Change In Insurance Carrier Not Negotiable Without Substantial Changes In Benefits

The Hartford Police Union represents the rank-and-file sworn members of the Hartford, Connecticut Police Department. The health insurance clause in the agreement between the Union and the City describes in-network and out-of-network benefits, co-payments, lifetime maximum benefits, and other insurance benefits. The contract language specifically provides that “the City may provide health insurance benefits by […]

No Need To Exhaust Grievance Procedure On Constitutional Claims

Steven Helm is a lieutenant with the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Bureau of Police, and is the President of Lodge 29 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Helm’s wife has been a prominent critic of the leadership of the Police Bureau. In 2015, Helm filed unfair labor practice charges against the City, alleging that a captain’s […]

Fire Department’s Email Policy Violates First Amendment

Jonathan Sprague served as a firefighter, and eventually as a captain, for the Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) in Washington. During his employment, Sprague and other SVFD employees formed the Spokane County Christian Firefighter Fellowship. Sprague created a list of work email addresses for 46 firefighters that he believed were interested in the Fellowship’s activities. […]

Duty Of Fair Representation Does Not Apply To Informal Discussions

Firefighter James Coyle is a dues-paying member of Local 4420 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), which represents the Pasco County firefighters in Florida. Coyle filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against Local 4420, alleging that he sought assistance from Local 4420 in February and March of 2017 to remedy a pay […]

Constitutional Protection For Officer’s Affair

You know you’re in for a weighty pronouncement when a court begins its opinion in this fashion: “We are confronted in this case with the ongoing and difficult constitutional question of how much control the government can force individuals to cede over their private lives in exchange for the privilege of serving the public by […]

Employer’s Beliefs About Grievability No Excuse For Not Processing Grievance

New Castle County, Delaware is party to a collective bargaining agreement with Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police. On June 27, 2017, Lodge 5 filed a timely grievance on behalf of a probationary officer terminated by the County. The County responded by refusing to “recognize” the grievance and failing to schedule a Step […]

Officer Cell Phone Search Case Heading To Trial

On August 22, 2014, the 113th class of the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) graduated from police academy training. On that day, all of the graduates became probationary police officers in the PAPD. The following day, some of the officers organized a post-graduation event at a beer garden in Jersey City, NJ. Following that event, […]

The Consequences Of Failing To Carefully Read A Proposal

The New England Police Benevolent Association and the City of Caribou, Maine have negotiated collective bargaining agreements since the Association was certified as the bargaining agent in 2011. In September 2015, the parties had their first negotiation session for a successor agreement to the one set to expire on December 31, 2015. At this meeting, […]

Court Upholds $700,000 Sexual Harassment Verdict

It is rare to find a court’s opinion that starts off with the fury found in the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in a lawsuit brought by Lori Franchina against the Providence Fire Department. After a jury awarded Franchina $700,000 in damages and a trial court added $184,000 in legal fees, the City […]

Q & A

From Iowa Question: Do Garrity rights apply during an internal investigation (administrative investigation) for police officers who are not the subject of the investigation but may merely be witnesses? For instance, I sat in on a series of interviews today, and for the first one, the sergeant stated that he understood Garrity only applied to […]

Employer Not Allowed To Terminate Contract While Arbitration Pending

Under Illinois law, firefighter and police unions have the right to seek binding interest arbitration if negotiations for a new contract are not successful. When negotiations with the Village of North Riverside came to impasse, Local 2714 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) sought interest arbitration. The Village responded by sending a letter […]

Revocation Of Corrections Certificate Not Automatic For Conviction For Lying

Shawn King was a corrections officer with the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). In 2009 or 2010, King’s brother and sister-in-law gave him their dog, Sophie. They told King that they would take Sophie back at any time if King could no longer care for her. In 2013, King took Sophie to the Payette City […]

City Required To Bargain Over Procedures Used For Due Process Hearing

The City of Long Beach, New York and Local 287 of the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. In November 2014, Local 287 member Jay Gusler reported that he was injured in the line of duty, and began what turned out to be a long-term absence from work. A […]

