At-Will Former Chief Obtains Job Rights On Demotion

Samuel Joseph was the police chief for the City of Atwater, California. Jo­seph’s employment agreement stated he was an at-will employee who could be removed as police chief for any reason but, if the removal was not for willful misconduct, he had the option of con­tinuing his employment by returning to the position of police lieutenant. On September 28, 2018, City Manager Lori Waterman sent Joseph a notice of…

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Public Policy And At-Will Employment

Detective Brandon Potts worked for the Devils Lake Police Department in North Dakota. North Dakota has no statewide collective bargaining laws, and many public safety officers are considered “at-will” employees who can be terminated at the will of the employer. Employees who are at-will have no job security rights and typically can only sue to overturn their termination if the termination violates public policy. As Potts recently learned, it…

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No Due Process Rights For At-Will Police Officers

Tracey L. Johnson and David James, Jr. were police officers for the City of Shelby, Mississippi. On September 1, 2009, the City’s Board of Aldermen voted to terminate Johnson and James, allegedly based on “citizen complaints about the officers profiling, targeting, and harassing people.” Johnson and James claim that they were terminated because they refused to ignore the alleged illegal activities of City Alderman Billings. Employees of the City…

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Texas Disciplinary Procedures Even Apply To At-Will Employees

Marc Staff was a deputy sheriff for the Colorado County, Texas Sheriff’s Department. The Department began an investigation. The inquiry began when Colorado County Attorney Ken Sparks contacted the Sheriff’s Department, provided the video recording of a traffic stop that Staff had conducted, and expressed his concern that Staff’s behavior during the stop was inappropriate. Sparks never wrote and signed a complaint regarding his concerns over Staff’s behavior. The…

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