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Interview With Attorney Isaac Kaufman

Will interviews Isaac Kaufman of Law Enforcement Labor Services about a case out of Richfield, Minnesota involving the public policy exception. The case started in arbitration and eventually ended up in the Minnesota Supreme Court, where Kaufman and his client prevailed. DOWNLOAD ABOUT ISAAC KAUFMAN Isaac Kaufman has served since 2008 as General Counsel for Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. (LELS), the largest law enforcement union in Minnesota. As…

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Q & A

From FloridaQuestion: Does being informed that the employee is a witness in an investigation negate the witness from asking for representation under Weingarten? He reasonably believed that as a witness, he may be subjected to discipline. The employer did not inform or assure the employee that he wouldn’t be, just stated that as a witness, he was not entitled to representation. Does being called a witness cancel the right…

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Training Is Not An ‘Emergency’

Jennifer Beckman was an officer with the police department in Peoria, Illinois. On February 26, 2015, Beckman participated in mandatory riot training, which included a briefing/classroom session and a field simulation. During the field simulation, Beckman slipped and fell on the snow and ice-covered pavement, striking her head on the ground. Beckman was asked by her fellow officers whether she could continue, as well as whether she wanted to…

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Cooperation With FBI Protected By First Amendment

On January 4, 2012, four members of the Hillview, Kentucky Police Department – James Barrow, Leo Cook, Police Chief Glenn Caple and Kenneth Straughn – went to the home of Mayor James Eadens after Eadens reported suspicious activity on his property. Eadens was not home when the officers arrived, but his son Allen was there. While looking around the yard, Straughn found a backpack tucked inside a tire behind…

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Mayor Had No Right To Promise Lieutenant Promotion

John Walker is a lieutenant in the Pocatello Police Department in Idaho. Walker sued the City, contending his due process rights were violated when Police Chief Scott Marchand and Mayor Brian Blad failed to deliver on Blad’s promise to promote Walker to captain. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Walker’s lawsuit. The Court’s terse opinion began: “Walker’s due process claim is premised on his contention that he…

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The ADA And Light-Duty Jobs

Repeating a result that has been reached many times in courts across the country, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals has illustrated how difficult it is for public safety employees to claim that their employers should accommodate their disabilities by assignment to a light-duty position. The case involved Sergeant Michael Garvey of the Town of Clarkstown, New York. Garvey suffered a knee injury while on duty, was placed…

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Deputy Cannot Sue Prosecutor For Wrongful Placement On Brady List

Mike Harris was hired by the Chelan County, Washington Sheriff’s Department in 1995. In July 2012, Harris advanced to the Chief of Patrol. Harris’ duties as Chief of Patrol included overseeing the Department’s armory. In August 2013, Harris investigated a missing Colt M16 rifle the County had purchased from the Army. In 2011, Undersheriff John Wisemore had signed documents indicating the rifle was in the armory, but range masters…

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Firefighter Loses Claim Against Union

Brandon Santiago was a firefighter with the City of Villa Park in Illinois and was represented by Local 2392 of the IAFF. When he was fired, Santiago filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board alleging that Local 2392 breached its duty of fair representation towards him. In essence, Santiago claimed that Local 2392 failed to adequately represent him during an investigation into his on-duty…

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Destruction Of Disciplinary Records Violates Public Policy

In 2011 and 2012, Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents officers in the Chicago Police Department, filed grievances seeking the destruction of disciplinary records older than five years. Section 8.4 of the Lodge’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provides that “all disciplinary investigation files, disciplinary history card entries, Independent Police Review Authority and Internal Affairs Division disciplinary records, and any other disciplinary record or summary of…

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Court Finds Brain Injury Is Not Physical Incapacitation

While he was on duty on August 12, 2014, Baltimore Police Officer Carlos Couret-Rios was in a car that was rear-ended. His head snapped forward and back and he briefly lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness and got out of the car, he experienced severe vertigo. A physician diagnosed him with post-concussion syndrome and prescribed vestibular therapy to improve his balance and reduce the problems related to dizziness. While…

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Failure To Follow Through On Alcohol Treatment Legitimate Basis For Discipline

While working as an Omaha Police Department (OPD) officer, Jason Christensen sought leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to get treatment for his alcoholism. He was granted FMLA leave in April 2015, until he exhausted his leave on or about July 18, 2015. Christensen sought voluntary inpatient alcohol treatment at Valley Hope of Omaha, an addiction treatment center, from April 26, 2015, through May 17, 2015….

