Home Assignment Resulted in Washington Employee’s Termination

The Washington State Personnel Appeals Board (PAB) has held that dismissal of a Washington Department of Corrections (WDOC) employee was appropriate where the employee neglected his duty, was insubordinate, engaged in gross misconduct, and willfully violated WDOC policies when he left his home assignment on two occasions while on duty.

Mark Aldrich, a Community Corrections Officer, was reassigned to his home on September 29, 2003, pending an investigation. A letter from WDOC told Aldrich he was to be available by telephone during his scheduled work shift, notify his supervisor if he was required to leave his home during his scheduled shift, and to obtain his supervisor’s permission if he had to leave his home during his shift.

On, November 21, 2003, at 4:42 p.m., Aldrich was involved in a head on collision, registering a blood alcohol level of .043. Not only did that collision result in a felony charge of Vehicular Assault, but it occurred while Aldrich was on duty and he had not received permission to leave his home. On December 5, 2003, telephone calls and a personal visit to Aldrich’s home by his supervisor was unsuccessful in making contact with Aldrich.

Aldrich was ultimately charged with insubordination, neglect of duty by failing to be available, gross misconduct, and willful violation of agency policies. Because he violated the terms of his assignment and drank on duty, which resulted in a serious accident, it was felt Aldrich “failed to model appropriate behavior” and “was no longer competent to perform” his duty of supervising felons.

In light of these well established facts and Aldrich’s previous reprimand and letters of concern related to failure to fulfill his job duties, the PAB held the dismissal was appropriate and denied Aldrich’s appeal. See Aldrich v. Department of Corrections, PAB No:Dsm-04-0058 (2005). The PAB ruling is in the brief bank.

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Related legal case

Aldrich v. Department of Corrections