Q & A

From OklahomaQuestion: I work for a municipal law enforcement agency in Oklahoma. Nothing in the FLSA relieves employers from their contractual obligations under a collective bargaining agreement. My employer has a practice that conflicts with what is agreed to in the CBA. There is a group of officers in the department that hold upper positions. These officers do not receive overtime. They work nine hours each day and only…

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Officer Cannot Go Directly To Court, Must Exhaust Internal Appeals

In January 18, 2012, a fellow police officer informed the Bridgeton Police Department in New Jersey that Officer Robert Smith would be arriving at the police station to sell him anabolic steroids. When Smith arrived, the Department arrested him and charged him with several indictable crimes involving the possession and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. When the City notified Smith that it intended to terminate him, Smith and…

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Charge Of Interfering With Polygraph Not Barred By Bill Of Rights

A police officer for Montgomery County, Maryland, identified only as John Doe, was investigated for soliciting sexual activity from a cashier in a retail establishment in October 2015. As part of the Department’s investigation, Doe was ordered to submit to a polygraph examination, something allowable under Maryland law. The Department concluded that during the polygraph test, Doe engaged in counter measures designed to subvert the test. His behavior persisted…

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Because Of Disciplinary Impact, Body Cameras Are Negotiable

AFSCME Local 61 represents corrections officers working for the State of Nebraska. The management rights clause of the parties’ contract grants the State “the right to introduce new or improved methods, equipment, technology, or facilities.” A major at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution gave notice that effective August 28, 2017, body-worn cameras would be used in three locations at the Institution, and also stated that other housing units would…

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Who Are ‘Comparable Employees’ For Discrimination Purposes?

Most discrimination cases follow a three-step process first described by the Supreme Court in McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Under the McDonnell-Douglas framework, the employee bears the initial burden of setting forth a prima facie case of discrimination. The burden then shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for whatever adverse action it took against the employee. If the employer meets that burden,…

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Bill Of Rights Does Not Apply To Criminal Investigators From Different Agency

Robert Ebe was a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. In 2011, Ebe and his wife divorced, and Ebe moved out of the family home. At first, Ebe was living in the bunk room of the Department’s West Hollywood substation. In mid-2011, however, Ebe began renting a room from Cyril Osuchukwu, who owned a house in Woodland Hills. Ebe would stay in the room whenever he…

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City Required To Pay Attorney Fees Of Union President

Michael Carter is a member of the Shreveport Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board as well as the President of the Shreveport Police Officers Association. On September 14, 2015, Carter served public records requests upon the City. When his requests were not satisfied, he brought a lawsuit against the City and the Shreveport Police Chief and City Attorney. Carter was also a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in…

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Pennsylvania Court Struggles With Arbitrator’s Opinion Reinstating Officer

The Northern Berks Regional Police Commission provides police services to certain parts of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The Commission is a party to a collective bargaining agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police. In September 2016, the Commission terminated Officer Charles Hobart due to misconduct. Specifically, the Department learned that Hobart kept a file folder in his desk containing (1) explicit pictures of females in different stages of undress, (2)…

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Supreme Court Holds Small Public Employers Subject To Age Discrimination Law

Faced with a budget shortfall, Mount Lemmon Fire District, a political subdivision in Arizona, laid off its two oldest full-time firefighters, John Guido (then 46) and Dennis Rankin (then 54). Guido and Rankin sued the District, contending they had been terminated in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). When the Fire District responded that it was too small to qualify as an employer under…

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If There’s A Last Chance Agreement, What’s Left To Arbitrate?

Thomas Eccleston is a firefighter with the City of Waterbury, Connecticut. Eccleston was arrested and charged with third degree assault and breach of the peace in the second degree, which caused the City to place Eccleston on paid administrative leave pending the completion of an investigation. On November 19, 2015, Eccleston and the president of his labor organization, the Waterbury Fire Fighters Association, signed a last chance agreement. The…

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