Firefighter’s Parking Lot Sign Not Protected By First Amendment

Peter Yackel is a firefighter in the Township of Edison, New Jersey. On June 1, 2009, at approximately 7:30 a.m., Yackel arrived for his tour of duty at Fire Station No. 3 and parked his pickup truck in the parking lot as he always did. Displayed in the bed of Yackel’s pickup truck was a […]

City Of Seattle Sues City Of Seattle, Loses

Richard Roberson is a police officer for the City of Seattle, and has a “significant disciplinary history.” In 2005, the City imposed a 30-day suspension on Roberson for three incidents. The first incident involved Roberson’s failure to properly follow up on a theft call because he mistakenly believed that “there’s no such crime as attempted […]

Hearsay Problems Doom Firefighter’s Drug Test

Edward Neal has served as a firefighter for 25 years with the City of Augusta, Georgia. Department employees are subject to random drug tests. When Neal was tested, a technician collected a urine specimen from Neal and sent the sample to an independent laboratory for testing. The written lab report indicated a result of “positive” […]

Officers Fail To Provide Enough Evidence That Video Camera In Locker Room Was Working

A group of police officers for the City of Harrison, New York, brought a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against the City, alleging that the installation of a video camera in the Department’s men’s locker room violated their privacy rights. Finding a lack of evidence that the camera worked as intended, a federal court dismissed the lawsuit. […]

Civil Service Hearing Meets Due Process Requirements

Matthew Skogen was a police officer with the City of Overland Park, Kansas. On March 30, 2008, Skogen was involved in an off-duty confrontation with his brother that a citizen reported to the Department. After investigating the matter, the Department terminated Skogen, who appealed to the Overland Park Civil Service Commission. When the Commission upheld […]

Court Rejects Reliance On Handwriting Expert, Reinstates Assistant Chief

In June 2005, Sheriff David Woolfork of the Madison County, Tennessee Sheriff’s Department attended the National Sheriff’s Association conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Also attending the conference were Assistant Chief Dan Parr, Sergeant Lisa Balderrama, Sergeant Annette Martin, Chief Tommy Cunningham, and Cunningham’s wife. When Woolfork returned home from the conference, he noticed a postcard addressed […]

Texas Civil Service Arbitrators Can Impose No Greater Than 15-Day Suspension

Kenneth Miller was a lieutenant with the Houston, Texas Police Department. In 2006, a coworker alleged that Miller had sexually harassed her. Following an investigation, the Department “indefinitely suspended” Miller. An “indefinite suspension” is the functional equivalent of a termination. Under Texas civil service law, a terminated employee has the option of appealing to an […]

Court Rules Against Wife Of Officer Who Committed Suicide

Dennis Walsh joined the Nassau County, New York Police Department in 1990. In 2006, after rising through the ranks to the position of Detective Lieutenant, Walsh began to exhibit signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. On October 19, 2006, Walsh committed suicide. Walsh’s widow brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Department, alleging […]

Employer Has Ability To Remove Officer From Canine Assignment

An officer with the Town of Westerly, Rhode Island served as a canine officer for seven years. When the officer’s dog was retired, the Department informed him that while he would be assigned a new job, it could not guarantee him any particular continued assignment length as a canine officer. When the Department subsequently reassigned […]

Race Discrimination Lawsuit Arising Out Of No-Beards Policy Allowed To Proceed

Amon Simon is an African-American male with a permanent form of the skin condition pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB). Simon joined the Harris County, Texas Sheriff’s Office in February 2004 as a detention officer. In October 2005, Simon graduated from the Sheriff’s Office Academy and returned to work as a deputy at the Harris County jail. In […]