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Sleeping Dispatcher Allowed Trial On Retaliation Claims

Denise Watkins, who is African-American, was a shift supervisor for the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. She reported to Lieutenant Marshall Carmouche, who reported to Sheriff Michael Tregre. On January 30, 2018 Carmouche commended Watkins and three other dispatchers for superb work. He recognized Watkins’s performance in an email to Sheriff Tregre, explaining that teamwork in the 911 Department had led to an arrest. Just…

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Reinstatement Ordered For Fire Association President

Cliff Snider is a firefighter with the city of Pasadena, California. In 2009, and then again from 2011 forward, Snider was the president of the Pasadena Firefighters’ Association. In October 2014, Snider injured his back while trying to lift a patient during an emergency call. Although Snider initially felt well enough to remain on duty, he soon suffered a severe back spasm that required him to visit the emergency…

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‘Two-Female’ Policy Upheld

Shonda Million was a corrections officer for the Warren County Jail in Ohio. The Jail is operated by the Sheriff’s Office. It houses minimum, medium, and maximum security adult inmates of both sexes. Between September 2012 and August 2015, the Jail employed 17–23 female officers and roughly 33–35 male officers, not counting supervisors. The Jail has four male housing units and one female housing unit, known as C-Pod. C-Pod…

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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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Officer Required To Sit In Dark Building Loses Retaliation Case

Officer Michael Fiocca was assigned to work in the Philadelphia Police Department Forensic Science Unit (FSU). Starting in 2015 or 2016, Fiocca and the other officers in the FSU gained access to the daily attendance records sheets (DARS) of all officers in the FSU. Fiocca’s access to DARS enabled him to see the vacation and sick balances, as well as the amount of overtime worked for every officer in…

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Whistleblowing, Sleeping Corrections Officers, And Retaliation

Alberto Limon, a former corrections officer employed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), photographed fellow officers sleeping on duty, including some supervisors, some even with pillows. After Limon reported these officers to his supervisor, Captain Jose Badilla, a rat trap was placed on Limon’s seat; his name was scratched off his CDCR mailbox; and supervisors forced Limon to work several days in uniform, but without a…

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Irritation Does Not Equal Political Retaliation

Alisha Congleton was employed in the Letcher County Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky for almost four years. Mickey Stines successfully ran for sheriff in the May 2018 primary and in the November 2018 general election. Congleton openly supported Eugene Slone, a deputy in the sheriff’s office, in the primary election. During the general election Congleton made various social media posts in which she praised Barry Engle, Stines’ opponent. Before Stines…

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No Retaliation If Decision-Maker Unaware Of Protected Activity

Aubrey Lyons is an African-American corrections officer with the Michigan Department of Corrections. After being transferred in 2012 to the Macomb Correctional Facility, Lyons allegedly began to experience various incidents of discrimination by his white supervisors. Lyons filed his first internal discrimination complaint against the Department in January 2015 in response to being disciplined for violating its computer use policies. Lyons claimed the white investigating lieutenant, James Webster, singled…

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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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Expectation To Complete Normal Job Tasks Cannot Be Retaliation

Houston firefighter Terrance Bailey, who is African-American, worked at Fire Station 21 for ten years. In February 2009, Bailey met with Captain Joe Schwaigger, Captain Shelley Squires, and District Chief Kenneth Currie to express his unhappiness about working at Station 21. He threatened to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if Currie did not transfer him to Station 47 as a permanent fill-in. Currie told Bailey…

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Officer Who Reported Chief’s Illegal Conduct Loses Retaliation Claim

Darren Pead was a police officer for Ephraim City, a small town in rural Sanpete County, Utah. In a recent lawsuit, Pead learned first-hand how the Supreme Court’s Garcetti rule provides little protection for job-related speech. Pead claimed he discovered that Police Chief Ron Rasmussen had failed to fill out or complete hundreds of police reports, dating back as far as 2008, in violation of City policy and law…

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Prosecutor ‘Absolutely Immune’ For Suit Alleging Brady-List Type Retaliation

Franklin Savage joined the Pocomoke, Maryland City Police Department in 2011, and in 2012 was assigned to the Worcester County Criminal Enforcement Team (CET), a multi-jurisdictional drug interdiction task force led by the Worcester County Sheriff ’s Office. In April 2014, Savage attended a meeting with members of the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s office, including State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss an upcoming…

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Court Upholds Huge Jury Verdict For Two Seattle Police Officers

On June 23, 2014, Kathleen O’Toole became Chief of the Seattle Police Department. She promoted Dave Proudfoot to captain and assigned him to lead the South Precinct. On July 21, Sergeant Ella Elias filed notice of a claim stating that she intended to sue the City. This notice described a hostile work environment, gender discrimination, and retaliation claims. On September 15, O’Toole issued an investigatory transfer order that temporarily…

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Illegal Retaliation After Captain Protests Order To March In MLK Day Parade

