Not All Family Illnesses Covered By FMLA

Scott Miller is a police officer with the North Little Rock, Arkansas Police Department. On September 12, 2005, Miller contacted his sergeant to advise that he needed to take a “sickness in family” day. Later that same day, the sergeant came to Miller’s house and discovered both Miller and his wife home with their sick […]

Firefighters Lose Challenge To Residency Ordinance

A section of the Charter of the City of Cleveland, Ohio requires that all employees must live within the Cleveland city limits. A group of firefighters challenged the ordinance on a variety of constitutional grounds. Largely reciting well-settled case law dating back many years, the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the firefighters’ challenge. […]


There are three different tiers of legal analysis used in evaluating whether a public safety employer can require that its employees be randomly drug tested: Federal constitutional law, state constitutional law, and collective bargaining obligations. As to federal constitutional law, it is now well settled that nothing in the federal Constitution bars a law enforcement […]

Washington Limits “Firefighter’s Rule”

For many years, the so-called “firefighter’s rule” flourished across the country. Under the rule, firefighters and law enforcement officers were prevented from bringing negligence lawsuits against those who injured them on the job. The rationale for the firefighter’s rule is that “professional rescuers” such as firefighters and law enforcement officers are already compensated for the […]

Court Affirms $2.2 Million Judgment Against Police Union

Vanessa Dixon joined the Lowell, Massachusetts Police Department in 1994. As a member of the Department, she automatically became a member of Local 382 of the International Brotherhood of Police Officers (IBPO). An active member of the Union, Dixon ran for the Local’s executive board, hosted holiday parties for members’ families, participated in fundraising events, […]

Statements Made In IA Investigation Not Protected By First Amendment

The huge change in First Amendment free speech law brought about by Garcetti v. Ceballos, 126 S.Ct. 1951 (2006), continues to be apparent. In a recent case, a federal court in Missouri held that statements made in the internal affairs process are not protected by the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment. The lawsuit […]

Eleven-Day Delay Too Long For Doctor’s Slip

The contract between Local 48 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and the City of Cincinnati, Ohio allows the employer to demand a doctor’s slip to verify the use of sick leave. When the City refused to accept a firefighter’s doctor’s slip, Local 48 appealed the decision to arbitration. An arbitrator found that the […]

“Constructive Discharge” Hard To Prove

Juan Aguirre was employed by the City of Miami Police Department in the Department’s off-duty employment office. In March 2003, Aguirre testified in a civil lawsuit against the City. Aguirre’s direct supervisor, Lieutenant Rene Landa, was present for the testimony, and was angry because he felt that Aguirre’s testimony concerning the City’s policy towards disabled […]

No Contractual Right To Moonlight For Different Police Agency

A detective with 28 years of service with the Town of Salem, New Hampshire Police Department applied to work an off-duty part-time patrol position for a neighboring town. When the Chief rejected the detective’s request, his labor organization, Local 633 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, challenged the Chief’s decision in arbitration. An arbitrator upheld […]

Employer Ordered To Promote Sergeant To Lieutenant’s Position

When the Borough of Glassboro, New Jersey Police Department had an opening for the position of police lieutenant, three sergeants, Peter Amico, William Highley, and Gregory Bruynell submitted their applications. Amico had placed first in the first two phases of the promotional process. Following the conclusion of the third phase of the promotional process – […]

Employer Obliged To Provide Defense For Chief Against Sexual Harassment Claim

Denise Kohler, an employee of the City of Wapakoneta, Ohio Police Department, filed a lawsuit against David Harrison, formerly Wapakoneta’s Chief of Police. Kohler alleged that Harrison had used the Department’s computer system to display and distribute offensive and pornographic photographs and E-mails, and that he had also used hidden electronic devices owned by the […]

Law On Comp Time Use Becomes Even More Confused

When Congress first enacted the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) in 1938, it allowed only cash compensation for overtime. For many years, courts ruled that compensatory time off was an illegal form of compensation for overtime hours worked. In 1985, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit […]