Probationary Periods for Newly-Promoted Police Officers: Antisdel v. City of Oak Creek Police and Fire Commission et al.

By Mark Hollinger

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Shirley S. Abrahamson, the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals in the above-referenced case on May 2, 2000. The only issue in this case was whether the Oak Creek Police and Fire Commission erred when it denied Antisdel a just cause hearing under Wis. Stat. §62.13 (5) (em). The Supreme Court held that Antisdel was entitled to a “just cause procedure” pursuant to Wis. Stat. §62.13 (5) (em) to contest his reduction in rank from sergeant to police officer.

James Antisdel joined the Oak Creek Police Department in 1985 and was promoted to sergeant on March 1, 1996. After promotion Antisdel began the … Continue reading

Contract Interpretation: How do you know what your contract means when the language is ambiguous?

By Richard Thal, WPPA General Counsel

In order to enforce your contract, you must know what provisions it contains. Once you know what is in your contract, you will know when to file a grievance over employer violations of clear contractual language. Amending or eliminating contractual provisions that are clear and unambiguous can only be done in bargaining. Clear language cannot be changed through your grievance procedure because even if an arbitrator believes that application of clear language is unfair, the arbitrator cannot amend the contract.

But often contractual provisions are not clear. When language is ambiguous, it is not obvious whether the employer has violated a provision.

When a union needs an interpretation of ambiguous language, negotiations with … Continue reading