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Friday, June 19, 2020

Illinois Supreme Court Rules on Destruction of Police Complaint Records

By a six to one vote, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected an effort by the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) to force the destruction of police complaint records that are more than five years old. The Court ruled that state law requiring retention of records overrides the FOP’s collective bargaining agreement language requiring destruction and that the contract language goes against public policy.

The FOP was seeking to enforce a section of its collective bargaining agreement with the City of Chicago that requires old police complaint files to be destroyed after five years. The union argued that if the City wanted to preserve the records it should renegotiate the contract, and that it was unfair for officers to have a trail of complaints follow them throughout their careers. The City had been attempting to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement section allowing destruction of complaints against police officers since 1991.

With respect to the arbitration decision in favor of the FOP, the Illinois Supreme Court found the City satisfied the narrow public policy exception to vacate arbitration awards that are based on collective bargaining agreements. Under this exception, the court will vacate an award if it is “repugnant to the established norms of public policy.” This is determined by applying a two-part test. The first part requires the identification of a well-defined and dominant public policy, found in the Local Records Act. Then, the test looks to determine whether the arbitrator’s award violated the public policy. Here, the Illinois Supreme Court held that the arbitration award violated an explicit, well-defined, and dominant public policy, and so it invalidated the collective bargaining agreement section in question.

Read the full opinion here.

Post Authored by Catherine Coghlan and Daniel J. Bolin, Ancel Glink

1 comment:

  1. Welcome to our issues from the other side of the law for one or more mistakes... If they get a clean slate so do we... End of my point & discussion