Q & A

From New Mexico Question: Where in the FLSA does it say that work hours can’t be adjusted to avoid the payment of overtime? Answer: The FLSA’s rules are pretty specific. Under the FLSA, an employer cannot adjust the start of the employee’s FLSA work week or work period for the purposes of avoiding overtime. However, […]

Testimony In Court Not Always Constitutionally Protected

With the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Lane v. Franks, some believed that a firm rule had been established that the off-duty testimony in court by a public employee was absolutely constitutionally protected by the First Amendment, and could not be the basis for discipline. A recent decision from the federal Sixth Circuit Court of […]

Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Award Reinstating Trooper Who Cannot Carry Gun

Following his assignment to Troop M of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), Trooper Craig Acord became romantically involved with Trooper Rachel Jones. After their relationship ended in 2014, Jones filed several complaints against Acord, alleging harassing behavior. As a result, Acord was issued a Supervisor’s Notation instructing him to cease communications with Trooper Jones and […]

Fire Captain Loses Beach Volleyball Case

Andre DeCohen, who is African-American, is a fire captain employed by Los Angeles County. On February 25, 2012, DeCohen was working an overtime shift at a different station. Tom Brady was another captain working the same shift. In the Department, firefighters, including captains, are required to participate in physical training for at least one hour […]

Chicago Required To Bargain Over Body Camera Implementation

When the Chicago Police Department expanded a pilot body-worn camera (BWC) policy, Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the City’s police officers, filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board. The ULP complaint alleged that the City failed to bargain over the expanded policy, and that […]

Court Finds Fitness-For-Duty Evaluations Violate The ADA

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is an interstate governmental agency that operates transportation facilities in the New York metropolitan area, including airports, bridges, tunnels, train, bus, and marine terminals, as well as the World Trade Center site. The Authority’s rank-and-file police officers are represented by the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association […]

Firefighter’s Rule Lives On In Washington

The “Firefighter’s Rule” or “Professional Rescuer’s Rule” bars a firefighter or law enforcement officer from suing a third party whose negligence caused his or her presence at the scene where he or she is injured. The Rule is an artifact from the early 20th century, and has been repealed by a few state legislatures and […]

Illegal Retaliation After Captain Protests Order To March In MLK Day Parade

Walter Busby, who is African American, is a captain with the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) in Oklahoma. Busby reported to Major Walter Evans, who is also African American. On January 13, 2010, Evans called Busby to his office, and indicated that he was “ashamed and embarrassed about the lack of participation of blacks in TPD-sponsored […]

The ‘Public Official’ Rule And Defamation Lawsuits

In 1964, the United States Supreme Court published a groundbreaking decision on the law of defamation. In New York Times v. Sullivan, the Court held that the free speech protections of the First Amendment meant that a “public official” could not file a defamation of character (i.e., libel or slander) lawsuit unless the official could […]

Firefighters Union Owes No Duty Of Fair Representation To Acting Chief

An unusual series of events involving Chicago firefighter Paul Foertsch produced a decision involving the scope of a union’s duty of fair representation to employees on acting assignments out of the union’s bargaining unit. The Chicago Fire Fighters Union represents all full-time uniformed members of the Chicago Fire Department below the ranks of Deputy District […]

Arbitrator Orders Oklahoma City Police To Maintain Minimum Shift Staffing

The collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between Lodge 123 of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and the City of Oklahoma City contains both a management rights and a maintenance of benefits clause. The management rights clause reserves to the City “the right to plan, direct, and control all operations relating to the Police Department . […]