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Civil Service Orders Reinstatement Of Officer Who Shot Rayshard Brooks

On June 12, 2020, Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe and another offi­cer were called to a Wendy’s restaurant to deal with Rayshard Brooks, who had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-through lane. The officers questioned Brooks for a half hour and conducted field sobriety tests. As the officers moved to handcuff Brooks, Brooks grabbed the Taser of one of the officers and began running away. Rolfe chased…

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Deputy Fired After Supporting Husband’s Losing Campaign For Sheriff

Sabrina Tice began working for the Sheriff’s Department in Lincoln County, Oklahoma as a full-time deputy in 2012. Charlie Dougherty was the elected Sheriff. Tice’s husband, John Tice, also worked as a deputy with the Department. In 2015, Mr. Tice was indicted on criminal charges related to an alleged excessive use of force. Given the charges, the Department terminated Mr. Tice’s employment. Tice was unhappy about the termination decision…

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Employer Can Be Liable For Discriminatory Bad Job Reference

While Nickolas Forrest was employed with the police department in Haltom City, Texas, officers and supervisors began mocking his religion. Forrest is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church. He reported the problem to higherups. Shortly thereafter, the Department assigned an internal affairs officer to investigate Forrest for misconduct – namely lying to a superior officer about whether…

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Silence Is Not Acceptance Of A 15-Day Suspension

Sholanda Miller was a police officer with the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Miller lived with Eric Shorts, with whom she was romantically involved. During an investigation of a drug distribution enterprise, the FBI wiretapped Shorts’ telephone. In recorded calls, Shorts disclosed recent criminal activity to Miller and thanked her for informing him of increases in police presence. Miller did not report any of this information to MPD….

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Reprimand Not Sufficiently ‘Adverse’ To Support Discrimination Suit

Detroit Police Officer Adeela Green, who is African American, was supervised by Lieutenant James Cashion, who is white. On April 16, 2016, Green and her partner were dispatched to address debris falling from an abandoned building that was creating a traffic hazard. Cashion arrived at the scene and deployed barricades to block a parking lane on Michigan Avenue. According to his activity log, Cashion counseled Green and her partner…

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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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Denial Of Transfer Can Be ‘Adverse Employment Action’

Employment discrimination lawsuits require a measurable amount of harm towards an employee or an applicant, harm usually quantified by the phrase “adverse employment action.” Some employer decisions – terminations, refusals to hire, demotions, suspensions, etc. – easily fall into the rubric of “adverse employment action.” But what of transfers, particularly where an employee’s transfer request is denied and the only potential loss of pay is associated with a relative…

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Wrongful Release Of Brady Information ‘Adverse Action’ For Employment Purposes

James Cleavenger was a public safety officer for the University of Oregon Police Department from March 2011 to October 2012, when his employment was terminated. Cleavenger sued the University, contending that the Police Chief retaliated against him for engaging in protected speech in violation of his First Amendment rights. A jury agreed with Cleavenger, and awarded him $650,000 in economic damages as well as punitive damages of $105,000 against…

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Transfer Denial Can Amount To ‘Adverse Employment Action’ For Title VII Purposes

Many civil rights laws require that an employee show an “adverse employment action” to gain the protections of the law. One issue that arises with some regularity is whether the denial of a transfer request qualifies as an “adverse employment action.” A recent case involved Kyll Lavalais, the only black officer with the Village of Melrose Park, Illinois Police Department. In February 2011, Lavalais was promoted to sergeant and…

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Minnesota Deputies’ Case Shows The Evidence Necessary For A ‘Pretext’ Claim

Many “retaliation” cases follow the same general structure. First, the employee must present a prima facie case by showing that (1) he engaged in an activity protected by the First Amendment, (2) he suffered an adverse employment action, and (3) the protected conduct was a “substantial or motivating factor” in the employer’s decision to take the adverse employment action. The employer can rebut the employee’s prima facie showing by…

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Placement Of Deputy Chief On Work Plan Not “Adverse Action”

Laura Goodman was hired on September 8, 2003, as the deputy police chief for the City of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Over time, the relationship between Goodman and the Police Chief deteriorated to the point where the Chief gave Goodman a negative performance evaluation and placed her on a 90-day work plan. Before the 90-day period ended, Goodman resigned, claiming the Chief made it impossible to succeed. Goodman cited as…

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Reprimand, Transfer Not ‘Adverse Action’ Triggering Discrimination Law

To be successful, an employee bringing a discrimination complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act must show that he or she suffered an “adverse employment action” as a result of the discrimination. Not every disciplinary action amounts to an “adverse employment action,” as Officer Christopher Wade of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department recently learned. Wade asserted that he was the victim of retaliation because of…

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