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Acting as an Arbitrator

Updated on December 15, 2016

If I was the arbitrator for Officer Clark Fischer’s grievance concerning the matter of his earring, I would first consult any union contract as well as the rules by which the force operates to ensure that there were no rules against the wearing of an earring by an officer while on duty. Once I had confirmed that there were no rules or contracts that prohibited the wearing of an earring I would listen to Officer Clark Fischer complaint and rationale for the continued wearing of his earring as well as the city’s argument against officers wearing earrings. As an arbitrator I would strive to remain unbiased and have both parties reach a reasonable compromise on the situation. In the case of Officer Clark Fischer’s grievance, the main issue seems to be the safety of the officer wearing the earring considering the city’s argument that “it was a safety issue because in a struggle the earring could pierce the officer’s skull”. The second problem is the city’s belief that “an earring would generate more negative than positive reactions from most of the people the officer encountered”.

In order to broker a compromise I would need to alleviate the city’s safety concern and minimize the reactions of the public to the earring. To this end I would recommend the creation of a new rule or regulation concerning this issue. In order to deal with the safety concern all police officers should be required to wear rubber bullet clutch earring safety backs; these earring backs are designed to cover the entire back of the earring. The earring backs would prevent the back of the earring from being able to pierce an officer’s skull. As for the reactions of the public to the earring, I would have a dress code created for earrings to ensure that it would not be anything inappropriate or dangerous in a struggle. For instance the rules could state:

  1. All earrings must only be studs, nothing that hangs or dangles off of the ear.
  2. All earrings must be worn with a rubber bullet clutch earring safety back.
  3. All earrings must be appropriate for all age groups (nothing that you would not wear around a young child).
    1. No symbols, words, or pictures allowed. All earrings must have color designs only (poke-a-dots, stripes, zig-zag, tie-dye, one color, etc.)
    2. All officers deciding to wear earrings must first sign a waiver waiving their right to hold the city responsible for any injury caused by the earring.

These rules would minimize the ways in which the earrings could prove dangerous to the officer and upsetting to the public.

Example of rubber bullet clutch earring safety back:


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