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Arbitrator’s Decision On Civilianization ‘Rational’

City of Columbus, Ohio and Local 67 of the IAFF are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. In 2015, the City notified the Local that it intended to civilianize 17 positions. When Local 67 filed a grievance over the civilianization, the matter ended up in arbitration. The Arbitrator found that language in Section 7.2 of the collective bargaining agreement, wherein the City’s agreement “to not civilianize any fire prevention,…

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Lieutenants Not Exempt From FLSA Overtime

A group of lieutenants in the Travis County Sheriff’s Office in Texas brought an overtime lawsuit under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The lieutenants claimed they were wrongly treated as exempt employees. When a jury found in the lieutenants’ favor, the County appealed. The County’s argument was that the lieutenants were exempt “executive” employees. A required element of the executive exemption is that the employee be one “who has…

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USERRA Applies To National Guard Service

On August 15, 2015, Sergeant David Mueller of the Joliet Police Department enlisted in the National Guard and performed active duty service on multiple occasions thereafter. In March 2016, Mueller received notice from the National Guard advising him of an opening in the Illinois National Guard Counterdrug Task Force. Mueller applied for the position. On March 23, Mueller received orders to report for full-time National Guard duty in Romeoville,…

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Advising Fellow Officer About Running For Office Protected By First Amendment

Bill Williams is a sergeant in the Allentown, Pennsylvania Police Department. Williams commanded the Youth Division, where he was responsible for developing public programs for the City’s youth and improving recruitment efforts for the police force. In January 2017, one of Williams’ co-workers in the Youth Division approached him off duty, seeking advice on whether he could run for political office. The co-worker told Williams that he was considering…

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Fire Union Not Liable For President’s Assault On Member

Scott Bergantino is a lieutenant with the Cranston Fire Department in Rhode Island. Paul Valletta is a deputy chief in the Department and as well is the president of the Cranston Firefighters Union, Local 1363. The two men have little use for each other. In 2017, Bergantino and Valletta argued over whether Bergantino’s Station Six crew should participate in the “Fill the Boot” fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association…

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The First Amendment v. Whistleblower Laws

In Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), the United States Supreme Court ruled that speech made as part of a public employee’s job has no First Amendment protection. However, the First Amendment is only one source of protection against improper discipline for engaging in speech. Protection against unfair discipline for speech can be found in the “just cause” provisions of collective bargaining agreements, in civil service laws, and…

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Dual Role Of City Attorney Does Not Violate Due Process

Kevin Johanns was a firefighter with the City of Muncie, Indiana. Throughout his employment, he struggled to comply with the applicable rules and regulations. On numerous occasions between 2004 and 2010, Johanns reported late to work, called in sick repeatedly, and was given verbal and written reprimands. In 2012, Johanns was assigned to Battalion Chief Clevenger. On multiple occasions, he was absent without leave or called in sick. He…

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Retired Officer Wins Hearing On Heart Claim

George Dickerson was a police officer with the City of Stamford, Connecticut. In July 2000, Dickerson was diagnosed with hypertension and filed a timely claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The State Workers’ Compensation Commissioner concluded that Dickerson’s hypertension was compensable and awarded a 40 percent permanent partial disability. Dickerson retired from the Department in 2004. On September 4, 2014, Dickerson suffered an inferior wall myocardial infarction as a result…

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Court Turns Away Latest Janus-Based Challenge To Dues Deductions

Jared Allen, Christina Cole, Eric Hendrickson, and Jeremy Dunaway work for the State of Ohio. Each was given the option to join or not join the union representing State of Ohio employees, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA), which is affiliated with AFSCME. All four opted to join OCSEA at some point during his/her tenure. To join OCSEA, an employee must sign a dues deduction form referred to…

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Court Orders Reinstatement Of Trooper Who Lied About His Hat

A long opinion from the North Carolina Court of Appeals may have put to rest an 11-year saga involving Trooper Thomas Wetherington. The Court’s opinion begins on a bit of a philosophical note: “It is unlikely so many lawyers have ever before written so many pages because of a lost hat. True, hats have caused serious problems in prior cases. Once a streetcar passenger was blinded in one eye…

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Interview With Lisa Charbonneau

Lisa Charbonneau

Are you interested in the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA, as it is commonly known? Do you ponder over the Garicia decision? Daydream about Department of Labor regulations? Does thinking about what needs to be included in the regular rate of pay make you feel tingly all over? Then boy, do we have the podcast for you. Will and attorney Lisa Charbonneau from the firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore…

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Officer Loses Lawsuit Against Prosecutor For Roll Call Comments

Edwin Diaz is a Miami-Dade Police Officer assigned to the Department’s Narcotics Bureau. On February 26, 2016, Diaz was arrested as part of a sting operation being conducted by the Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. The investigation focused on whether Narcotics Bureau officers were stealing money from crime scenes. Diaz’s arrest occurred when, as he drove home, several of his fellow…

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Q&A

From Florida:Question: I have a question regarding the City of Tampa’s practice of temporarily rescheduling a police officer’s work schedule in order to staff a city-sponsored special event such as a parade. We believe it’s done to avoid paying overtime that would be paid in order to staff the event. For example, if a police officer’s normal work schedule is Monday through Friday and a parade is scheduled for…

