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In Some Parts Of The Country, Patronage Is Still Legal

Though it seems like an anomaly in many places, in some areas of the country political patronage systems still exist. In such systems, employees can be discharged because of their political affiliations or activities. While the areas of the country where patronage systems exist are few and are shrinking, they still do exist. Mallory Jones and Troy Moses, deputy marshals of the Civil and Magistrate Courts of Richmond County,…

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No Due Process Right For Probationary Employees To Remain On Layoff List

Good news is not on the way when a court starts its opinion in your case by writing: “A chance at a job is not a right to it. When the government has broad discretion to take a benefit away from its employees, that benefit is not a constitutionally protected property interest.” The case began when corrections officers Claudio Tundo and Ruben Gilgorri were laid off by Passaic County,…

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Officer Not Allowed To Sue Black Lives Matter Protest Organizer

On July 9, 2016, a protest took place by blocking a public highway in front of the Baton Rouge Police Department headquarters in Louisiana. This demonstration was one in a string of protests across the country, often associated with Black Lives Matter, concerning police practices. The Department prepared by organizing a front line of officers in riot gear. These officers were ordered to stand in front of other officers…

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County Not Liable For Sergeant’s Assault On Deputy

Angela Branford was a deputy sheriff with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. Branford met Sergeant Jonathan Christensen when he led a training session. Sometime in 2013 or 2014, Branford and Christensen began a consensual romantic and sexual relationship. During the course of the relationship, Branford described Christensen’s behavior as growing more controlling. Branford attempted on several occasions to end her relationship with Christensen but was unsuccessful. On…

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‘An Investigation Is Not An Object That Can Be Measured With A Ruler’

Officer Todd Furlong, who worked for the City of Inglewood, California, crashed his patrol car on La Brea Avenue while speeding to respond to an emergency call. The Department assigned Traffic Investigator Jeffrey LaGreek to the accident. LaGreek noted La Brea Avenue has two northbound and two southbound lanes at the location of the accident, as well as a center median. Furlong was driving in the left lane. A…

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‘Witness’ Entitled To Weingarten Representative

Maylee Bardelas is a police officer with the City of Doral, Florida. Bardelas was accused by Sergeant Eric Fernandez of “intentionally driving away from an active shooter scene” and was charged by the Department with “cowardice.” Eventually, the investigation determined that “there was insufficient evidence to substantiate a finding that Bardelas was the officer observed driving away from the incident” and the police chief directed Investigator Glenn Stolzenberg to…

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Subjective Hiring Criteria For Fire Chief Are Not Necessarily Illegal

When the City of Americus, Georgia failed to hire Roderick Jolivette as its fire chief, Jolivette sued, claiming he was discriminated against because he is African-American and in retaliation for suing his former employer for unlawful employment practices. A federal trial court found that the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons the City proffered for hiring Roger Bivins, a Caucasian man, were not pretexts for discrimination and retaliation. Jolivette appealed, and the…

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Deputy Doubles Down On Dishonesty, Loses Job

Deputy Mark Montez worked as a corrections officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On September 27, 2010, Dequan Ballard, an inmate in the jail, stole items from a commissary cart. The theft was reported to Deputy Omar Lopez, who informed Montez. Lopez and Montez took Ballard to an elevator landing to strip search him for the stolen items. Lopez searched Ballard while Montez monitored the hallway to…

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Workers’ Comp Judge Should Not Have Heard Trooper’s Claim

Scott Ledford is a former lance corporal with the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Ledford was injured in two separate work-related accidents. In July 2010, Ledford sustained injuries to his spine after being tasered during a training exercise. Ledford settled the 2010 claim with the State. In March 2012, Ledford was involved in a motorcycle accident while attempting to pursue a motorist. Following the second accident, Ledford filed two separate…

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Officer’s Failure To Request Arbitration Dooms Duty Of Fair Representation Claim

Joseph Juisti, who is Caucasian, was hired in or about April 2013 as a police officer for the City of Chester Police Department in Pennsylvania. Juisti worked in this position until January 2018, when he left work due to stress and anxiety stemming from perceived discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. Juisti was represented by the Fraternal Order of Police William Penn Lodge No. 19. During the course of his employment,…

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Denial of Outside Employment Not ‘Adverse Action’ For Discrimination Purposes

Phyllis Sloan is a firefighter for the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department. Sloan contends that she is physically disabled as a result of chronic lateral epicondylitis in her right elbow, plantar fasciitis and acute bronchial spasms. Sloan filed a charge with the EEOC complaining of discrimination based on her sex and physical disabilities in 2015. In January and July 2017, Sloan requested approval for outside employment. Both times the…

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Termination For Theft ‘Shocks Conscience’ Of Court

The New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau conducted an integrity test whereby an undercover officer acted intoxicated while parked illegally near a fire hydrant. A video of the incident shows Officer Richard Arroyo going into the undercover officer’s vehicle, taking $55 from the center console, taking a $20 bill and putting it into his left hand, while counting out the remaining $35 and grabbing that with his right…

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Q & A

From Washington:Question: Can a patrol squad sergeant institute a DUI arrest competition among the officers of his/her squad and then compel the “losing officer” to purchase dinner or breakfast for the squad because he/she came in with the fewest DUI arrests in a certain time frame? Some new officers are too timid to confront the sergeant in not wanting to participate or feel comfortable participating in such a competition….

