Q & A

From New York Question: A little background: We work 12-hour tours. We are permitted to work a maximum of 18 hours continuously. Minimum manning is six dispatchers with one supervisor. NYC has a policy for “equalization of overtime.” Employees have an annual overtime card that is maintained by the supervisor. Employees that have the least […]

Transfer Of Ambulance Services To Contractor Is Negotiable

Local 963 of the International Association of Fire Fighters represents the members of the Lockport, New York Fire Department. Other than the Fire Chief, Local 963 represents all firefighters employed by the City. The firefighters are cross-trained in firefighting and emergency medical services, and prior to September 15, 2014, each firefighter was dual-assigned to both […]

Dallas DROP Plan Not Constitutionally Protected

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System provides comprehensive retirement, death, and disability benefits for approximately 9,300 Dallas police officers, firefighters, pensioners, and beneficiaries. Individuals automatically become members of the Pension System upon commencing training at a Dallas police or firefighter academy. Upon retirement, a member of the Pension System becomes a “pensioner,” which is […]

Arbitrator, Not Court, Should Define ‘Grandparents’

Deputy Angela Molea submitted a request to her employer, the Summit County Sheriff’s Department in Ohio, to use bereavement leave to attend the funeral of her husband’s grandfather. The collective bargaining agreement between the County and Molea’s labor organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, permitted the use of bereavement leave for “grandparents.” Although similar requests […]

Contract Takes Precedence Over ADA Accommodations

Linda Faulkner was a corrections officer with the Douglas County, Nebraska Correctional Center. On August 6, 2012, Faulkner was involved in an inmate altercation. She suffered a left shoulder strain, hand contusion, contusion of the lumbar region, and a lumbar strain. After these conditions resolved, Faulkner discovered that she suffered from cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy. […]

In Non-Union Environment, Following Lieutenant’s Instructions Can Lead To Termination

A basic tenet of the principle of “just cause” for discipline is that public safety employees are expected to follow the instructions of their supervisors, except if doing so would result in the employee unnecessarily endangering his/her safety or in violating the law. A recent case from Mississippi shows that in a non-union environment – […]

Fire Union’s Failure To Challenge Discipline Not Breach Of DFR

Richard Kelly, a Ferndale, Michigan firefighter, brought an unfair labor practice charge against his union, Local 812 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Kelly claimed that the Union’s failure to arbitrate his grievance challenging a reprimand and two-shift suspension violated Local 812’s duty of fair representation. Michigan’s Employment Relations Commission dismissed the ULP complaint. […]

Police Lieutenant Must Be Able To Work Outside Office

Humberto Valdes was a lieutenant in the City of Doral, Florida Police Department. All lieutenants in the Department worked eight-hour shifts; Valdes was assigned to the afternoon shift. While on duty in March 2009, Valdes was involved in a car crash. After the crash, Valdes developed a panic disorder and began seeing a psychiatrist for […]

Chief’s Secretary’s Affidavit Not Protected Speech

Firma Helget worked for the City of Hays, Kansas, as the administrative secretary for the Hays Police Department. One of Helget’s official duties was to act as the Department’s purchasing agent. In November 2010, she prepared a list of officers who were due new ballistic vests in the upcoming year. Helget presented the list to […]

Officer Gains Workers’ Comp Benefits For Injury Suffered Getting Into Car At Home

A Connecticut workers’ compensation statute defines an injury occurring “in the course of employment” as one that occurs between the employee’s “departure from such individual’s place of abode to duty, such individual’s duty, and the return to such individual’s place of abode after duty.” In a case involving New Haven police officer Peter Balloli, the […]

Random Drug Testing For Corrections Employees Upheld

Roberick Washington was employed as a lieutenant at the Wyandotte County Juvenile Detention Center in Kansas City, Kansas. After a random drug test, he was fired for testing positive for cocaine. Washington filed a civil rights action against the County and several of his co-workers, alleging that the drug test was an illegal search that […]

