North Olmsted police officer given job back after being fired for sick time abuse

North Olmsted police officer given job back after being fired for sick time abuse

NORTH OLMSTED, OH (WOIO) - A North Olmsted police officer that was fired in 2013 will have to be rehired, an arbitrator ruled today.

Officer Christopher Fox was with the North Olmsted police department for 23 years, and was fired in November 2013, accused of abusing his sick time.

According to records, Fox would often take sick days in conjunction with scheduled days off. In 2013, Fox called off sick a total of 56 hours, and 40 of those hours were next to days off.

Captain Ron Cox conducted the investigation, saying that Fox's sick days were approved but the pattern was ruled as abuse. Cox added the abuse began back in 1998.

Fox was reprimanded a total of nine times for sick leave abuse, with punishments ranging from written reprimands to suspensions and restriction.

One day in 2009, Fox called off, saying he had been drinking all day, according to the arbitration papers.

In 2012 Chief Gallagher suspended fox for 30 days, and told him that if he abused his sick days again, he would be fired.

As the pattern of sick days abuse continued, the chief and safety director terminated Fox's employment with the city on November 21, 2013. On that day, Fox filed his grievance and an investigation was launched.

Fox maintained that all his sick days were approved by a supervisor, and that he was too sick to work. The police union agreed.

The city said Fox abused sick days by showing a pattern of calling off before or after days off. He was reprimanded several times and did not change his behavior.

The arbitrator, James Mancini, ruled that Fox would get his job back with full seniority, citing his experience and approval of the sick days.

However, he would not be given back pay. The time off would be considered 'severe discipline' for sick time abuse.

Police could not say when Officer Fox would return to work.

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