fbpx

Q & A

From Washington:Question: Would you be willing to comment on a situation regarding sick leave? Our CBA is silent on the issue of using sick leave extending beyond three consecutive days. The employer has not utilized this policy for any of our members, but recently stated they would if an employee called in one more day after she was off for three. I engaged in an email exchange with the…

Read More

In Some States, PTSD Not Compensable Injury Without Physical Injury

Brian Carver was employed by the Jackson Police Department in Mississippi as a patrolman for 20 years. In 2004, Carver fatally shot a suspect. After his two required visits to a psychologist, Carver was cleared to return to work, where he experienced physical and mental health issues while on duty. The first time Carver experienced PTSD symptoms after returning to work occurred when he was dispatched on a domestic…

Read More

Suspensions, Not Demotion, Appropriate Punishment For Harassing Conduct

Jimmie Turner was a lieutenant with the New Orleans Police Department. In an October 17, 2018 disciplinary letter, the Department suspended and then demoted Turner to a police sergeant classification after finding that he violated Policy 328 entitled “Workplace Discriminatory Harassment/Retaliation.” The discipline arose from a complaint lodged by Sergeant Peter Hansche. At the time of the complaint, Turner was Hansche’s immediate supervisor in the Homicide Unit. Hansche, a…

Read More

Deputy Fired After Supporting Husband’s Losing Campaign For Sheriff

Sabrina Tice began working for the Sheriff’s Department in Lincoln County, Oklahoma as a full-time deputy in 2012. Charlie Dougherty was the elected Sheriff. Tice’s husband, John Tice, also worked as a deputy with the Department. In 2015, Mr. Tice was indicted on criminal charges related to an alleged excessive use of force. Given the charges, the Department terminated Mr. Tice’s employment. Tice was unhappy about the termination decision…

Read More

Mandatory Retirement Not ‘Involuntary’

Firefighter Robert Pyzyna worked for the Prospect Heights Fire Protection District in Illinois from June 2005 until his retirement on October 31, 2017. Pyzyna’s retirement was required because he had reached the age of 65, the mandatory retirement age for active firefighters under the Illinois Fire Protection District Act. Pyzyna retired with a defined benefit pension plan and began receiving pension benefits in November 2017. That same month, Pyzyna…

Read More

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Mandatory Vaccination Of Corrections Employees

The general thinking has been that public safety employers have the right to impose mandatory vaccinations against COVID-19 assuming: (1) that they discharge any obligation to collectively bargain over such a program; and (2) make reasonable accommodations for employees objecting to vaccination on religious or disability grounds. A lawsuit filed several weeks ago challenges those assumptions and argues that a mandatory vaccination program violates an entirely different set of…

Read More

Employer Can Be Liable For Discriminatory Bad Job Reference

While Nickolas Forrest was employed with the police department in Haltom City, Texas, officers and supervisors began mocking his religion. Forrest is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church. He reported the problem to higherups. Shortly thereafter, the Department assigned an internal affairs officer to investigate Forrest for misconduct – namely lying to a superior officer about whether…

Read More

Constitution Protects Against ‘Compelled Speech’

Michael Gala is a Deputy Assistant Chief with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY). On May 18, 2020, Gala met with Chief of Department John Sudnik and Chief of Fire Operations Thomas Richardson and was informed that he would be promoted to Assistant Chief of Department on May 23. However, Chief Sudnik explained that the Fire Commissioner wanted Gala to send an email, recanting opinions that he had…

Read More

Videos Do Not Prove That Officer Had Recovered

It is not uncommon when an employer suspects that an employee may be falsely describing the extent of an on-the-job injury for the employer to obtain video of the employee engaging in physical activities. A recent case involving a Chicago police officer serves as a reminder that video evidence that the employee has engaged in even vigorous physical activity does not necessarily establish that the employee is malingering, and…

Read More

Walking To Car After Testifying Not ‘Act Of Duty’ For Pension Purposes

Paul Griffin was a detective with the Village of New Lenox Police Department in Illinois. On September 7, 2016, Griffin worked from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. He was wearing his service revolver, handcuffs, and police radio. Griffin’s supervisor informed him that he was to testify before a grand jury pursuant to a subpoena at the county courthouse. Griffin drove his vehicle assigned by the police department with his…

Read More

City Can Be Liable For ADA Violations Of Third-Party Evaluators

When Christopher Gibbs applied to be a Pittsburgh policeman, he passed the written test and got a conditional job offer. After that, Pennsylvania Law required him to “be personally examined by a licensed psychologist and found to be psychologically capable of exercising appropriate judgment or restraint in performing the duties of a police officer.” When two of the three psychologists who interviewed him opined that he was unfit to…

Read More

Chief’s Questions And Statements During Roll Call Amount To Illegal “Direct Dealing”

Ibrahim Michael Baycora is Paterson, New Jersey Police Department’s Chief of Police. The City has bargaining agreements with the Paterson PBA Local 1 (PBA) and Paterson PBA Local 1 Superior Officers Association (SOA). Baycora attended the October 27, 2020 joint negotiations session with the PBA and SOA as a member of the City’s negotiating team. Baycora was fairly outspoken about his concerns with the labor agreements. He accused the…

Read More

Q & A

From Washington:Question: Can an employer mandate/require an officer to get the COVID-19 vaccine to continue working? Do you see guilds/unions challenging this and how do you see courts ruling? Answer: There’s not a lot of law on whether a mandatory vaccine requirement would be a negotiable topic. The NLRB has some cases that suggest it is negotia­ble, but there’s a case out of California’s PERB that suggests it isn’t….

