Town of Stratford v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 15, Local 407
There is a well-defined public policy in Connecticut against police officers intentionally lying in connection with their employment. Justin Loschiavo, a town of Stratford police officer, experienced an epileptic seizure while operating a police vehicle and struck parked cars. His personal physician cleared him to return to duty. The town referred Loschiavo to a neurologist who also cleared Loschiavo to return to work conditioned on Loschiavo being allowed to call out sick whenever he felt signs of an impending seizure. Discrepancies were discovered between the information supplied to Loschiavo's personal physician and the neuroglist in that Loschiavo did not inform the neurologist of other seizures and regarding his alcohol consumption. This information was relayed and a second examination conducted. The town charged Loschiavo with a violation of police department policy for lying during the independent medical examination and, following a hearing, terminated him. The union filed a grievance. After a hearing before the State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, the arbitration panel sustained the grievance and ordered the town to reinstate Loschiavo, finding his termination excessive. The trial court denied the town's application to vacate the award. The town appealed claiming that the court erred in determining that the award reinstating Loschiavo was not against public policy. The Appellate Court reversed the judgment. The Appellate Court agreed with the town's claim that there is a well-defined public policy in Connecticut against police officers intentionally lying in connection with their employment and that the policy is set forth plainly in case law and C.G.S. §54-86c, Connecticut's codification of the rule in Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court case. The Connecticut cases cited included the 1984 Superior Court decision in International Brotherhood of Police Officers v. Windsor and 2006 Superior Court decision in Bloomfield v. United Electrical Radio & Machine Workers of America/Connecticut Independent Police Union, Local No. 14, reversed on other grounds. The union conceded that Loschiavo intentionally lied during the medical examination concerning the conditions that would allow him safely to return to work and perform his duties. The arbitration panel's determination to reinstate Loschiavo in spite of this conduct ran contrary to the well-defined public policy against intentional dishonesty by police officers in connection with their employment. Accordingly, the award could not stand.