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Whether Accommodation Is ‘Reasonable’ May Depend On CBA

Linda Faulkner, who is 56 years old, worked as a correctional officer for Douglas County, Nebraska. Per the County’s job description, officers are required to be able to control fights between inmates and to restrain combative inmates through use of necessary force at times. The physical requirements in the job description also provide that officers must be able to stand, walk, sit, climb stairs, run, kneel, stoop, crouch, and…

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FDNY ‘Black Sunday’ Firefighters Allowed To Bring Safety Claims

January 23, 2005, became known as “Black Sunday” in the Fire Department of New York. On that day, three firefighters lost their lives in two separate fires. Many other firefighters, including Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley, were seriously injured. Stolowski and Cawley were fighting a multi-story fire in Brooklyn when their team became trapped by the flames. Without adequate ropes, members of the team began jumping the 50 feet…

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FDNY ‘Black Sunday’ Firefighters Allowed To Bring Safety Claims

January 23, 2005, became known as “Black Sunday” in the Fire Department of New York. On that day, three firefighters lost their lives in two separate fires. Many other firefighters, including Eugene Stolowski and Brendan Cawley, were seriously injured. Stolowski and Cawley were fighting a multi-story fire in Brooklyn when their team became trapped by the flames. Without adequate ropes, members of the team began jumping the 50 feet…

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Q & A

From Ohio Question: Our contract states that all police officers will be full-time. Can the city (management) implement part time officers without negotiating because of budget problems? Answer: The general rule is that the implementation of part-time police jobs is a mandatory subject for bargaining, and cannot be unilaterally implemented without first negotiating with the labor organization. You should check with local counsel to determine whether Ohio follows that…

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Due Process Not Implicated By Officer’s Unsafe Working Environmen

Natalie Mims was a correctional officer in the Philadelphia prison system. Sims sued the City, contending that she was forced to resign her job. Sims alleged among other claims that the City failed to provide her with a safe working environment, and that the failure to do so violated her rights to “substantive” due process. A federal court dismissed Mims’ substantive due process claim. The Court found that substantive…

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Judge Cites Firefighter Case Example Of ‘What Happens When Grown Men Act Like Five-Year-Olds’

Ricky and Joel Shanks were volunteer firefighters for the Village of Catskill, New York. On October 4, 2005, Joel Shanks anonymously reported multiple safety violations allegedly committed by the Department to OSHA. These violations included outdated aerial ladder inspection, lack of safety equipment, firefighters with facial hair wearing SCBAs, outdated equipment, lack of training and standards, and a failure to follow OSHA standards. After the complaint, a company chief…

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Court Ducks Firefighter’s ‘Sex Plus Height’ Claim

Tonya Coffman, who is by her own description five feet tall “with shoes on,” began working for the Indianapolis Fire Department in April 2001. Her tenure was unremarkable until late 2003, when two fellow firefighters expressed concern about her driving ability. One lieutenant observed that Coffman “needed to put the bench seat all the way forward in order to reach the pedals and needed to literally hold onto the…

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Backup Of Jail Sewer System Does Not Deprive Officer Of Due Process

Gordon Belanger is a deputy sheriff assigned to corrections with the Oakland County, Michigan Sheriff’s Office. In 2005, the sewer system for the jail flooded, exposing employees to unsanitary working conditions. Belanger was eventually treated for blisters on his fingers that were later diagnosed as methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Belanger eventually sued the County, claiming that the fact that the sewer backed up combined with what he perceived…

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Fire Captain Who Opposed Affirmative Action For Women Wins $3.75 Million From LAFD

Frank Lima was a captain in the Los Angeles Fire Department. By almost any account, Lima’s career was exemplary. He graduated as the top recruit in his firefighter class in 1992, when he was only 19 years of age. He moved rapidly through the ranks, and became the youngest Fire Captain I in the Department. When promotions were later made to the position of Fire Captain II, Lima became…

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Decision To Lay Off Firefighters Not Subject To Bargaining

As of the end of 2004, the City of Richmond, California had seven fire stations. There was a fire engine at each of the stations and a fire truck at two of the stations, although one of the trucks was not regularly staffed. If a second truck company was needed, the engine at one of the stations would be taken out of service and the engine’s crew would then…

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Firefighter’s Court Testimony Protected By Whistleblowing Law

John Bedo worked for the City of Ecorse, Michigan Fire Department from 1973 to 2006. In the 1990s, he was promoted to fire captain, and in 2003 and 2004, he temporarily served as Fire Chief. In mid-2004, he returned to his position as fire captain. On June 9, 2006, the Department reduced the number of firefighters required to be on duty at any one time. Later that day, Bedo…

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Ohio Court Limits ‘Fireman’s Rule’

Though several states have abandoned it, Ohio still follows what it refers to as the “fireman’s rule.” As Ohio phrases it, “the fireman’s rule is a principle that limits a landowner’s duty to police officers and firefighters in certain circumstances. It provides that an owner or occupier of private property can be liable to a firefighter or police officer who enters premises and is injured in the performance of…

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