Read More

Fire Captain’s Duties ‘Substantially Similar’ To Those Of Secretary

Under a Nevada Statute, an em­ployer may offer temporary, light-duty employment to an injured employee in lieu of paying temporary total disability benefits to that employee. The statute provides that for a temporary, light-duty employment offer to be valid, the offered position must be “substantially similar” to the employee’s preinjury position in location, hours, wages, and benefits. Reaching a result that might seem surprising, the Nevada Supreme Court has…

Read More

The Term ‘Residency’ Can Have Many Meanings

The Charter of the City of Wilm­ington, Delaware requires that officers of the Wilmington Police Department reside in the City for the first five years of their employment. Under Delaware’s unusual system, the Charter was enact­ed by the Delaware legislature, known as the General Assembly. The General Assembly did not expressly define “resi­dence” when enacting the City Charter. The City mandates that officers fill out a “declaration of residency”…

Read More

On-Call Status And Line Of Duty Deaths

Dale Newman was the Police Chief for the City of Leadwood, Missouri. In that capacity, Newman “was always subject to call.” Newman also held a second job as a warehouse worker with UPS in Crystal City, Missouri, where he loaded package delivery trucks. On August 27, 2014, Newman was loading delivery trucks at the UPS facility when he suffered a fatal heart attack. The medical ex­aminer concluded the cause…

Read More

Firefighters, Families Lose Lawsuit Over Fatal House Fire

Three firefighters perished in a house fire that occurred on September 24, 2016 in the City of Wilmington, Delaware. Three other firefighters were badly injured in the same fire. The three injured firefighters – Fire­fighter Brad Speakman, Senior Fire­fighter Terrance Tate, and Lieutenant John Cawthray – as well as the estates and survivors of the three deceased fire­fighters – Lieutenant Christopher Leach, Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes, and Se­nior Firefighter…

Read More

Torts And Sexual Harassment

A tort can be loosely defined as “a non-contractual civil wrong.” Some torts, including negligence and some forms of product liability, do not require any particular intent on the part of a wrongdoer. Others, most of which are collected under the heading of inten­tional torts, require that the wrongdoer act with impermissible intent. Battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress are intentional torts. A recent case from Illinois illustrates…

Read More

Probationary Employee Not Entitled To Details Of Basis For Termination

James Fermin was hired by the Law­rence Police Department in Massachusetts in April 2016. After completion of the police academy, Fermin was sworn in as a full-time officer on October 14, 2016. Fermin was on probationary status until October 14, 2017. On August 2, 2017, Mayor Daniel Rivera gave Fermin a written notice of termination. The termination letter, which was effective immediately, stated that “a number of issues have…

Read More

SWAT Sniper Entitled To Jury Trial In Facebook Case

You know a court’s opinion will be anything but run-of-the-mill when it begins: “Social media has allowed Americans to connect with friends in far-flung places and to share their opinions on topics both mundane and momentous. But social media can also tempt people to impulsively make inflammatory comments that they later regret. And even worse for them, employers often react by firing or punishing them for their ill-advised remarks….

Read More

PTSD Caused Marital Problems, Not Vice-Versa

Christopher Staford was a Crest Hill police officer in Illinois. He was working as a patrol officer on Decem­ber 11, 2010, when he and a suspect exchanged gunfire. During the inci­dent, Staford’s gun jammed. Shortly after the incident, Staford went to the emergency room, where he complained of feeling “rattled” and “very anxious.” He was diagnosed with anxiety. After continuing to experience symptoms, Staford began seeing Dr. Puls, a…

Read More

Non-Disciplinary Questioning Does Not Violate Bill Of Rights

Errol Cruz worked as a senior trooper for the Maryland State Police. In February 2018, his supervisor, Ser­geant Torres, noticed that “he could not verify Cruz’s location” using a GPS device installed in Cruz’s patrol car and discovered that he was not able to log into the GPS device through­out Cruz’s shifts. Such GPS devices are installed in all police vehicles to enable the State Police to identify the…

Read More

Challenges To The ‘Public Policy’ Doctrine In Illinois

Parties to contracts such as labor agreements can choose to substitute arbitration for a court resolution of contractual disputes. With two notable exceptions, final and binding arbitration of grievances is just that: final and binding. As the Supreme Court held in United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960), a court should not disturb a labor arbitrator’s decision unless the decision does not…

Read More

The Timing Of A Demand To Bargain

On August 17, 2016, the Orchard Park Police Benevolent Association (PBA) filed an improper practice charge with New York’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) alleging that the Town of Orchard Park had committed several unfair labor practices. One of the claims related to the replacement of a paper sign-in system with Kronos, a biometric timekeeping system. The Kronos system requires each employee to submit to a hand scan at…

Read More

Psychological Problems From Demotion Not ‘Service Related’

Edward Marquez worked for the County of Los Angeles for approximately 20 years as an officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Public Safety. When that agency merged into the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Marquez was conditionally offered the position of deputy sheriff, provided he could establish that he was qualified for the position by passing a background check, medical and psychological examinations, and a polygraph test….

Read More

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software