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need to be present for all patient refusals?
>>What’s the training requirement? Example: Will sexual harassment training be
covered biannually at a training day or in
an online setting?
Dissemination should take place in the same
manner for every policy (e.g, email, fax, cloud-based software, paper copies on a bulletin
board, etc.). Employees should be expected
to check this area on a routine basis for new
or revised policies.
Agencies should set a time frame where all
employees are expected to read, review and
sign acknowledging the policy.
The employee doesn’t have to agree on
the content of the policy but they do need to
acknowledge its existence. Any clarifications
should be done through a supervisor.
If clarification is needed on a policy, documented remediation starts with the employees’
direct supervisor. Documentation is important
to show that the employer properly trained
If additional remediation is required, the
employee should then meet with a member
of administration to discuss the uncertainties.
Again, this meeting should be documented
fully with all points of discussion.
There are times that members of administration should meet with all employees to
discuss the development or promulgation of
a new policy. In this case, questions and clarification can be provided to the whole team,
rather than one-on-one.
Keep your audience in mind. Although you
may understand what the policy says, are you
getting the same questions repeatedly from
If so, there may need to be a revision to
that policy with more clarifying statements
or updated language.
Any revision should be properly documented and all previous editions should be
If discovery is requested from a legal entity,
a policy is requested from an incident that
took place 5 years ago, and you revised that
policy twice since then, how can you prove
what the policy was at the time?
Don’t rely on the other party to provide
this information; be prepared and retain all
previous editions of your policies.
To keep from falling behind in best practices, set a date to review policies and make
revisions as necessary.
Our original scenario outlined an employee
wanting to use a sick day, but an unwritten
agency practice doesn’t allow days off while
the employee is on probation.
The policy has been enforced in the company for as long as any current employee can
recall, and there’s been discipline in the past
If brought to court, there are numerous
issues regarding the disposition of the case
such as: Where are employees trained on this
policy, are new employees told about this policy, when did the policy become “rule,” and
what defines a probationary period?
Affirmations and defenses for this scenario
are plentiful, but very difficult to prove on the
plaintiff ’s part.
Although there’s no solid rule about what
a policy should contain, you should follow
the above guidance and framework to limit
the exposure of lawsuits you and your agency
Agency employee and administrators
should have a solid understanding of policies in the workplace. JEMS
Derrick E. Jacobus, MA, FP-C, is a law enforcement veteran
serving as executive accreditation manager, policy writer
and detective with the Monroe Township Police Department
(Gloucester County, NJ) and flight paramedic with MidAtlantic
Medevac (A hybrid flight partnership with AtlantiCare and
MedTrans). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. 42 U.S.C. §1983
2. Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 105 S. Ct. 2427 (1985).
3. City of Canton, Ohio v. Harris (489 U.S. 378 1989).
4. Callahan M. Deliberate indifference: The standard for municipal and supervisory liability. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.
1990; 59( 10): 27–32.
5. Brown v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of
Health Emergency Medical Services Training Institute, 318
F.3d 473 (3d Cir. 2003).
6. Monell v. Dept of Soc. Svcs., 436 U.S. 658, 701 (1978).