Reported in yesterday’s local media was a case that dealt with three (3) individual officers who sought out and hired their own private attorney to challenge the Department’s new Directive on Tattoos/Body Brandings. It needs to be clear that these officers did not call the Lodge for representation. Simply put, their argument sought to attack the Order on First Amendment grounds (Medici, et. al., v. City of Chicago, 15-CV-5891). On October 27, 2015, Federal Court Judge Kocoras granted the City’s Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit and explained that no First Amendment violation exists and dismissed the case.
For further clarification purposes, the Lodge was not part of this federal lawsuit. When the Department unilaterally issued the new Directive, and did so without bargaining with the FOP, the Lodge explored all of our options. The Department described the new Directive as including “major revisions,” such as on-duty officers would be required to cover (at all times) tattoos and body brandings and be prohibited to the future wearing of the previously approved baseball caps and knit caps.
It was the Lodge’s determination that a federal lawsuit would not be successful, as proved by Judge Kocoras’ October 27th decision. Instead, the FOP chose to file both an unfair labor practice charge with the State Labor Relations Board as well as a grievance. At the last General Membership meeting, we reported that our arbitration hearing took place on September 9, 2015. The Lodge will file its Post-Hearing Briefs and/or a written submission of our arguments, on November 12, 2015.
A decision from the Arbitrator handling our case is expected by the end of the year. As always, the FOP will continue to keep the membership apprised of any new developments.