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Iowa Collective Bargaining Cuts Upheld By Court

In 2017, Iowa moved to a “Quadruple R” political status, with Republicans holding the governorship, both houses of the legislature, and a majority of state supreme court justices. Very quickly thereafter – the process took little more than a month – the legislature adopted, and the Governor signed a bill drastically cutting back on public employee collective bargaining rights. The legislation drew a line between unions representing a bargaining…

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‘Do Not Apply’ Alert Is Protected Union Speech

In March 2016, then-interim Santa Maria, California Fire Chief Scott Kenley first raised the possibility with the Santa Maria Firefighters Association (SMFA) of running an open recruitment for the position of captain, which would allow people who were not already employees of the fire department to apply for the position. Kenley cited low interest and few applications among internal candidates as the reasons for the idea. The fire department…

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Same-Sex Partner Loses Claim For Survivor Benefits

Debra Lee Anderson and Deborah Cady were committed partners who worked for the Rapid City Police Department in South Dakota. Cady retired from the Department in May 2012. The couple married on July 19, 2015. Cady passed away on March 10, 2017. Upon Cady’s passing, Anderson applied for spousal survivor benefits under Cady’s retirement plan with the South Dakota Retirement System. The System denied Anderson’s application claiming Anderson and…

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Wearing Protective Mask Reasonable Accommodation For Corrections Officer

Monica Berry worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections as a corrections officer at the Logan Correctional Center. In February 2013, the Department granted her leave under the Family Medical Leave Act due to her asthma, which rendered her partially unable to do her job. Her asthma was exacerbated by potential irritants, specifically pepper spray. Although Berry was never exposed to the spray at work, it was used with…

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Speech About Firefighter’s Fitness Not Constitutionally Protected

Dr. Nancy King worked under contract for Polk County, Florida and for fifteen years was the primary person responsible for determining whether firefighter applicants were medically qualified. Ordinarily, King would rely on a national standard known as NFPA 1582 to determine if the candidate was capable of performing the tasks of a firefighter. She would then make a recommendation to the County. King’s lawsuit revolved around one applicant, “J,”…

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Permanent Inability To Return To Work Is Fatal

Isaiah Cardinale was an officer with the police department in Nutley Township, New Jersey. In December 2013, Cardinale submitted to a random drug test. Two days later, Cardinale admitted to using cocaine. The Department immediately suspended him pending the results of the test, and Cardinale successfully completed drug and alcohol treatment in Florida. In February 2014, the toxicology report demonstrated that he had tested positive for cocaine. The Department…

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Firefighter Wins $750k In Retaliation Case

Jesse Diaz was a firefighter for Trenton, New Jersey. Diaz, who is Hispanic, was well-regarded by his colleagues and supervisors, and he enjoyed their camaraderie and support. That changed after Diaz overheard a white firefighter named Plumeri use a racist term in reference to an African-American colleague. Although the colleague was not present, Diaz thought that the incident was serious, and that Plumeri should be disciplined for using racist…

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Firing Of Former Sheriff’s Wife Does Not Violate The First Amendment

Tamela Muir, Bert Muir, and Ben Boswell worked for the Decatur County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) in Iowa. Tamela began working for the DCSO in November 1996 as a jailer and dispatcher. Her employment was at-will. Bert started working for the DCSO on March 19, 1998, when he was elected Sheriff. He hired Boswell as a Deputy Sheriff in September 2001. Tamela and Bert were married in January 2008, and…

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HIPAA Forms Can Violate Americans With Disabilities Act

John Nawara is a corrections officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois. From 2002 to 2007, he was on a special team in the Cook County Jail called the Special Operations Response Team (SORT). After members of SORT supported a candidate who challenged Sheriff Tom Dart in the primary election, SORT was disbanded. Twenty-one members of SORT, including Nawara, successfully sued the County and Dart. By late…

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Discharge Not Excessive For Off-Duty, Alcohol-Influenced Shots Fired At Another Deputy

Judith Diaz was a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On October 13, 2011, Diaz went out for drinks with a friend and fellow deputy, Stephanie Hile. The two were joined by a third deputy, Adrienne Myers. The three had drinks at two different locations until closing time. All three left in Hile’s car. According to Diaz, Myers was driving. Myers said that Hile was driving;…

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How Miranda and Garrity Relate To One Another

In 2016, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) initiated an investigation into allegations of corruption within its Narcotics Bureau. In an effort to ascertain the identity of the purportedly corrupt law enforcement officers, the Criminal Conspiracy Section of the Department’s Professional Compliance Bureau orchestrated a clandestine sting operation. Investigators rented a motel room and designated an undercover police officer from the Orlando Police Department to pose as a drug peddler….

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Interview On The FMLA With Stacy Bunck and John Stretton

Will interviews attorneys Stacy Bunck and John Stretton of the management-side law firm Ogletree-Deakins on the Family And Medical Leave Act. They cover the basics of the FMLA, what the employer’s obligations and responsibilities are with respect to things such as health insurance and payment of premiums, life and disability insurance, accrual of paid leave, seniority, promotions and more. The attorney analyze the case of Mary Flowers (Flowers v….

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Staffing Grievance Is Arbitrable

The Watertown Firefighters Association in New York filed a grievance contending that the City violated provisions in its labor agreement relating to minimum staffing levels for shifts and regular operations within the City of Watertown’s Fire Department. The City refused to proceed to arbitration, contending that the staffing clauses were “unenforceable job security provisions that violate public policy.” A New York court ordered the City to submit to arbitration….

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The Time Frame For Filing A PTSD Claim

Benjamin Pitts was a police officer with the City of Chandler, Arizona. In May 2013, Pitts was on duty in his patrol vehicle with his fiancée, who was participating in a ride-along. That evening, Pitts received a call that there was a man acting in a disorderly manner and possibly brandishing a gun outside Chandler Regional Hospital. The dispatcher told Pitts the man was walking up the road with…

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