Electrician Illegally Fired from City Job, Appeals Court Finds

Electrician Illegally Fired from City Job, Appeals Court Finds

He was given a new position two years ago, but the city and the union representing him are still arguing about how much he was owed.

An Appeals Court has upheld a finding that a former Beverly, Mass., city electrician was illegally fired from his job in 2003. He was given a new position two years ago, but the city and the union representing him are still arguing about how much he was owed.

An arbitrator had concluded that Edward Comeau was illegally terminated from his city electrician’s job back in 2003. He was suspended without pay for five days for what the then mayor called “insubordination” and “harassing another employee," according to a report from The Salem News.

Comeau made note in a report that the city’s electrical inspector refused to help him with a particular job involving a fire alarm system. The city’s human resources director at the time complained that Comeau had “allowed our dirty laundry to become public,” and imposed the suspension. Then, a month later, the Salem News reported, the mayor and his HR director went further, demanding that Comeau apologize in writing, retract his comments, and provide copies of both to the City Council. When Comeau refused, he was fired.

After more wrangling over the the past 10 years, a three-judge panel of the Appeals Court last month reversed a judge who had vacated the original arbitrator’s award and reinstated it, which called for Comeau to be reimbursed for lost income due to the lower pay he would receive in his new job as wire inspector, as well as for the years he did not work for the city.

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