VSEA Pushes Back On Scope Of State Gag Orders During Personnel Investigations

Last year, VSEA filed an unfair labor practice against the State, alleging that its gag order practices unlawfully interfered with employees’ rights to communicate with each other about matters pertaining to discipline and working conditions. 

VSEA PUSHES STATE TO STOP ISSUING GAG ORDERS
 
            VSEA attorneys have successfully negotiated an agreement with the State concerning its practice of routinely issuing gag orders that prohibit a broad expanse of employees from talking to each other during personnel investigations. 
            Last year, VSEA filed an unfair labor practice against the State, alleging that its gag order practices unlawfully interfered with employees’ rights to communicate with each other about matters pertaining to discipline and working conditions. This month, VSEA persuaded the State to stop issuing those gag orders as a matter of course, effective June 1, 2009.  Instead, employees will be instructed that they should not take actions which are harmful to the investigation, such as coercing witnesses or tampering with evidence. The State also agreed that, if it decided a gag order was necessary in a particular case, the scope of the gag order would not be nearly as broad in application as those previously issued. 
            Under the agreement, VSEA preserves its right to challenge any gag order issued in the future by the State.  Members are urged to help VSEA enforce this agreement by keeping an eye out for unnecessary and overly broad gag orders. If you know of one, contact your VSEA Field Representative with the information.