Fraternization Policies Must Be Carefully Written

Antionette Aiono was a Utah Department of Corrections officer assigned to the Orange Street Community Correction Center. In May 2015, she worked an overtime shift at the prison known as the Oquirrh facility. The Oquirrh facility has two sections, designated as Oquirrh 1/2 and 3/4. Three of Aiono’s relatives were in prison at the time […]

Michigan’s Enhanced Garrity Statute Results In Suppression Of Statement

Craig Ziecina, a trooper with the Michigan State Police (MSP), was a member of the Home Security Team. On December 23 and 24, 2014, the Team executed two search warrants in Leoni Township, Michigan. Shortly afterwards, the MSP began investigating whether the theft of personal property had occurred during the exercise of the warrants. During […]

Employer Has No Duty To Defend And Indemnify Corrections Officer

On June 13, 2012, corrections officer Connie Sutton was responsible for overseeing the female section of the Portage County Jail in Ohio. She was the only officer on duty at the time of the incident in question, and the unit was overcrowded. It had capacity for 34 inmates but housed 52, resulting in cramped conditions. […]

Failure To Hold Timely Hearing Results In Reinstatement Of Terminated Detective

On December 3, 2013, Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn discharged Detective Rodolfo Gomez for violating departmental rules stemming from his use of force during an interrogation. The next day, Gomez filed a notice of appeal of his discharge with Milwaukee’s Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. On December 6, the Board issued a scheduling notice […]

Arbitrator’s ‘Release Time’ Opinion Upheld

For years, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between Hudson County, New Jersey and Local 109 of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has had a provision that “the PBA president shall be granted reasonable release time from work duties to attend to union business during work time, provided that such release time shall in no way […]

Sergeant Forfeits Retirement Upon Conviction Of Internet Sex Crime

In 2005, Brian O’Hare, a sergeant with the Massachusetts State Police, began communicating online with an individual whom he believed to be a 14-year-old boy. O’Hare used a family computer while off duty to communicate with the “youth,” who in fact was an undercover FBI agent. In February 2006, O’Hare was arrested by the FBI […]

‘Ominous Context’ Of Interview Triggers Weingarten Rights

In early 2014, Senior Investigator Donald Oliver of the Office of Special Investigation of the New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) began investigating an incident involving the throwing of food by at least one corrections officer at a civilian employee. On January 28, 2014, Oliver questioned the security staff who had been […]

Taser Exposure Not Essential To Job Of Detective

Jacqueline Lewis, an African-American police detective in Union City, Georgia, was terminated abruptly from her position in 2010, after about ten years of service. In January 2009, Lewis suffered a small heart attack. The episode was unusual in that a cardiac catheterization showed “no clot and no disease” in Lewis’s heart, although heart attacks generally […]

Trainee Officer Recovers $2.5 Million For False Arrest

San Francisco police officer trainee Bret Cornell, while off duty and in street clothes, went for a run one morning in Golden Gate Park, stopping for a brief rest on a knoll called Hippie Hill. Two uniformed patrol officers in the area spotted him, thought he looked “worried,” and grew suspicious because the bushes on […]

Emergency Manager Can Unilaterally Amend Pension Formula

Michigan is one of several states with “emergency financial manager” laws. Under the Michigan statute, an emergency manager has broad powers, essentially replaces a mayor and city council, and even has the authority to invalidate collective bargaining agreements (CBAs). AFSCME Local 3317 represent sergeants, lieutenants, and captains in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department. AFSCME was […]

Bias And Disability Hearing Boards

Sara Naden is a lieutenant with the Sugar Grove, Illinois Fire Protection District. Naden testified that during her career, she was subjected to intense criticism, ridicule, and sexual harassment by her male coworkers – both her subordinates and her superiors. According to Naden, she had “crying spells” and “anxiety attacks” at work, and she “continually […]

‘Quintessential Employee Beef’ Not Protected By First Amendment

Scottie Bagi and Gary Vojtush are firefighters and medics for the City of Parma, Ohio. The Department maintains a Tactical Emergency Medical Specialist (TEMS) unit consisting of specially trained firefighter medics who provide emergency medical support to the city police department’s SWAT team in high-risk situations. In the event of an injury, TEMS unit members […]