In most private sector jobs, if you were suspended 17 times by your employer, you would be out of a job. But, Officer Lee Rakun is still appealing his latest suspension from the San Antonio Police Department. See San Antonio Express-News story. In fact, Officer Rakun received his first suspension within a year of starting with the police force. The SAPD has an active union and a strong Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). So, that helps explain Officer Rakun’s tenacity.
The advantage of CBA’s is that they typically require some form of "good cause" for termination. An employee can only be fired for good cause. Without a CBA, the rest of us are subject to Texas’ "at will" employment. "At will" employment means the employer can terminate anyone for any reason (other than discrimination and a few other exceptions). The employee handbook so many of us have at our jobs say an employee will be fired for certain infractions. But, employee handbooks are not binding and they are often violated by the employer.
So, the next time you are fired for "excessive absences" or because after 14 years of no errors, you are accused of failing to account for one $15 expense, think about unions and Officer Rakun’s appeal of his 17th suspension.