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Brown v. Personnel Board for the City of Kenai

Supreme Court of Alaska

June 20, 2014

DANIEL BROWN, Appellant,
v.
PERSONNEL BOARD FOR THE CITY OF KENAI, Appellee

Page 872

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Kenai, Carl Bauman, Judge. Superior Court No. 3KN-11-01052 CI.

Kevin T. Fitzgerald, Ingaldson Fitzgerald, P.C., Anchorage, for Appellant.

Joseph N. Levesque and Shane E. Levesque, Levesque Law Group, LLC, Anchorage, for Appellee.

Before: Fabe, Chief Justice, Stowers, and Bolger, Justices. [Winfree, and Maassen, Justices, not participating.].

OPINION

Page 873

BOLGER, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Daniel Brown was a City of Kenai employee who was accused of sexual harassment of female employees at the Kenai Recreation Center. But after a termination hearing, the Personnel Board of the City of Kenai (the Board) stated that the basis for Brown's termination was not sexual harassment but rather misconduct. Brown now argues that the Board violated his right to due process by terminating him for misconduct without finding that he had committed the underlying acts of sexual harassment. He also argues that his termination violated the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. We conclude that the Board had an adequate basis for its decision and that Brown's termination did not violate the implied covenant of good faith or his right to due process.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

Daniel Brown was employed as a building maintenance technician with the City of Kenai Public Works Department from October 2009 until April 2011. Among other duties, Brown was responsible for providing maintenance services to the Kenai Recreation Center. During the time of Brown's employment with the city, the Boys & Girls Club managed the recreation center. Brown often came in contact with the Boys & Girls Club employees who worked at the recreation center because a significant portion of his job responsibilities entailed maintenance at that facility.

Some of the Boys & Girls Club employees Brown regularly dealt with were young women. In early 2011, the Kenai City Attorney conducted an investigation of Brown's alleged sexual harassment of three such Boys & Girls Club employees. The city attorney concluded that Brown had engaged in conduct that " violated the City's policy against sexual harassment," [1] although she noted

Page 874

that the policy did not expressly state whether it applied to behavior toward complainants, such as the Boys & Girls Club workers, who ...


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