Denial Of Light-Duty Assignment Not Necessarily An ‘Adverse Action’

In order to establish a discrimination claim, an individual must show that he or she belongs to a protected class, and that the employer took an “adverse employment action” against them because of their presence in the protected class. In lawsuits alleging retaliation against employees because the employees have participated in a discrimination lawsuit, an […]

Retroactivity Language Applies To Grievance Procedure

Kitsap County, Washington and the Kitsap County Deputy Sheriff’s Guild have a history of not negotiating new contracts before an existing contract expires. The parties’ contract in effect between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2005 was not negotiated until August 22, 2005. The 2006-2007 contract was not negotiated until July 24, 2006. During the […]

Timeliness Objections Must Be Raised Early In Grievance Procedure

The Fire Department of the Town of Stoughton, Massachusetts contracted with a laundry service to wash not only various linens and towels used by firefighters, but also firefighters’ uniforms. After receiving a number of complaints from firefighters about the quality of the service, the Town determined that the contractor was not separating uniforms from the […]

No Reasonable Suspicion To Test Officer For Steroids

John Richard is a ten-year veteran of the Lafayette, Louisiana Police Department. Richard was friends with several individuals who became the target of a drug investigation by the Department. Department investigators raided the apartment of one of the suspects, and discovered both marijuana and steroids. During an internal affairs investigation that followed, the Department ordered […]

Court Reinstates Sergeant’s Demotion

A clear example of a difference between appealing discipline through a civil service system and appealing discipline through arbitration can be found in a recent case involving Santa Cruz County, California. When discipline is appealed through arbitration, court review is extremely limited, and typically focusing only on whether the arbitrator exceeded his or her jurisdiction […]

Court Upholds $1.7 Million Judgment In Favor Of Firefighter

Lewis Bressler was a fire captain with the Los Angeles Fire Department for 26 years. With the exception of his first performance evaluation and his last performance evaluation, Bressler always received a “satisfactory” or “satisfactory plus” rating from his supervisors at LAFD. In 2001, Bressler received a report from a subordinate that another captain had […]

Employer Required To Disclose Pre-Disciplinary Interviews And Identity Of Witnesses

In October 2004, Local 2898 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents rank-and-file employees of the Seattle Fire Department filed a grievance on behalf of a bargaining unit member alleging that the employer imposed discipline without just cause. The grievance eventually proceeded to arbitration. Prior to the arbitration hearing, Local 2898 requested that […]

New Disciplinary Standards Must Be Negotiated

Employers who operate in a collective bargaining environment are restricted in their ability to make changes in past practices in the areas that are “mandatory” for collective bargaining. Mandatory subjects of bargaining are typically set by state statute, and are usually captured by some version of the rubric “wages, hours, and terms and conditions of […]

Bereavement Leave Not Limited To Day Of Funeral

A firefighter for the City of Medford, Massachusetts Fire Department was scheduled to work a 24-hour shift on a Tuesday. The firefighter applied to take a day of bereavement leave after the death of his uncle. The firefighter’s uncle’s wake was held on Wednesday and the funeral was on Thursday. The City denied the request […]

Acting Chief Entitled To Leave Payouts At Chief’s Rate

When a sergeant with 25 years of service to the Baldwin Borough, Pennsylvania Police Department agreed to become Acting Chief of Police, the Borough accepted his demands that he be paid chief’s salary. He served less than three months in the Acting Police Chief role, and then retired. When the Borough did not calculate his […]

White Firefighter Wins Trial On Assignment To Fire Boat

Kevin Dumont is a white City of Seattle firefighter. The Fire Department is governed by what is colloquially referred to as the “rule of five,” in which the Fire Chief has the right to select from the five leading applicants for a position. Gary Morris was the Fire Chief from July 2001 until April 2004. […]

Flurry Of New Laws/Regulations Has Employers Scurrying To Come Into Compliance

The last 12 months have seen what is certainly the most active period of federal employment legislation and regulation changes in the last 25 years. A spate of new laws – with more likely to arrive in upcoming months – has left employers scrambling to comply. The deluge started on May 21, 2008, when President […]