Firefighter Loses Workers’ Comp Claim For Prostate Cancer

Philadelphia firefighter Earl Hutz filed a workers’ compensation claim, seeking job-related coverage for his prostate cancer. During his 33-year career, Hutz worked at a number of different fire stations. At each station, Hutz was exposed to diesel fuel emissions when firefighters started their truck engines to check the pumps, running each apparatus for 10 to […]

Firefighter Loses Job Over Family Dispute Between Supervisors

Glen Naghtin was a firefighter for the Montague, Michigan Fire Department. Two brothers, Donald and Dennis Roesler, also worked for the Department. Donald was a unit captain and Dennis was the Fire Chief. In 2009, the Fire District’s Board authorized the construction of a new fire station. After construction had commenced, Donald Roesler began expressing […]

Boston Police ‘Hair Test’ Back For Another Round

The continuing litigation saga involving eight Boston police officers terminated for failing the Police Department’s “hair test” for drugs appears to have yet more life left in it. When their hair tested positive for controlled substances, the officers sued, claiming that the hair drug test was racially discriminatory. After the officers lost an initial round […]

Racial Facebook Post Not Constitutionally Protected

Adam Meadors was a police officer for the Meridian, Mississippi Police Department. Meadors posted to his public Facebook page a photo depicting two chimpanzees laughing with the following caption: “Earlier today, the mayor and the chief of police had a meeting.” He commented on the photo, saying: “Something will probably be said, but I couldn’t […]

Baltimore Officers Allowed To Sue DA In Freddie Gray Case

A federal court has denied motions to dismiss key parts of a civil lawsuit filed against Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby by Baltimore police officers prosecuted in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray. Most of the allegations against Mosby centered on two facts: (1) That days after the riots in the wake of […]

‘Gag Order’ On Union President Ruled Illegal

The Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers’ Association represents correctional employees of Santa Clara County, California. Sergeant Lance Scimeca is the president of the Association. Beginning in September 2015, news outlets reported that inmate Michael Tyree had allegedly been beaten to death by correctional deputies. In response to these news reports, Sheriff Laurie Smith gave […]

‘Last-Chance’ Agreement Means What It Says

Occasionally, employees with a pattern of misbehavior enter into “last-chance” agreements in lieu of termination. Under those agreements, an employer agrees not to terminate an employee for whatever the employee’s current offense is, and the employee agrees that a finding of future misconduct will result in the loss of the employee’s job. Fox Lake, Illinois […]

Social Networking Policy Violates Free Speech Rights

Herbert Liverman and Vance Richards were veteran police officers for the City of Petersburg, Virginia. In April 2013, the Police Chief issued a general order revising the Department’s social networking policy. The preface to the revised policy prohibited in sweeping terms the dissemination of any information “that would tend to discredit or reflect unfavorably upon […]

Cincinnati Fire Union Calls For Bullet-Resistant Vests For First Responders

CINCINNATI, OH – The shooting at Cameo Nightclub Sunday morning, March 26, shows the danger firefighters can face when answering a call. The firehouse near Lunken Airport was home to some of the EMT’s who rushed into the chaos. Firehouse 18 was the closest to Cameo and the medics on duty Sunday morning responded to […]

Ex-Sunriver Firefighter Sentenced For Hacking Chief’s Email

BEND, OR – A former Sunriver Fire Department firefighter-paramedic who was president of their labor association was sentenced Tuesday to nearly 200 hours of community service, to be completed within three years, after he pleaded guilty to hacking the fire chief’s computer email to see documents related to labor relations. Jason Arnold and former Capt. […]

Lynden To Settle Volunteer Firefighter’s Race Discrimination Lawsuit For $250K

LYNDEN, WA – The city has agreed to a $250,000 settlement in a lawsuit by a volunteer firefighter accusing Lynden and its assistant fire chief of discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. Damon Winters, a volunteer firefighter, filed the lawsuit against the city and Assistant Chief Robert Spinner in U.S. District Court in Seattle […]