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DROP Reform Does Not Violate Constitution

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System is a public pension fund that provides comprehensive retirement, death, and disability benefits for approximately 9,300 active and retired City of Dallas police officers, firefighters, and their qualified dependents. Under the retirement plan, individuals become members of the pension system once they commence training at the police or firefighter academy. The member and the City contribute to the member’s account during the…

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Municipal Convictions Disqualify Applicant From Police Job

Ramon Camilo applied for employment as a police officer in Jersey City and was ranked on the list of eligible candidates. At the request of the City, the Civil Service Commission removed Camilo’s name from the list based on past incidents detailed in a background investigation report. The background report cited the fact that in 2007, Camilo did not appear in court to answer charges for failing to exhibit…

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Only Union, Not Terminated Police Commissioner, Can Compel Arbitration

Matthew Nichols was the Deputy Police Commissioner for Warren, Michigan. On July 18, 2018, Nichols responded to a dispatch call regarding a suspected shoplifting and took an active role in arresting the suspects, one of whom later alleged that Nichols used excessive force in effectuating the arrest. After an internal investigation the Department terminated Nichols. Nichols challenged his termination in federal court, alleging the City violated his rights to…

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Firefighter Who Smoked For 30 Years Wins Lung Cancer Claim

Wayne Deloatch worked as a firefighter for the City of Philadelphia from 1988, until he retired in 2008. Deloatch filed a workers’ compensation claim when was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011. Over the course of his career, Deloatch worked at three different fire stations, none of which contained a diesel fuel emissions capture system. At the beginning and end of each shift, firefighters were required to start the…

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Union Lawyer Not Liable To Member For Malpractice Claim

Russell Zander was a police officer with the Village of Fox Lake, Illinois. When the Village’s police chief filed formal charges recommending Zander’s termination, Zander’s labor organization, the FOP, assigned Roy Carlson to represent him. Carlson is a licensed attorney and FOP employee who represents members in grievance and termination proceedings. Zander did not pay Carlson, other than indirectly through his union dues, and the two did not sign…

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Video Shows Assault, Not Rough Sexual Foreplay

Joe Jones was a San Diego police officer. In December 2015, Jones traveled to Puerto Rico with his girlfriend, Sarah, to attend a boxing match. Sarah worked as a bookkeeper for the boxer’s wife. Several off-duty San Diego police officers also attended the boxing match as the boxer’s security detail. The day after the boxing match, one of the off-duty police officers, Lieutenant Ben Kelso, learned that an alleged…

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Promise Of No Discipline? No Weingarten Rights

The Fraternal Order of Transit Police (FOTP) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Mark Byrne had been a police officer at SEPTA for approximately two-and-a-half years when in December 2017, Byrne responded to a radio call concerning a man on a train station platform with four other SEPTA police officers. Byrne later described some sort of altercation, during which the officers…

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No ‘Error Too Obvious To Be Unintentional’ On The Money Train

Tiffany Washington, an African American woman, served as a sergeant in the Metro Transit Police Department from 2008 to 2016. The Department is a unit of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates trains and buses in and around the District of Columbia. Washington worked at WMATA’s Revenue Collection Facility in Alexandria, Virginia, where she supervised lower-ranking officers aboard the money train, which transports cash fares from…

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Requiring Pregnant Officer To Use Up Leave Violates Discrimination Law

Officer Kathleen Delanoy works for the Ocean Township Police Department in New Jersey. When Delanoy found out she was pregnant with her second child, she informed her supervisors her doctor recommended she be taken off patrol. She asked to be transferred to a light-duty or less strenuous position within the Department. She was consequently assigned to non-patrol duty, pursuant to the Department’s Maternity Assignment Standard Operating Procedure (Maternity SOP)….

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Management’s Petition Violates Fire Union’s Rights

The City of Pasadena, California and the Pasadena Fire Fighters Association Local 809 are parties to a memorandum of understanding, California’s equivalent of a collective bargaining agreement. Local 809 represents the Department’s approximately 150 sworn captains, engineers, and firefighters. Battalion chiefs are represented by the Pasadena Fire Management Association. A disagreement arose between Fire Chief Bertral Washington and Local 809 as to how to honor four firefighters who had…

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First Lawsuit Against Plain View Project Is Dismissed

In the summer of 2016, a team of attorneys in Philadelphia learned that numerous local police officers had posted content on Facebook that appeared to endorse violence, racism and bigotry. In some of these posts, officers commented that apprehended suspects – often black men – “should be dead” or “should have more lumps on his head.” In other Facebook conversations, officers advocated shooting looters on sight and using cars…

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Illinois Statute Only Requires Employer To Provide Lowest-Cost Health Plan To Disabled Employees

Terry Esser was a police officer with the City of Peoria, Illinois. In June and October 2013, Esser injured his back while at work. Esser eventually had surgery but was unable to return to work as a police officer. In September 2014, Esser filed an application with the pension board for line-of-duty disability pension benefits, which was later granted. In August 2015, Esser filed an application for health insurance…

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