A judge in Butler County, Ohio has issued an order to Sheriff Richard Jones that he rehire a correctional officer that he originally fired on allegations that the officer associated with an individual who was a known criminal. Josh Bowling was fired in 2013 after he let his cousin take up residence in his home three months after he was released from prison.
The sheriff explained that correctional officers who are under his employ are not allowed to associate in any way, shape, or form with individuals who have a criminal record. He also explained that this provision is made clear to all correctional officers and is spelled out in the contracts that the officers sign when they are hired.
After he was fired, Bowling went ahead and filed a grievance with his labor union, which subsequently sent the case to trial. The arbitrator who heard the case issued a recommendation that he be suspended for two weeks rather than be fired, but the sheriff rejected that recommendation and opted instead to terminate Bowling’s employment.
A hearing was then held earlier this week in which a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge upheld the ruling that was originally made by the arbitrator and issued the order to the sheriff to rehire Bowling effective immediately.
Bowling’s lawyer says that his client is entitled to what is known as “pre-judgment interest” on the back pay that he is owed, which is estimated at around $70,000. It has not been determined whether or not that interest on the back pay will be paid.
Representatives for the sheriff’s office said that while the department has not yet made a decision, it is likely that the sheriff will appeal the ruling to the 12th District Court of Appeals. Court records show that employee discipline cases rarely have ever gone to arbitration.