Assistant chief files injunction

LIHUE — The attorneys for the assistant chief who filed a lawsuit against the Kauai Police Department for retaliation is asking the court to stop the department from terminating his employment.

A hearing for Assistant Chief Mark Begley’s preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against KPD, Chief Darryl Perry, and ACs Roy Asher and Michael Contrades will be heard by United States District Court Magistrate Judge Kenneth Mansfield on Oct. 17.

On Tuesday, the court ordered the defendants to file a single memorandum in opposition that addresses both the TRO and the preliminary injunction.

In his 159-page preliminary injunction, Begley requests that the court prohibit the police department and his supervisors from “taking any action or further action in terminating (Begley’s) employment” and forcing (Begley) to participate in the county of Kauai’s Return to Work Program.

The RTWP, which Begley does not want to participate in, is the county’s policy regarding employees who are injured on the job, which also states that “returning an employee to work as soon as possible after a work related injury or illness contributes greatly to the employee’s recovery,” and encourages workers to return to work as soon as authorized by their health care provider.

The department, which was under court order, tried to fire Begley as recently as February, according to court records. As a result, Perry was sanctioned for $1,314.70 by the Fifth Circuit Court after sending a two-page letter informing Begley of his termination date.

Begley alleges that after reporting improper conduct by high-ranking police officers in 2011, he suffered retaliation from within the department.

He filed three separate charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

On April 25, 2014, the EEOC rendered its decisions and found that reasonable cause existed to believe that KPD violated the statutes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, as amended in two of the three complaints.

Begley also filed a workers’ compensation mental stress claim. In a response letter to defendants, Begley’s treating physician said he was able to return to work but Begley’s condition was “permanent” unless “major administrative/procedural changes are made at Kauai Police Dept.”

Under the RTWP, Begley was classified as an employee with permanent work restrictions, which according to the county, is an employee who has been released by an appropriate physician to return to alternate work and the physician has determined that the employee is permanently unable to perform any and all of the essential functions of the employee’s regular pre-injury position.

Under this classification, employees will be given the option for alternate job placement within the county, told to retire or resign and lastly terminated, all within 30 days of being offered the options.

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Michelle Iracheta, cops and courts reporter, can be reached at 245-0424.

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