Milwaukee Police Website Down For Security Upgrade After Possible Hacking

The Milwaukee Police Department has temporarily taken its news website,, offline after indications Tuesday night that the site was “being disabled by an outside group.” The department’s main website,, remains online, but the news site could be down for days while the department conducts upgrades to improve site security after the possible hacking […]

Nevada Supreme Court Clears Way For Firefighter Layoffs

The city of Reno has prevailed in its legal battle to lay off 32 firefighters, but city Manager Andrew Clinger says the jobs are safe for now. In an opinion issued on Wednesday, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed District Judge Lidia Stiglich’s injunction preventing Reno from going through with the layoffs, finding that the fire […]

Injuries Suffered In Crash While On Way Back From Lunch Ruled Non-Compensable

John Graven and Kathryn Wall worked as technical support analysts in the North Carolina State Highway Patrol providing software training to State Troopers and civilians in Raleigh and around the State. They worked four days per week, from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and were permitted to take a 30-minute paid lunch break. In 2010, […]

LAPD Officer Wins $2.8 Million In Retaliation Suit

Pedro Torres and Robert Hill were officers assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division. They frequently heard their immediate supervisor, Sergeant Gil Curtis, use derogatory terms and make disparaging comments in reference to African-Americans and Hispanics. On one occasion Curtis referred to Torres in his presence as “a lazy Mexican.” In March 2005, […]

Failure To Act In Timely Fashion Amounts To Waiver Of Union’s Bargaining Rights

The obligation to collectively bargain usually requires an employer to negotiate over changes it wants to make in policies and procedures during the term of a contract if those changes either concern or impact a topic that is mandatorily negotiable under the law. Three exceptions exist to this “continuing duty to bargain”: If the union […]

Court Affirms Reinstatement of Terminated Disabled Firefighter

Tom Hurley, a Portland, Oregon firefighter, suffered an on-the-job injury in 1993. Hurley received disability benefits from the City’s Fire and Police Disability Fund (Fund), and also vocational training that allowed him to become a chef. Under the Fund’s rules, the wages Hurley earned as a chef had the effect of reducing his disability benefits, […]

California Bill Of Rights Requires Personal Service Of Disciplinary Notice

Baron Earl, a parole officer, was disciplined by his employer, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, for conducting a purportedly unlawful search of a residence. When the discipline was upheld after an administrative hearing, Earl challenged the decision in the California Court of Appeals. Earl argued that the discipline should have been reversed because […]

Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Far-Ranging Fitness-For-Duty Disciplinary Decision

Matthew Tubaugh is a police officer with the City of Livingston, Montana Police Department. A series of incidents occurred in 2011 and 2012 that led to his discharge. In 2011, he told a judge that he disagreed with a ruling of the Court and later became aggressive and argumentative toward the defendant. Next, on January […]

Arbitrator’s Opinion Does Not Violate State Health Insurance Statute

When the Town of Athol, Massachusetts unilaterally increased copayment amounts for medical services, Local 1751 of the International Association of Fire Fighters challenged the decision through the filing of a grievance. An arbitrator concluded that changes in copayments were a mandatory subject of collective bargaining and that the Town violated the contract by making the […]

PCP Not The Same As Alcohol For Purposes Of Race Discrimination Claim

Following his arrest for Driving Under the Influence, Antjuan Proctor entered a “back-to-work agreement” in lieu of termination from the Fairfax County, Virginia Fire and Rescue Department. Under the Agreement, Proctor was required to abstain from all mood-altering substances and submit to random, unannounced drug and alcohol testing. Less than two months after he entered […]

Are Personal Cell Phone Records Public Documents?

