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MIDVALE -- A police officer who says he was fired for blowing the whistle on wrongdoing at the Midvale City Police Department has won his case before the State Labor Commission. The commission determined the officer was wrongfully fired. Investigative Reporter Debbie Dujanovic exposed his firing two months ago; now the police officer got get his job back.
The Utah law that applies to this case is clear: an employee can't be fired for filing a complaint. But Midvale Police Department did fire Officer Jack Guenon. So he reported the department to the state, which has laws to protect whistle-blowers, and he won.
Officer Jack Guenon's problems began after the Midvale Police Department terminated him last fall. He's filed for bankruptcy, his home's nearing foreclosure, and the repo man is after his truck.
He was fired after reporting problems at the Midvale Police Department to federal and state authorities. During our initial interview Officer Guenon shared this: "I was approached by many officers who came out saying, ‘You know they're going to witch hunt you. They're going to come after you. You don't double cross them.'"
Still, he reported the department to the feds for improperly storing explosives in closets at the cop shop. In turn, the feds ordered the Midvale Police Department to remove the explosives, citing public safety.
He went to the Utah Attorney General's office with R-rated vacation photos he'd found on a Midvale City computer. The attorney general's office determined no crime was committed.
The Midvale Police Department said Guenon should have reported both problems to his supervisors; the trouble was supervisors and their children were in the photos, and supervisors already knew about the explosives.
Guenon filed a whistle-blower claim with the Utah Labor Commission. After several months of review, state investigators issued their findings. They allege the Midvale Police Department violated Utah law by firing an employee who's filed a complaint, and that there is reasonable cause to believe Guenon was subjected to discriminatory practices.
Both sides have 15 days to request a settlement meeting. If that doesn't happen, the state can order Guenon back to work with back pay.
Because this is ongoing, Officer Guenon declined our request for an interview Wednesday, but he seems very relieved.
Midvale City didn't want to comment because it has not received its copy of the letter.