Q & A

From Arizona Question: I work for a fire district as a paramedic/firefighter. I have an assigned station and my direct supervisor is at that assigned station. In order to manage staffing I am routinely sent to other stations throughout the district. I am required (not through policy) to drive my own vehicle from my home […]

Limited Civilian Review Does Not Violate Police Bill of Rights

In 2002, the City of Providence, Rhode Island adopted an ordinance establishing the Providence External Review Authority (PERA). The ordinance vested PERA with the authority to receive complaints, conduct investigations and hearings, make findings of fact, and, if appropriate, forward recommendations of discipline to the Chief of Police. The Providence Lodge No. 3 of the […]

Officer Fails To Prove That Traffic Is Subjectively Better Than Patrol

Michael Mach, age 50, is a deputy sheriff with the Will County, Illinois Sheriff’s Department. When the Department involuntarily transferred Mach from an assignment in Traffic to one in Patrol, he sued, alleging that his transfer was the product of age discrimination. A federal court turned away Mach’s lawsuit. The Court found that for a […]

Deputies’ Union Loses Challenge To ‘Anti-Huddling’ Rule

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revised its Manual of Policies and Procedures to include this language: “Prior to being interviewed by assigned departmental investigators, members who are either involved in or witnessed a deputy-involved shooting may consult individually with legal counsel or labor representatives but shall not consult with legal counsel or labor representatives […]

Officer Forfeits Retirement Benefits With Federal Conviction

A provision of the Florida constitution provides that any public employee “who is convicted of a felony involving breach of public trust” shall forfeit any retirement benefits. A Florida statute implementing the constitutional provision elaborates on the definition of what a “breach of public trust” is. The statute includes in the list of offenses those […]

Disabled California Public Safety Officers Have Right To Cash Out Vacation Time

Section 4850 of the California Labor Code provides that when a public safety officer “is disabled, whether temporarily or permanently, by injury or illness arising out of and in the course of his or her duties, he or she shall become entitled…to a leave of absence while so disabled without loss of salary….” Section 4850 […]

Vacation Time Trumps Union Leave

The president of Local 1032 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) scheduled two tours of vacation. Subsequently, he learned that the IAFF would be conducting its biannual convention during the same time period. When the City refused to change the vacation designation of leave to a “union leave” designation, Local 1032 challenged the […]

Police Department’s Change In Vacation Practices Violates Contract

For many years, police officers working for Solebury Township, Pennsylvania had two options regarding vacation time (apart from using the time itself): (1) They could sell back up to ten days of vacation time to the Township; or (2) they could carry over up to ten days of vacation into the following year, provided it […]

Fire Department Not Allowed To Restrict Vacation Slots

In 2006, the Providence, Rhode Island Fire Department restricted the number of firefighters who would be allowed to take single-day vacations. Though the City subsequently rescinded its new rule, Local 799 of the International Association of Fire Fighters challenged the rule in arbitration. In arbitration, the City contended that Local 799’s grievance was not filed […]

Police Chief Loses First Amendment Lawsuit

James Mantle was employed by the City and County of Country Club Hills, Missouri as the Chief of Police. When Mantle was terminated in 2006, he brought a retaliation lawsuit against the City, alleging that his termination was in response to his exercise of his First Amendment rights. Mantle alleged that two years before, he […]

Surreptitiously Tape Recording Supervisors Basis For Termination

As a Court later described, Christina Argyropoulos’ “turbulent tenure as a jailer” for the City of Alton, Illinois Police Department lasted just ten months. Approximately seven weeks before she was fired, Argyropoulos complained that she had been sexually harassed by a fellow jailer. The Department promptly took steps to prevent further unsupervised contact between the […]

Firearms Expert Can Be Censured By Peers

Paul Dougherty is a member of the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE). The AFTE is a private organization that exists to promote the integrity of expert testimony in the area of firearms forensics. Provisions in AFTE’s private code of ethics preclude, among other things, an expert making “unrepresentative, atypical, or unreliable” conclusions from […]

Police Chief Can Be Individually Sued Under FMLA

Daniel Rasic was a police officer with the City of Northlake, Illinois. In May 2007, Rasic informed the City that he would need time off work for the birth of his child. The City approved Rasic’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave request, and Rasic took leave beginning in July 2007. Rasic’s child was […]

Statistics In Discrimination Cases Are Helpful Only If They Deal With Qualified Applicants

Melinda Carney is an African-American female. After two unsuccessful attempts to become a Denver, Colorado police officer, Carney’s third application was successful, and on January 6, 2003, Carney was appointed to the Denver Police Academy. Just six days later, Carney injured her Achilles tendon and was placed on limited duty with restrictions. The very day […]

Tennessee Cities Not Required To Include Vacation Payout In Retirement Calculations

A group of firefighters and police officers working for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee filed a lawsuit, asking to have the lump-sum payments for unused vacation days paid at their retirement included in the formula determining the amount of their pension. The Tennessee Supreme Court dismissed their lawsuit, finding that the […]

South Carolina Retirement Plan Not Allowed To Invest In Stock

The City of Charleston, South Carolina provides its employees with retirement pay and other post-employment benefits (OPEBs) such as medical insurance, dental insurance, and other benefits. The City provided the OPEBs on a pay-as-you-go basis by budgeting the cost of the OPEBs for retirees each year. In 2004, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board issued Statement […]

Disability Act Amendments to Take Effect January 1, 2009

President Bush has now signed into law the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which will expand the definition of disability and overturn Supreme Court decisions that had made it more difficult for employees to gain protected status under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADAAA will become effective January 1, 2009. The ADAAA preserves the […]