Q & A

From California Question: In our Collective Bargaining Agreement we are given vacation at an accrual rate based on our years of service. Several employees have noticed that their accrual rate was incorrect and has been for some time. Our employer has determined that it will not be giving employees any retroactive vacation time and will […]

The ‘Firefighter’s Rule’ Marches On

The Firefighter’s Rule is what some term an unfortunate relic of court decisions that date back more than 100 years. Under the Firefighter’s Rule, a firefighter or a police officer who is injured by a third party cannot sue the third party for negligence, no matter how badly the firefighter or officer is injured by […]

Correcting Lie During Same Interview Saves Officer’s Job

On December 2, 2013, a complainant alleged that an officer of the Hutchinson, Kansas Police Department had arrested her in late November for a DUI violation. The complainant said that the officer later telephoned her at home, sent her several text messages, and generally engaged in harassing conduct. The Department interviewed the officer, who admitted […]

Felony Conviction Disqualifies Florida Firefighter From Promotion

Andrew Thomas Giamberini was initially certified as a firefighter in Florida in 1996. At the time, Florida’s Department of Financial Services, which certifies firefighters in Florida, was aware that Giamberini had pleaded no contest to a felony charge of aggravated battery without a firearm in 1993. The criminal court withheld adjudication of guilt and sentenced […]

Arbitration Award Can Retroactively Increase Employee Health Premiums

The last contract between the Kitsap County Deputy Sheriffs’ Guild and Kitsap County, Washington was effective from 2008-2009. Under that CBA, deputies were not required to pay for their own health insurance premiums, but were required to pay 10% of their dependents’ premiums. During negotiations for the 2010-2012 CBA, the County proposed a shift in […]

Arbitration Not So Binding In Rhode Island

With few exceptions, when a collective bargaining agreement says that an arbitrator’s decision is final and binding, courts will say just that and uphold an arbitrator’s decision even if they thoroughly disagree with the result. But one state – Rhode Island – treats arbitrations, or at least disciplinary arbitrations in law enforcement agencies, completely differently. […]

Arbitration Decision Can Be Basis For Removal From Brady List

The “Laurie List” is a version of a “Brady list” used in some New Hampshire jurisdictions (it is named after a decision of the New Hampshire Supreme Court in State v. Laurie, 139 N.H. 325, 329 (1995)). For example, the Hillsborough County Attorney keeps a list of police officers with potentially exculpatory information in their […]

Union Entitled To Copy Of Complaint Against Member

Though the case does not involve public safety officers, a recent decision from an administrative law judge (ALJ) of the California Public Relations Board (PERB) could have significant ramifications in the public safety workplace. In the case, the ALJ ruled that employees filing a complaint against a fellow employee do not have a reasonable expectation […]

Miranda Warnings Trigger Weingarten Rights

An employee’s right to representation by a labor union arises when the employee reasonably believes that discipline could result from questioning by the employer. There are cases holding that when an employer gives an employee a “Garrity order” – an order to answer questions or discipline will result – Weingarten rights are automatically triggered. A […]

Florida State Troopers Fired, Forced To Retire In Overtime Probe

A dozen Florida Highway Patrol troopers from Tallahassee to Miami were fired, forced to retire or otherwise disciplined after an in-house investigation into whether they were billing the agency for hours they spent working from home, eating at restaurants and visiting girlfriends and relatives. The disciplinary action came as part of a probe into the […]

Staffing Dispute Heats Up Between Iowa Firefighters, City Leaders

DES MOINES, IA – A staffing controversy is heating up between Des Moines firefighters and city leaders. According to the Local 4 firefighter union, 80 percent of firefighters want a change in leadership. Union leaders said the number of firefighters has slid from 310 to 280, which alarms leaders since crews are responding to 600 […]

Cleveland Firefighter Ordered To Pay $2,500 For Calls On City Phone

CLEVELAND, OH – The FOX 8 I-Team found the new integrity control, or internal affairs unit, has done dozens of investigations since it was created in the Cleveland Fire Department. The city started the unit after a widespread pay scandal in the fire department. So the I-Team made a special request to uncover what the […]

Firefighter Suspended Over Racist Facebook Post

NEW HAVEN, CT – Fire Chief Allyn Wright Tuesday suspended for 15 days without pay a firefighter who allegedly posted a Facebook comment using the N-word. The firefighter, a lieutenant with 20 years on the job, will be suspended from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, according to a general order Wright issued. Wright wrote that […]

Toledo Mayor Trying Another Approach To Reconciling Fire Chief, Union

Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson announced today that she will put together a new committee to address the ongoing dispute between Toledo’s fire department administration and rank-and-file union. The mayor said members of business, labor, government, and faith groups will volunteer their time to help mend the dispute between Toledo Firefighters Local 92 and Chief Luis Santiago. […]

Board To Consider Laying Off All Coventry Fire District Firefighters

COVENTRY, RI – After confirming it won’t be able to make payroll this week, the board of the Coventry Fire District says it has no choice but to consider laying off all of their firefighters. The board is expected to vote Monday night on the potential layoffs, which if approved would essentially shut down the […]