Public safety professionals are recognizing a common problem in agencies throughout the country: a small but distinct element in the workforce that generates the overwhelming majority of stress for fellow officers and supervisors. These are an agency’s toxic employees—who can be such a distraction from the agency mission that supervisors and other employees seem to spend more time dealing with internal issues than they spend actually serving and protecting the public. Toxic employees tend to be perpetual plaintiffs who file baseless grievances, complaints, and lawsuits throughout their careers. They work to intimidate supervisors while deflating the morale of their fellow employees due to management’s apparent inability to hold them accountable for their actions.
This is not a traditional leadership course. This course will introduce public safety leaders to strategies for confronting this small but extremely damaging presence in the workforce in a way that both protects the integrity of the organization and is legally defensible. Ensuring that these management techniques are legally defensible is particularly important in light of the fact that so many toxic employees demonstrate an obvious willingness to challenge agency efforts to hold them accountable.
Recognizing the Toxic Officer
- What are the common character traits?
- The unleadable, the unfixable, the un-motivatable
- The impact of the toxic few on the agency
Identifying Toxic Individuals Before they Become Your Toxic Officer
- Background investigations—back to basics
- Utilizing the FTO process as a crucial part of the hiring process
Recognizing the Legal Avenues that Toxic Individuals Abuse
- Discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower protections
- Arbitration and personnel review boards
- If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen
Confronting Toxic Officers
- Performance evaluation systems that reflect the realities in the field
- Progressive discipline—demonstrating a good faith effort to make all officers successful
- Separation agreements and toxic officers
Matt Dolan is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois, who specializes in training and advising public safety agencies in matters of labor and employment law. His practice experience focuses on employment discrimination claims brought under federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). He received his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from DePaul University and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.
Matt serves as a public safety instructor with Dolan Consulting Group. He has trained and advised thousands of public safety professionals throughout the United States in matters of legal liability related to personnel management.
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