Officer Loses Cell Phone Claim To Qualified Immunity

In the public discussion about the principle of “qualified immunity” virtually no mention is made of the fact that qualified immunity bars many lawsuits by public employees alleging constitutional violations by their employers. A recent case out of Ohio provides a good illustration of how qualified immunity works in an employment context. The case involved […]

The High Standard For PTSD Claims In Some States

A case involving Huntington Firefighter John Angle shows the difficulty of establishing a PTSD workers’ compensation claim in a state with a “physical injury” statute such as West Virginia. Several states have workers’ compensation laws similar to Section 23-4 of the West Virginia Code, which provides that “no alleged injury or disease shall be recognized […]

Disabled Corrections Officer Unable To Perform Essential Job Functions

Stephen Mannan worked as a corrections officer for the Colorado Department of Corrections. In January 2017, Mannan experienced chronic hip pain and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and told he would need a hip replacement. As Mannan was morbidly obese, his doctor advised him to lose approximately 50 pounds before surgery. In February 2017, Mannan took […]

Officer Required To Sit In Dark Building Loses Retaliation Case

Officer Michael Fiocca was assigned to work in the Philadelphia Police Department Forensic Science Unit (FSU). Starting in 2015 or 2016, Fiocca and the other officers in the FSU gained access to the daily attendance records sheets (DARS) of all officers in the FSU. Fiocca’s access to DARS enabled him to see the vacation and […]

EMT Forfeits Job By Failing To Appear For Retraining

After being injured while on duty as an EMT for the Borough of Wildwood Crest, New Jersey in 2010, and following two surgeries on his knee, Jasen Mitchell reached the maximum level of rehabilitation before being medically cleared for modified duty. The physical restrictions placed on Mitchell made it impossible for him to perform the […]

Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion Reinstating Corrections Officer

Andrew Ruffner began his employment as a corrections officer trainee at the Allegheny County Jail in May 2016. As part of the corrections officer trainee program, Ruffner received mandatory training in CPR and First Aid skills. Ruffner became a full-time corrections officer in April 2017 and was represented by the Allegheny County Prison Employees Independent […]

Whistleblowing, Sleeping Corrections Officers, And Retaliation

Alberto Limon, a former corrections officer employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), photographed fellow officers sleeping on duty, including some supervisors, some even with pillows. After Limon reported these officers to his supervisor, Captain Jose Badilla, a rat trap was placed on Limon’s seat; his name was scratched off his CDCR […]

Four Months Of Propositions Enough For Sexual Harassment Claim

Janie Myles was a 23-year veteran of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office when Victor Mason became sheriff. Myles later filed a lawsuit claiming that Mason subjected her to sexual harassment, discriminated against her based on race and sex, and ultimately fired her in retaliation for testifying against him in another woman’s sexual harassment suit. According […]

Fire Department Social Media Policy Could Be ‘Overbroad’

AJ O’Laughlin and Crystal Little are firefighters with the Palm Beach County Fire and Rescue Department in Florida. On February 6, 2019, O’Laughlin made Facebook posts on an invite-only Facebook page he maintained while campaigning for the presidency of Local 2928 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. The posts concerned alleged attempted misuse of […]

Whether Bargaining Should Be In Public Is Not Mandatory For Bargaining

Some public employers are adopting resolutions requiring collective bargaining to be conducted in public. Unions often push back on these resolutions, believing private collective bargaining to be more effective in the give-and-take process for resolving differences. Washington’s Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) recently had to address what happens when the parties are unable to agree […]

February 2021 Issue

The February 2021 issue of Public Safety Labor News is available now digitally on View or Download the PDF