Police and correction agencies have stipulated policies regarding hiring and recruitment of employees. Considerations of age, height, weight, vision have to be factored during hiring and recruitment process. The critical issue to consider is whether these validity tests are objective enough to gauge the skills and expertise that are required without them being discriminative.
Affirmative action arises when someone from a minority group is considered for an employment opportunity at the expense of someone from a majority group who might have better qualifications than those of the employee taken. For affirmative action plan to be acceptable, it should serve to correct an iniquity and should be implemented only when there is a significant disparity.
It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race sexual orientation without basing their considerations on more concrete standards like qualifications and skill. This is the case of disparate treatment. Under bona fide occupational qualifier (BFOQ), an employer is allowed to discriminate based on the nature conditions of work.
The question of how old is too old should not deter one from performing his/her duties as long as he/she performs them effectively and efficiently. Youthfulness is not a guarantee for public safety. An officer should however be fit so as to be able to perform his duties efficiently.
Property rights and work place safety
An employee has a right to treat his employment as a property and as such it should be protected. A probationary employee however does not have a right to treat his employment as a property, unless he has been on probation for at least six months. Policy makers such as sheriffs have exceptions to the property interest view as they can hire and fire employees or reassign them to other positions at will.
The working conditions of criminal justice employees are usually dangerous. Adequate training and close supervision are more emphasized rather than physical plans to offer safety at the work place. Life insurance, supervision pension and disability pension are some of the measures justice employees can seek to receive compensation in case of injuries sustained at the work place.
Constitutional rights of criminal justice employees
Some universal rights of criminal justice employees have to be checked owing to the nature of their work. Their freedom of speech, association and religion are somehow restricted though to a reasonable level.
Workplace harassment occurs when an employees physical or verbal conduct creates a hostile working environment or when a supervisors harassment leads to a change in terms and conditions of employment for example salary and benefits reduction. Some behaviors that can lead to charges of work place harassment include: leering in sexually suggestive manner, making offensive remarks about looks, body parts, touching in a manner that makes another employee feel uncomfortable, sending / making lewd letters and jokes, making racially derogatory remarks.
Residency requirements, moonlighting and alcohol and drugs in the workplace
Residency requirements stipulate that criminal justice employee should live in the jurisdiction under which he/she works. The basis of this proposition is so that the employee is able to attend to emergencies quickly. This argument might not however hold water in case there is no adequate housing or the available housing is too expensive.
Moonlighting occurs when criminal justice employees perform other duties not related to their job for example offering private security. Police agencies have had limits on the amount and kinds of work that their officers should handle. There has been sufficient evidence to suggest that moonlighting does not affect an officers work in terms of fatigue or tracking to respond to emergencies.
Administrators should put in place measures to help detect alcoholism and drug use among employees at the work place and offer the appropriate help to the employees. Stiff policies and procedures have been put in place to regulate the period of time an officer can consume alcoholic beverages before reporting for duty.
Rights of police officers
The rights of police officers are documented in a law known as Peace Officers Bill of Rights (POBR) which states the rights and obligations an officer has when under investigation. An officer has a right to representation, right to a written notice detailing the charges against him and right not to take a polygraph unless he is lying of which he will be compelled to take a polygraph examination.
Family and Medical Leave and Americans with Disabilities Act
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) apply to all public agencies and private sector agencies that engage in commerce and whose work force exceeds 50 employees. FMLA entitles employees to take a maximum of12-week unpaid leave within a period of one year for family and medical reasons.
An employee is also entitled to take leave when a member of his family is deployed for military duty so as to fill the gap left by the deployed officer. Family member in this case could be the officers wife, son, daughter or parent. An employee can also take leave when the deployed officer returns home injured or incapacitated so that he/she can take care of the officer.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed into law in 1990. It covers state and local government and their agencies. Federal agencies such as FBI are not covered by this Act. The Act stipulates that no one with disability should be discriminated when it comes to employment as long as he/she is qualified for the position. Persons with disabilities do not have preferential treatment under ADA as this is not an affirmative action law.
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