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Union Membership Is ‘Worthy Of Constitutional Protection’

Michael Palardy worked for the Township of Millburn, New Jersey, from 1988 until his retirement in 2014. During his employment, he was promoted three times: first to sergeant in 1995, then to lieutenant in 1998, and finally to captain in 2012. Palardy was also active in the police officers’ unions – first the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, and then the Superior Officers’ Association. During his employment, Palardy held a variety…

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Membership In Motorcycle Club Can Be Constitutionally Protected

A fairly little known aspect of the First Amendment is known as “freedom of association.” This freedom protects an individual’s right to associate with others in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious, and cultural purposes, even if the association is with an unpopular organization. In the past, courts have considered how freedom of association applies to law enforcement officers who were members of groups…

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Fraternization Policy Not Unconstitutional

Meredith Cross was employed as a police officer in the Baltimore City Police Department from 2004 to 2010. On July 7, 2009, she received a “Notification of Complaint to Accused,” in which it was alleged that she had “been making personal contacts with person(s) of questionable character.” On March 9, 2010, the Department officially charged her with four counts of violating its General Orders. All four charges were directly…

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Firings Based On Union Membership Violate First Amendment

The State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition is a group of thirteen state public employee unions representing approximately 40,000 Connecticut state employees. The Coalition has been designated by Connecticut’s Board of Labor Relations as the exclusive bargaining agent for its constituent unions for the purpose of negotiating and entering into a collective bargaining agreement. In 1997, the Coalition entered into a long-term contract with Connecticut covering all of its constituent…

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Freedom Of Association Does Not Cover Friends

David Lord was a corrections officer for Erie County, Pennsylvania. In 2005, Lord met Teo Underhill and the two moved into an apartment together. On January 1, 2006, while the two were sharing an apartment, Underhill was arrested. He was later released into Lord’s custody pending trial. Following a jury trial, Underhill was found guilty of misdemeanor simple assault and disorderly conduct. He was sentenced to 48 hours in…

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State Ruling On Sick Leave Confinement Policy Binds Federal Court

The Village of Hempstead, New York has a sick leave confinement policy that requires police officers using sick leave to be confined to their residence for the majority of time while on leave. Dawn Borum, a police officer with the Village, filed a state court lawsuit contending that the sick leave confinement policy unconstitutionally deprived her of her right to leave home to attend religious services. In the lawsuit,…

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Officer Can Be Constitutionally Forbidden From Participating In Explorer Scout Activities

Mark Frontera is a police officer with the City of Columbus, Ohio. Beginning in 1998, Frontera volunteered with the Explorer Scouts program. In 2004, the Department received a complaint that Frontera had acted inappropriately in his role as Explorer Scout advisor. The charges against Frontera included that he had allowed an Explorer Scout to spend the night at his home, that he failed to obey written orders with respect…

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