If I am a police officer and am urrently wearing a vest that is 2 expired, can I take civil action?

I was fitted for a new vest 10 months ago. To date, I have yet to receive my vest, and every time I ask the department about my new vest, I am told it is not in yet. Our policy calls for officers to wear a bulletproof vest. I can be fired for refusing to go out on the street with an out-dated bulletproof vest. We currently are working without a contract, and we are no longer under the last contract.

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, when there is no contract in place, you can be terminated for disobeying a policy or a supervisor's instruction; and even if your contract were still in force, if refusing to go out on the street would constitute grounds for termination, you could be terminated.

There is no law requiring police departments to issue new bullet proof vests, so you cannot force them to do so UNLESS there were a contract in place which, in one way or another, required them to do so; if there were, you (or your union) could potentially bring a lawsuit to enforce the provisions of the contract.

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