Officer Fired For Car Wreck, Not Because Of Age

Bob Pacovsky was fired from his position as a police officer for the City of Greenville, Mississippi when he became involved in a car wreck. Pacovsky sued the City, alleging that his discharge was really because of his age (he was 52 years old). The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Pacovsky’s lawsuit. Pacovsky’s […]

Diabetic Applicant Wins $100,000 from FBI

Jeffrey Kapche is a Type 1 diabetic. In 2002, he applied for a special agent position with the FBI. Kapche received a conditional offer of employment in 2004, but it was later revoked because the FBI determined that he did not have sufficient control over his diabetes, and that he would be unable to take […]

Explorer Scout Has No Property Right

Matthew Zwilling was a member of the Madison, Connecticut Police Explorer Post. When the City terminated him, Zwilling sued, claiming his termination violated his due process rights. A federal court rejected the lawsuit, finding that Zwilling had no property right to his position in the Explorer Post. The Court noted that “property interests are not […]

System Has Authority to Order Fire Department to Terminate Chief

One of the provisions in Oklahoma’s police and fire pension statutes is that “no person shall be employed in a fire department who has reached the age of 45 years, unless it appears he shall become eligible for retirement at the age of 65 years, or unless he retired from a municipal fire department in […]

Judge Cites Firefighter Case Example Of ‘What Happens When Grown Men Act Like Five-Year-Olds’

Ricky and Joel Shanks were volunteer firefighters for the Village of Catskill, New York. On October 4, 2005, Joel Shanks anonymously reported multiple safety violations allegedly committed by the Department to OSHA. These violations included outdated aerial ladder inspection, lack of safety equipment, firefighters with facial hair wearing SCBAs, outdated equipment, lack of training and […]

Arbitrator Not Required To Take Into Consideration Post-Hearing Economic Evidence

Where the negotiations process ends in arbitration, an employer or labor union seeking to challenge an arbitrator’s opinion has an extremely heavy burden of proof. Though the standard varies little from state to state – the arbitrator’s decision usually must be shown to be without any basis in fact or the product of fraud – […]

Employer Bears Burden Of Proof In Disciplinary Case

Kimberly Falk worked for the Lee County, Florida Sheriff’s Department. When her employment was terminated, she appealed to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Civil Service Board. The Board affirmed her termination, and Falk appealed to the Florida Court of Appeals. The Court reversed Falk’s termination, finding that the Civil Service Board applied the wrong burden […]

Hearing Board Fails To Give Police Officer Adequate Notice Or Grant Continuance

Stewart Becker was a police officer with the Sunset City, Utah Police Department. Becker was terminated on April 4, 2007, and was given a letter that briefly outlined the appeals process, including his rights to a hearing, to be represented by counsel, to examine evidence, and to confront witnesses. The letter, however, did not mention […]

‘Statement Of The Issue’ In Arbitration Can Be Significant

Most arbitration hearings begin with the advocates attempting to frame the “statement of the issue” for the Arbitrator. To those without much arbitration experience, the process may seem to be an arcane one. A recent Connecticut case, however, illustrates the significance of the “statement of the issue” process. The case involved the demotion of Derek […]

For Contract Purposes, ‘Only’ Means ‘Only’

For many years, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections had assigned voluntary overtime to the least-senior corrections officer available. When the Department changed its practice and instituted a rotational list where employees who worked involuntary overtime would be rotated to the bottom of the list, the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union challenged the decision in arbitration. […]

Police Agency Can Inquire As To Applicant’s Expunged Criminal Conviction

When Jimmy Macon was arrested for DUI after he began employment as a deputy jailer with the Shelby County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Department, the Department learned that in 1993, long before he began work for the County, Macon had pled guilty to a felony drug charge of manufacturing, delivery and possession of a controlled substance. Macon’s […]

Under Eleventh Amendment, Trooper Has No Right To Sue State For USERRA Violations

One of the features of Supreme Court jurisprudence in the last decade has been the Court’s application of the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution to bar individual lawsuits by employees against state governments. The most important case in the area is Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999), where the Court held that […]

Congress Expands Family Military Leave

On October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the 2010 Fiscal Year, which includes provisions that expand the military leave entitlements of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The NDAA amends both the “qualifying exigency” leave and military caregiver leave that became effective in January 2008. Q: […]

GINA, New Discrimination Law, Became Effective In November 2009

By Christopher W. Olmsted The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) became effective on November 21, 2009. Generally, this federal law prohibits employers from acquiring or using genetic information about its employees, with certain exceptions. Who must comply with Title II of GINA? Title II is the section of GINA which regulates employers. It applies to […]