‘Principle Purpose’ Of Body Cameras Not Safety

The City and County of Denver is a consolidated government, with its police services provided by the Denver Police Department. Colorado has no state law governing bargaining for police. As such, where bargaining exists for police in Colorado, it does so under local charter and code provisions. So it is with Denver, which bargains under a city charter provision. The scope of bargaining is limited to a small number…

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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, the employer is free to adjust work hours within a work week or work…

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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 Appeals shows that the lower courts are not giving such an expansive reading to…

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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 was the subject of two internal and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) investigations relating to…

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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 per day. When DeCohen arrived at Fire Station 110 for his overtime shift, Brady…

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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 the issue of bodycams was a mandatory topic for collective bargaining. The City responded…

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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 (PBA). The parties’ collective bargaining agreement, known as a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), allows…

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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 rejected by a few state courts. The Rule lives on, though, in the majority…

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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 activities, particularly the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade” and informed Busby that Evans…

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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 prove that the defamatory statement was made with “malice.” Sullivan defined “malice” as the…

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