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Court Refuses To Give Advisory Opinion On Fire Department’s FLSA Question

The Spokane Valley Fire Department in Washington filed a federal court lawsuit against Local 3701 of the IAFF, seeking a declaratory judgment that some of its employees – battalion chiefs and fire marshals who are members of Local 3701 – were exempt from certain wage and hour provisions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The lawsuit arose out of a discussion in bargaining, where the Department took the…

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Corrections Officer Wins $1.48 Million In Damages

Richard Dixson has been employed by the Missouri Department of Corrections (DOC) since 1995 and has worked at its Kansas City Reentry Center since 1998. When Dixson first started working for the DOC, he was a Corrections Officer 1, or prison guard. He was promoted to Corrections Classifications Assistant, a position that helped offenders find jobs, complete job applications, and operate in the community. Eventually, his position was reclassified…

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Administrative Leave Can Trigger Whistleblower Rights

Like many states, Minnesota has a whistleblower statute. In general, the statute prohibits retaliation against an employee who alleges that the employer has violated the law. Sergeant Steven Moore is a 29-year veteran of New Brighton’s police department. In March 2015, the City required all police employees to attend training. Employees attended the training outside their ordinary schedules, but the City did not pay them overtime for attending. Moore…

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Employer Required To Pay Retiree’s Medicare Supplement Premium

James Gallagher was employed as a police officer by the Town of Fairfield, Connecticut until October 9, 1986. On that date, the Fairfield Police and Fire Retirement Board approved his request for disability retirement benefits. Gallagher’s disability retirement at age 35 was the result of a serious injury he sustained during the course of his employment. On the date of his retirement, Gallagher was a member of the Fairfield…

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Personality Traits Not Protected By ADA

Kent Donley was a police officer with the Village of Yorkville in New York. On July 5, 2011, the Village mayor and the board of trustees were presented with a written complaint from a resident regarding an incident with Donley. The complaint alleged that Donley had approached the resident and her daughter in the resident’s fenced-in backyard at approximately 10:30 p.m., and that Donley had shined a flashlight at…

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Employer Must Provide Information Before, Not After, Loudermill Hearing

The town of Auburn, Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. One of the members of the Coalition is dispatcher Maureen MacLean. The Town begin investigating MacLean about a call she took on July 11, 2017. The investigation expanded into MacLean’s conduct on other calls and resulted in MacLean being placed on administrative leave. As the investigation proceeded, the Coalition requested a…

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Trooper’s Garrity Rights Violated

Christopher Kober was a trooper with the Nebraska State Patrol. Kober was criminally charged on June 1, 2017, with theft by receiving stolen property valued at more than $5,000, a Class IIA felony under Nebraska law. The criminal investigation began when the Bellevue Police Department informed the Patrol that, acting on a tip from Kober’s wife, it had discovered a large amount of prescription drugs in an ammunition can…

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When Is Harassing Conduct ‘Severe’ Enough?

Kevin Perry worked as a corrections officer for the Westchester County Department of Corrections in New York. Perry was assigned to the DOC’s booking unit, and Captain Robert Slensby was one of his supervisors. In July 2014, Perry completed a medical leave and returned to work at the DOC. Perry testified that on July 22, 2014, he was in jail booking with Slensby when Slensby placed his hands on…

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Police Chief May Have Due Process Rights

In 2013, the Village of University Park, Illinois hired Eddie Bradley as its police chief. In the occasionally tumultuous world of small-town politics, this didn’t last long, and soon after a municipal election in 2015, the mayor and Village Board placed Bradley on administrative leave. The Village fired him 13 days later, without giving him notice of good cause or an opportunity to be heard. The letter from the…

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Fire Lieutenant Terminated For Twice Testing Positive For Marijuana

Marlon Cooper, a lieutenant with the Memphis Fire Department, first tested positive for marijuana in 2008. At that time, Cooper was not terminated from his employment, but instead was suspended for 360 hours and thereafter entered into an employee assistance program (EAP). Although Cooper was given a second chance, the City made clear that illegal drug use was not permitted by its personnel, noting in its 2008 suspension letter…

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Sergeant’s $1.9 Million Verdict Reduced To $2,700

Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant David Holt II filed suit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and four of his supervisors. Holt alleged multiple instances of race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and contrary to the guarantees of the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment. A jury returned a partial verdict, thereby necessitating a second trial. Holt prevailed on several of…

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