Type of Action:
The case was reviewed by a lower court of the United States Court of Appeals. They ruled against Dixon and allowed the ruling for the City of New Richmond. Dixon tried to appeal the ruling of the case and affirmed the ruling of the District Courts. Judgement was granted by the United State District Courts for Western District of Wisconsin for New Richmond. The removal of Dixon as an officer on the departments call list was held by the Circuit of Appeals and it did not total to a suspension. The chief requested that Dixon return his credentials which that did not add to the removal, demotion, or contrastive discharge.
Facts of the Case:
In the year 1998 Dixon worked as a part time law enforcement officer with NRPD and Village of Somerset Police Department. In May Dixon became a full time officer with Somerset and stayed part time with NRPD. NRPD Dixon was part time and scheduled as an â€œas needed basisâ€. The Chief of Police for NRPD makes the decisions for staffing and decisions were based off of the need and availability of work.
A complaint was filed in January 2001 against Dixon with allegations of misconduct related to transportation grant, theft of evidence, violations of the alcoholic beverage laws, and falsification of time sheets. Dixonâ€™s attorney Michael Waterman reached out to NRPD and asked if NRPD would hold judgement until the case with Somerset was resolved. The chief of NRPD, Levi, advised they would do so but for the time being Dixon would no longer be assigned any part time shifts until he matter was resolved.
In February 2001 Somerset conducted a hearing. On February 15, 2001 there was a unanimous vote by the Somerset Police Review Board which advised Dixon did commit all of the alleged acts minus the alcohol beverage law violations. This led to the termination of Dixonâ€™s employment with Somerset. Dixon appealed the Somersetâ€™s decisionto the St. Croix County Circuit Court by the procedures set forth by Wisconsin Legislative 62.13(5).
Mark Samelstad became the new chief in September of 2001.Chief Levi informed Chief Samelstad about Dixonâ€™s situation and the agreement to wait about disciplinary action until the completion of the case with Somerset. Chief Samelstadcontacted Dixon in October of 2001requesting that Dixon return his credentials to NRPD in which Dixon did not obey and wanted to discuss it with his attorney. Dixonâ€™s attorney sent the chief a letter on October 11, 2001. The letter stated that Dixon still was considering himself working for NRPD as a part time officer and is willing to take any part time shift they had.
The ruling was affirmed by the Wisconsin circuit court on December 31, 2001 that there was enough evidence for the charges and for the termination of Dixon at Somerset. Dixon contacted the chief at NRPD in January 2002 and advised he was interested in the part time shifts. The chief on February 12, 2002 responded to Dixon stating he was listed as a part time officer but his position will be under review.
On February 20, 2002 the Chief contacted Dixon and made his aware that there is an internal investigation that will be conducted due to his dismissal from Somerset and offered to meet with Dixon in person to get his side of the story. Dixon failed to show after agreeing to meet with the chief on February 25, 2002. On February 22, 2002 Dixon filed a lawsuit stating NRPD denied him due process by demoting, suspending, removing, and/or constructively discharging him in January of 2001 when chief Levi took his name off of the call list and when the new chief Samelstad requested the return of his credentials.
On April 25, 2002 formal disciplinary actions began on Dixon when the chief initiated a report of charges with the New Richmond Police and Fire Commission (NRPFC). On May 22, 2002 a hearing before NRPFC was scheduled. On May 20, 2002 a letter was sent by Dixon to NRPFC stating that he was constructively discharged by NRPD and did not show up to the hearing that was scheduled on May 22. This hearing concluded that NRPFC terminated his employment on May 23, 2002 with NRPD.
Both parties moved for summary judgment in August of 2002 on Dixonâ€™s statements. The courts found that Dixon under the Wisconsin law has protected property interest in the job. But due to Dixon not being deprived of the interest due to NRPD not demoting, removing, suspending, or constructively firing him, he was not refused that interest. Even if Dixon was deprived of interests the courted further found that in January 2001 Dixon was only eligible for post-deprivation actions. In May 2002 a hearing with NRPFC was conducted and Dixon declined his attendance to the hearing. Consequently, Dixonâ€™s motion was repudiated and NRPDâ€™s motion was approved. The appeal continued.
Contentions of the Parties:
Dixon argues that he was deprived of his protected interest and deprived of his due process.
NRPD argued that under the Fourteenth Amendment certain types of property is protected. There needs to be a legitimate claim of rights that a protected person must have rather than a one-sided expectancy of reimbursements. To be able to have the due process the employee must have an expectation that they still are employed at the workplace to start the due process.
Removing Dixon from the call list of part time employees did not equal up to a suspension.
The decision of the courts was that NRPD or its officials did not deprive Dixon of a protected property interest. The court found that there was no deprivation and the judgement was ruled in the favor of NRPD was confirmed.
The employment at NRPD was an as needed basis with Dixon. Dixon did not comply with the investigation and he did not argue the reasons for his dismissal at Somerset. Simply requesting Dixonâ€™s credentials did require a dismissal from NRPD since they were acting in good faith of the publicâ€™s interest.
Rule of Law:
Constructive discharge happens when an employee resigns due to the working conditions with the employer being intolerable.
Lindale v. Tokheim Corp.,
145 F.3d 953
, 955 (7th Cir.1998).