Deputies’ union files grievance in handling of Tyler case

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WENATCHEE — Former Deputy Jennifer Tyler may have been fired from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, but the deputies’ union that represented her recently filed a grievance on her behalf.

The Chelan County Deputy Sheriffs Association filed a grievance Sept. 18 with the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission, saying Sheriff Brian Burnett interfered with union activities when he suspended Tyler for three days without pay in 2018.

In an email chain circulated among deputies’ union members that October, Tyler protested the nomination of a sergeant to become union vice president, saying the candidate had engaged in workplace harassment. The complaint became the basis of one of several internal investigations against Tyler, and Burnett ultimately suspended her.

The union says that’s an act of discrimination, and wants PERC to order the sheriff to make up Tyler’s three-day loss of pay, plus interest.

Burnett did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The sheriff fired Tyler Aug. 30. She had successfully sued the department in 2018 for retaliation and wrongful dismissal, and unsuccessfully ran against Burnett in last November’s election for sheriff. She’s now suing again in federal court.

PERC has 30 days to rule on the union complaint.