[8/26/21] Ruling In Jennifer Tyler Case

Posted in Law Enforcement

The state commission overseeing public employment says Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett unfairly disciplined former Deputy Jennifer Tyler when he suspended her for three days over her conduct during a deputies’ union election.

Last month the Public Employment Relations Commission upheld an examiner’s ruling that Burnett committed an unfair labor practice when he suspended Tyler in 2018. The claim was brought by the Chelan County Deputy Sheriffs Association.

Tyler, a deputy from 2006 to 2019, has been fired twice from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, winning reinstatement in the first instance. Burnett fired her a second time two years ago, alleging unspecified misconduct; she has appealed that dismissal and is suing the department in federal court.

The 2018 suspension stemmed from an email chain that circulated that October among members of the Chelan County Deputy Sheriffs Association. In one email, Tyler protested the nomination of a sergeant to become union vice president, saying the candidate had engaged in workplace harassment. The sergeant complained to Burnett’s administration, leading to one of several internal investigations against Tyler, and Burnett ultimately suspended her for three days. He later fired Tyler in September 2019.

Her federal lawsuit over her 2019 firing is still pending in U.S. District Court in Spokane. A trial date is tentatively set for May 2022.