Glenda Nissen is a detective with the Pierce County, Washington Sheriff’s Department. Mark Lindquist is the elected Pierce County Prosecutor. Lindquist has a County-provided cellular phone, which he rarely uses, apparently preferring instead to use his personal cellular phone to conduct government business. When Nissen sued the County on a whistleblower claim, the County produced […]

Q & A

From Nevada Question: I hear that the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers from collecting genetic information, family medical history for use in hiring, firing, pay or promotion decisions. Does GINA prohibit the employer from collecting family medical history on their state mandated annual physicals? Answer: As it is being interpreted through EEOC regulations, […]

‘Lame-Duck’ Promotion Overturned

Bruce Polkowitz and Michael Formica were two of three candidates considered for promotion to the position of captain in the Edison Township, New Jersey Police Department. The Township is a non-civil service municipality, and has enacted code provisions setting the criteria for promotions. The provisions involve a command staff review, which is required to consider […]

Age Matters In Layoff Decisions

In 2002, Roger Dyals was hired as a lieutenant by the Camden County, Georgia Sheriff’s Department. By 2009, when Tommy Gregory was elected Sheriff, Dyals was a captain. Gregory demoted Dyals to the position of deputy fleet manager, and told Dyals, “Well, you either accept it or you can go home.” In January 2010, Dyals […]

Civilian Employee Loses ‘Equal Pay For Equal Work’ Lawsuit

An occasional misconception is that there is a principle in the law that there must be “equal pay for equal work.” In fact, with essentially one exception, federal law does not require “equal pay for equal work,” and employers are free to pay identically situated employees different rates. The one exception is that the reason […]

Firefighters Have Protected Right To Display Union Logo On Class ‘B’ Clothing

Sacramento County, California has an Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Division, known as ARFF. Firefighters and captains within ARFF are represented by Local 522 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Local 522 offered discounted items of clothing to its members, including a t-shirt, cap, sweatshirt, sweatpants, and shorts. These items of clothing are typically worn […]

Union Misses Deadlines, Loses 4% Raise

In 2010, Local 776 of the Teamsters Union was elected to represent police officers working for the Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, replacing the Gettysburg Police Officers Association. Local 776 began bargaining with the Borough, and proposed wage increases for 2011, 2012, and 2013. When no agreement was reached, an arbitrator awarded 4% wage increases for […]

Surveillance Does Not Violate Deputy’s Privacy Rights

David Brock was a deputy with the Douglas County, Nebraska Sheriff’s Department. In 2007, Brock sustained injuries to his neck and shoulder when struggling with a suspect while on duty. Brock filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. As early as May 2007, the County hired private investigators to periodically place Brock under surveillance and […]

Relying On Uncharged Offenses Violates Due Process

Since many of the public safety employees in Mississippi have “at-will” status with no job protections, it is a rare event for a Mississippi court to address due process issues. But that rare event just occurred in the case of Trooper First Class Sammy Ray of the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol. The charges against Ray […]

Valley Fever Covered By Heart-Lung Law

In 1997, Edward Gorre began working as a firefighter paramedic for the City of Tacoma, Washington. Prior to being hired, Gorre passed a demanding test of physical strength and stamina and a physical examination that included blood testing and x-rays. In 2007 he became a fire medic lieutenant. Over the course of his career as […]

Minnesota Employees Have Right To Hearings On Performance Evaluations

In a most unusual case, a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court decided that a portion of Minnesota’s public records laws allows employees the right to a hearing to challenge some aspects of performance evaluations. The case involved Sergeant Todd Schwanke, who works for the Steele County Sheriff’s Office. Schwanke was dissatisfied with his 2011 performance evaluation, […]

LAFD Battalion Chief Wins Nearly $1.0 Million In Retaliation Lawsuit

In 2005, John Miller, a battalion chief with the Los Angeles Fire Department, was selected to head the Department’s Arson Counter-Terrorism Section (ACTS). ACTS is responsible for investigating suspected cases of arson, and where appropriate, presenting its investigative findings to the district attorney for criminal prosecution. The section is comprised of three commanding officers and […]

Boston PD Hair Tests Ruled Invalid

A Massachusetts trial court has not only upheld but expanded on a ruling by the state’s Civil Service Commission that struck down the use of hair tests as part of the random drug testing program for the Boston Police Department. The case involved the termination of ten officers who had tested positive for cocaine. The […]