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ABC Grievance Appeal Sheds Light On Legal Issues Around Policies

January 27, 2014 in Articles | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

In April of 2013, a relatively high-profile altercation between a UVA student and plainclothes Alcohol Beverage Control officers generated a lot of press coverage, and outrage about the handling of this kind of local law enforcement. Now, new reports are showing that the transfer of ABC office management predated the April 2013 case, where a mistake by local agents left the department open to possible litigation.

Daily Progress coverage January 13 shows some of the legal outcomes from the decision of ABC law enforcement director Shawn Walker to move John L. Taylor, an ABC Special Agent in Charge, from the Lynchburg office to a similar position in Staunton.

Grievance Appeals Over Transfer Policy

What the new reporting shows is that Judge Jay T. Swett has rejected an appeal by Stephen R. Jones, assistant special agent at the Staunton office. The appeal was made on the grounds that ABC decisions were non-compliant with department and state policy in relation to hiring practices.

In a seven-page opinion, the judge also noted that the April 2013 case of aggressive agent action was unrelated to the issue of the transfer, and that, while ABC decisions were not a violation of employee rights, they did not represent “best practices” in the judge’s opinion. What this kind of finding would mean to Virginia overtime lawyers or others with a stake in an appeal is that, despite insight on personal judgment, the court will not ultimately reverse key decisions.

Assessing Legal Fallout

As explained by legal experts, part of the issue around these types of grievance appeal involves the “jurisdiction” of the courts. In this case, said Robert E. Byrne Jr. with Martin Wren P.C., the dispute was less about the facts than about how courts handle policy appeals, noting that the legislative process gives “enormous deference” to the administrations of agencies, and that many policy issues are not legal issues, but largely internal decisions. Legal professionals, such as solicitors or public counsel, or Virginia overtime lawyers, often use these kinds of landmark cases to explain more average outcomes.

These findings have a lot of application to grievance appeals for public workers who are trying to contest administrative decisions. In many cases, as in the above illustration, courts are simply unable to substantially change management decisions or to impose restrictions on them, simply because the law doesn’t provide them with that ability, although, as mentioned, some exceptions can be made for more extreme cases.

In addition, press coverage shows that Walker had some precedent in place for the decisions that were made, where management cited observation of conflict between Taylor and those in his department.

Getting Legal Representation

This particular case will probably continue to receive some scrutiny, at least partially because of what many local residents see as out-of-control behavior around local ABC activity when it comes to interacting with the local student community and other underage residents.

Other similar cases involving grievance appeals or complaints by public employees and representation by Virginia employment law attorneys may not receive the same level of attention in the press. If you feel you have been unfairly affected by non-compliant or illegal policy decisions, talk to the offices of Martin Wren, P.C. and get advice from employment law and Virginia overtime lawyers about your rights under the law.

Contact Our Virginia Lawyers

We serve clients throughout Virginia — from Charlottesville and Central Virginia to metropolitan Richmond; Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley to Roanoke; and the cities of Hampton Roads to the Northern Virginia cities of  Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington.

To speak with one of our attorneys, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

Our Virginia personal injury lawyers at MartinWren, P.C. also have a statewide practice and offer free consultations at a time and location that is convenient for you.  We will gladly meet with you at your home or at the hospital, even on nights and weekends.

To schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer, please call us at (434) 817-3100.

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