Q & A

From Michigan Question: How is retroractive pay figured? Having been without a contract for nearly five-and-a-half years there have been discussions on how retro pay will be fugured. It appears that we will be getting around 2% a year. Can you give us an example as to how it will be figured? Answer: With one […]

No Age Discrimination If Successful Candidate Also Over Forty

Phillip Sheridan is a lieutenant with the Jackson Township, Ohio Division of Fire. At 57 years old, he is the oldest member of the Fire Department. In 2008, Sheridan interviewed for a newly-created captain position. The Department passed over him in favor of a slightly younger, and arguably less qualified colleague. Sheridan sued the Township, […]

Non-Disabled Deputies Lose Conspiracy Claim

The collective bargaining agreement between Multnomah County, Oregon and the Multnomah Deputy Sheriffs Association contained a “wage re-opener” clause allowing the Association to open negotiations on wages to be effective July 1, 2005. The wage negotiations dragged on, and a settlement was not reached until August 9, 2007. By its terms, the settlement only granted […]

Firing Alcoholic Police Chief Does Not Violate ADA

Charles Budde was the Police Chief for the Kane County Forest Preserve in Illinois. On the evening of March 11, 2005, while off duty, Budde rear-ended another car, damaging his own vehicle and sending the passengers of the other car to the hospital. An investigation ensued. Budde admitted that he was an alcoholic who would […]

Sexual Harassment Too Old To Be ‘Continuing’

Genevieve Drees has served both as a dispatcher and a detention employee for Suffolk County, New York. Drees brought a sex discrimination lawsuit against the County, contending that she was the victim of gender-based hostile work environment harassment, and that she had been retaliated against for raising a harassment issue. A federal court dismissed the […]

Ohio Court Limits ‘Fireman’s Rule’

Though several states have abandoned it, Ohio still follows what it refers to as the “fireman’s rule.” As Ohio phrases it, “the fireman’s rule is a principle that limits a landowner’s duty to police officers and firefighters in certain circumstances. It provides that an owner or occupier of private property can be liable to a […]

Chicago Loses Major Comp Time Case

A federal court of appeals has ruled against the Chicago Police Department in a long-simmering case concerning the ability of public employees to use compensatory time off. At the heart of the Chicago dispute is whether an employee has a right to request a particular day on which to use compensatory time off, or whether […]

Detective Entitled To Pay For Using Personal Vehicle Off Duty

The collective bargaining agreement between the Town of Warminster, Pennsylvania and the Warminster Township Police Benevolent Association (PBA) contains a clause requiring the Town to reimburse employees for the use of their personal vehicles and pay other expenses associated with official business. For many years, the Town had applied the clause to allow reimbursement for […]

Firefighter’s Court Testimony Protected By Whistleblowing Law

John Bedo worked for the City of Ecorse, Michigan Fire Department from 1973 to 2006. In the 1990s, he was promoted to fire captain, and in 2003 and 2004, he temporarily served as Fire Chief. In mid-2004, he returned to his position as fire captain. On June 9, 2006, the Department reduced the number of […]

Civil Service Commission Cannot Change Basis For Discipline

Christopher Parent is a police officer employed by the City of Bellevue, Nebraska. During firearm training on August 28, 2007, Parent had significant problems getting up from one knee throughout the course of the exercise. The City believed that Parent’s excessive weight caused the difficulty with the firearm training. The City eventually terminated Parent for […]

Giving Tickets Not Entitled To First Amendment Protection

Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), “where public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, they are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” Following Garcetti, dozens of courts have held unprotected by the First […]

Decision To Lay Off Firefighters Not Subject To Bargaining

As of the end of 2004, the City of Richmond, California had seven fire stations. There was a fire engine at each of the stations and a fire truck at two of the stations, although one of the trucks was not regularly staffed. If a second truck company was needed, the engine at one of […]

Supreme Court Changes Legal Landscape On Scope Of Arbitration

Since the Supreme Court’s 1974 decision in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., it has been believed that a collective bargaining agreement could not force employees to waive the right to proceed in court in lawsuits under federal statutes. Though the following 35 years of Supreme Court decisions on arbitration increasingly gave broader scope to arbitration clauses, […]