No Implied Right To Cash Out Accrued Holiday Time

Brian White was a sergeant with the Clark County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office. When White voluntarily left the Sheriff’s Office to take a job at the State of Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the County refused to pay him 144 hours of holiday/personal leave that he had accrued. White’s labor organization, the Fraternal Order of Police […]

Firefighter Case Illustrates High Standards For Harassment Complaints

The high bar set by the burden of proof for racial and sexual harassment claims is one of the reasons that most harassment lawsuits fail. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, to make a claim of racial harassment, an employee must show that the harassment was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the […]

Deputy Sheriffs’ Union Severed In Two

Michigan’s collective bargaining law prohibits public employees from striking. As a tradeoff for the prohibition against striking in police and fire disputes, the Michigan Legislature created a system of binding arbitration as the last step in the negotiations process. Only certain employees are eligible for arbitration, specifically “employees engaged as policemen, or in fire fighting […]

A Roundup Of Free Speech Cases

Reverberations from the Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006) continue to be felt in the area of the free speech rights of public employees. A series of recent cases shows continuing debate in the Court over when an employee’s job-related speech is protected by the First Amendment. As a general […]

Trooper Improperly Suspended For Engaging In Union Activity

Scott Nichols has been a trooper with the Michigan State Police (MSP) for 19 ½ years, and has been the representative for the Michigan State Police Troopers Association at the Lansing post. In 2007, the MSP was considering a reorganization plan that would have transferred part of Clinton County, Michigan away from the Lansing post. […]

Internal Memoranda On Discipline Not Subject To Disclosure

Florida’s equivalent of the Freedom of Information Act, known as the “Sunshine Law,” is one of the most expansive in the nation. With very few exceptions, the Sunshine Law requires that all governmental documents be made public. The extent of the Sunshine Law was recently tested in a case involving the discipline of eight deputies […]

Grievance Must Be Arbitrated If It Has ‘Reasonable Relationship’ To Contract

The Town of Cheektowaga, New York is party to a collective bargaining agreement with the Cheektowaga Police Club. The bargaining unit represented by the Club consists of officers below the rank of lieutenant. The Club filed a grievance challenging the Town’s decision that it promote one officer rather than another to the rank of lieutenant. […]

President Signs Stimulus Bill With Significant COBRA Changes For Employers

By Timothy J. Stanton and Steven R. Schinderle The sprawling stimulus legislation that may or may not jumpstart the U.S. economy will almost certainly jumpstart employers’ interest in COBRA coverage. That’s because the temporary federal COBRA subsidy for involuntarily terminated employees that is at the heart of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 […]

Employer Allowed To Prorate Clothing Allowance

The collective bargaining agreement between the Worcester County Jail and House of Corrections and the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union calls for the payment of a clothing allowance. The specific language of the contract states that the payment “shall be” issued on a pro rata basis depending upon the number of months of actual service […]

Iowa Police Chief Has No Due Process Rights

Michael Burke was the Police Chief of the City of Evansdale, Iowa. In 2006, allegations of sexual harassment were raised against Burke. The City ended up terminating Burke without giving him a pre-disciplinary hearing. Burke filed a lawsuit, contending that he had a contractual – and thus a due process – right to a pre-disciplinary […]

No Right To Refuse To Arbitrate Retiree Healthcare Grievance

The contract between the City of Niagara Falls, New York and the Niagara Falls Police Club contains a clause dealing with retirement benefits. When the Club filed a grievance challenging decisions made by the City concerning retiree healthcare benefits, the City refused to arbitrate the grievance, claiming that the Club had no right to represent […]

California Supreme Court Decides Major Garrity Case

The California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in Spielbauer v. County of Santa Clara. The first major interpretation of the rule on Garrity v. New Jersey by the California Supreme Court in many years, Spielbauer reverses a lower court decision that had held that a formal grant of immunity is necessary before a public […]