Dispatcher Terminated Over False Claims Against Police Officer

In August 2011, Valinda Carter, a dispatcher for the Columbia County, Florida Sheriff’s Department, was at home when she received a phone call from her brother. Columbia County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Latimer had just stopped Carter’s brother for a traffic violation. The apparent purpose of the brother’s call was to maintain an “open line” so […]

Sergeant’s Sexual Relationship With Subordinate Results In Termination

In 2012, a massive sex scandal rocked the City of Lakeland, Florida’s Police Department. The scandal resulted in multiple terminations and the resignation of Police Chief Lisa Womack. At the heart of the scandal was Sue Eberle, a civilian crime scene analyst who admitted to having sexual relations with over 30 City employees, over half […]

Firefighter Layoffs Deemed Not Arbitrable

When the City of Reno, Nevada lost federal grant money in 2014, the City announced it was laying off 32 firefighters whose jobs were funded by the grants. Local 731 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, which represents the City’s rank-and-file firefighters, filed a grievance challenging the layoffs. The essence of Local 731’s grievance […]

Pornography Can Be Basis For Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Theresa Brooks was assigned to the Narcotics Strike Force of the Philadelphia Police Department. According to Brooks, the environment within the operations room at the Strike Force was overly hostile towards female employees. Brooks testified that her male colleagues would watch pornographic films on the television set in the operations room at the Strike Force […]

Suicide Attempt Can Be Just Cause For Discharge

Cletus Morton was a probation and parole officer for the Missouri Department of Corrections. On the evening of October 8, 2010, Morton was watching his seven-year-old daughter when he consumed between one-half and three-quarters of a 750 ML bottle of vodka. Morton’s behavior around his daughter caused her to call her mother, Morton’s ex-wife, and […]

Union Has Power To Expel Member

A question that comes up from time to time is whether a public safety union has the right to discipline its own members. A recent decision from a New York trial court answers that question “yes,” provided that the union has followed its own bylaws in imposing the discipline. The case involved Raymond Montero, a […]

Police Chief Loses Free Speech Claim In Post-Garcetti/Lane World

To say that free speech law with respect to public employees is in serious disarray is not an understatement. To point to Supreme Court decisions as the source of the confusion is an easy target. Before 2006, there was little controversy over the scope of the free speech rights of public employees. Courts looked at […]