Walter Busby, who is African American, is a captain with the Tulsa Police Department (TPD) in Oklahoma. Busby reported to Major Walter Evans, who is also African American. On January 13, 2010, Evans called Busby to his office, and indicated that he was “ashamed and embarrassed about the lack of participation of blacks in TPD-sponsored activities, particularly the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Parade” and informed Busby that Evans…

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Denial Of Shift Trades Amounts To Illegal Retaliation

The Santa Clara County Correctional Peace Officers’ Association represents rank-and-file corrections officers working for Santa Clara County, California. Section 7.4 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the parties allows officers to trade shifts, but provides that voluntary day-off trades “must have prior administrative review and approval.” Everett Fitzgerald is a correctional officer and president of the Association. As the Association president, Fitzgerald would often trade shifts to gain…

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LAPD Officer Wins FLSA Retaliation Lawsuit

Leonard Avila was a police officer for the City of Los Angeles. In January 2008, Avila testified under subpoena in a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) suit against the City of Los Angeles in the Central District of California brought by a fellow officer who sought overtime for working through his lunch hour. Avila testified that he and many other LAPD officers, including his supervisors, operated under an unwritten…

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LAPD Officer Wins $2.8 Million In Retaliation Suit

Pedro Torres and Robert Hill were officers assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division. They frequently heard their immediate supervisor, Sergeant Gil Curtis, use derogatory terms and make disparaging comments in reference to African-Americans and Hispanics. On one occasion Curtis referred to Torres in his presence as “a lazy Mexican.” In March 2005, Hill initiated a misconduct complaint against Curtis with the Department’s Internal Affairs Division accusing…

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LAFD Battalion Chief Wins Nearly $1.0 Million In Retaliation Lawsuit

In 2005, John Miller, a battalion chief with the Los Angeles Fire Department, was selected to head the Department’s Arson Counter-Terrorism Section (ACTS). ACTS is responsible for investigating suspected cases of arson, and where appropriate, presenting its investigative findings to the district attorney for criminal prosecution. The section is comprised of three commanding officers and 18 arson investigators. Because timely and thorough response to crimes of arson is critical,…

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Proximity In Time Does Not Necessarily Mean Retaliation

Patricia Karaffa was formerly employed as a police dispatcher by Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania. On February 1, 2011, she took approved FMLA leave for the birth of her daughter and later for the care of her newly-born daughter. Just prior to her return to work in April 2011, Karaffa was informed that she was assigned to work only overnight dispatching shifts. When Karaffa informed the Police Chief and Deputy Chief…

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Transfer Of Detective Sergeant To Patrol Held Retaliatory

Sergeant Kerry Jernigan works for the Homicide Section of the Prince George’s County, Maryland Police Department. Jernigan worked 16 years as an investigator; he was occasionally assigned to temporary duty with various task forces. Upon his promotion to sergeant, Jernigan remained in the Homicide Section. Major Cesar Pacheco was the commander of the Section. Jernigan estimated that he had been assigned to approximately 1,000 cases in one capacity or…

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Federal Appeals Court Upholds Verdict Against Fire Union

Anthony Booth and Jerry Brown were emergency services workers for the Emergency Services Department in Pasco County, Florida, and were members of Local 4420 of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Both worked in the Department’s Station 14. In June 2007, Booth filed a Department grievance against the captain who supervised the station. The captain’s boss had warned Booth that he would be transferred if he filed a grievance,…

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Corrections Officer Recovers $1.67 Million In Retaliation Case

Charles Hughes was a corrections lieutenant for the State of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. While employed at the Department, Hughes was a member of the correctional police officers’ union. In 1995, he became a job steward. In that capacity, he represented union members in lower-level grievances and small internal affairs interviews. In 1998, Hughes was elected chapter president of the Union, a position he held until his…

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‘Suspicious Timing’ Of Discipline Does Not Establish Retaliation Against Officer

Over the course of six months, Kenneth Kidwell, a 16-year veteran of the Danville, Illinois Police Department, publicly criticized several departmental officials at two police officers’ union meetings. Roughly during that same time period, Kidwell also committed several violations of departmental policy and was punished accordingly with, among other things, a written reprimand and a two-day suspension. Then, after Kidwell failed to clear a fitness-for-duty evaluation, the department officials…

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Internal Affairs Investigation Not Protected By First Amendment

Under the Supreme Court’s decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), public employees have no free speech right when they “make statements pursuant to their official duties.” In other words, the Constitution provides no protection to an employee for speech that is part of the job, and the employer is constitutionally free to discipline the employee for the speech, even if the speech is truthful. A lawsuit…

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Calling Officer A ‘Pain’ Not Gender Or Race Discrimination

Sharon Davis, an African-American, was employed as a police officer with the Newark, New Jersey Police Department. Davis filed a seven-count lawsuit against the City, alleging that she was retaliated against for raising issues of racial and gender discrimination. The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals rejected all of Davis’s claims. The Court held that, “even accepting Davis’s allegations, she has failed to claim that she was retaliated against…

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