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Facebook Posts Cost Battalion Chief His Job

Kevin Buker was a battalion chief with the Howard County, Maryland Department of Fire and Rescue Services. In 2011, the Department developed a social media policy, in part in response to a racially-tinged Facebook post from a volunteer firefighter. The Policy prohibits employees “from posting or publishing statements, opinions or information that might reasonably be interpreted as discriminatory, harassing, defamatory, racially or ethnically derogatory, or sexually violent when such…

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Firefighter Suspended For Facebook Post Denouncing Narcan

WEYMOUTH, MA – A Weymouth firefighter has been suspended for 90 days without pay for a Facebook post that denounced the use of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan. The Facebook post—which has since been deleted but was captured by multiple Twitter and Facebook users—described Narcan as “the worst drug ever created.” It also called users of the drugs “losers.” Weymouth firefighter under fire for Facebook post criticizing Narcan https://t.co/jc1ALn3fEc #7News…

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Houston Suspended Four Firefighters for Facebook Posts About Union President

HOUSTON, TX – The end of Bryan Sky-Eagle’s short stint as president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association did not seem like a particularly fun time for the union. Before Sky-Eagle resigned just 11 months into his three-year term as president in September 2014, the contract he’d negotiated with City Hall was rejected by a stunning 93 percent of his firefighters. Sky-Eagle sued the union’s umbrella organization, the…

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Firefighter Suspended Over Racist Facebook Post

NEW HAVEN, CT – Fire Chief Allyn Wright Tuesday suspended for 15 days without pay a firefighter who allegedly posted a Facebook comment using the N-word. The firefighter, a lieutenant with 20 years on the job, will be suspended from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, according to a general order Wright issued. Wright wrote that the lieutenant violated department rules “not limited to” Rule #16G, forbidding the use of…

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Split Decision On Firefighter Facebook Terminations

Kevin Buker, a Battalion Chief in the Emergency Services Bureau of Howard County, Maryland Department of Fire and Rescue Services, maintained a private Facebook account. Buker’s Facebook friends included employees of the Department and other public safety agencies, as well students from an EMT class that he taught. Buker set his Facebook privacy settings such that only his “friends” – and not the general public on Facebook – could…

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Concord, New Hampshire Firefighter Union Facebook Post Goes Viral

It was a simple comment on the Professional Firefighters Local 1045, the union for Concord’s firefighters: ”So, what is this sticker all about?” The president of the union, Jim Duckworth, a firefighter/EMT, noted that it was something that he had heard ”quite frequently” and then explained what it means. “This sticker signifies honor, dependability, selflessness, trust, and bravery,” he wrote, and then explained what it meant to be a…

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Another Officer Loses His Job To Facebook

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – A veteran Fort Lauderdale police officer’s comments on Facebook about black people have cost him his job. Former Patrol Officer Jeffery Feldewert, 45, wrote “Typical Hoodrat Behavior” in a Facebook post that also included a photograph of a black man being arrested by white police officers. A caption for the photo read, “BLACK PEOPLE. Because without them, the evening news wouldn’t be as much fun…

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First Thursday, July 2015

Topics discussed in this month’s podcast include: Supreme Court To Hear Case Threatening Public Employee Unions, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association No Right For Non-Members To Vote On Contract, AFSCME Council 25 v. Yunkman, 2015 WL 3505668 (Mich. App. 2015) The Department of Labor Issues Draft FLSA Exemptions Regulation Health Care Cashback, Merit Pay Must Be Included In FLSA Overtime Rate, Callahan v. City of Sanger, 2015 WL 2455419…

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No First Amendment Violation In Facebook Case

By Anil Karia Maria Gresham was employed by the City of Atlanta as a police officer. She maintained a Facebook page, set to “private,” that was available for viewing by a number of her “friends,” who could share her posts more widely. Gresham made critical comments on her Facebook page about a fellow Atlanta officer for allegedly unethically interfering with Gresham’s investigation of a person she had arrested for…

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Facebook ‘Like’ Is Protected Speech

B.J. Roberts is the Sheriff of the City of Hampton, Virginia. The Hampton City Police Department has primary responsibility for law enforcement in Hampton. However, the Sheriff’s Office maintains all city correctional facilities, secures the city’s courts, and serves civil and criminal warrants. Roberts was up for re-election in November 2009, having served as Sheriff for the prior 17 years. Jim Adams announced in early 2009 that he would…

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Arbitrator (Barely) Overturns Discharge In Facebook Case

Jessie Hubbard was a corrections officer with 15 years of experience at the Lebanon, Ohio Correctional Institution. The office of Governor John Kasich received an anonymous letter complaining of Hubbard’s harassing behavior. Attached to the letter were several Facebook posts made by Hubbard about Kasich, who had spearheaded the eventually unsuccessful drive to virtually eliminate public employee collective bargaining in Ohio. One of Hubbard’s posts read: “OK, we got…

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In Facebook Case, Due Process Violation When Employer Fails To Comply With Own Procedures

Damond Harris is a police officer with the New Orleans Police Department. In January 2010, Harris engaged in a Facebook conversation with another officer, William Torres. Torres started the conversation by posting: “Thanks for the shots last night. Btw, You shouldn’t of cut your hair. Bowl haircuts are for boys. Oh, tell your ex g/f better not tell me s–––, because we went out after your break up. A.M….

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Wichita FD Implements Internet Restrictions For On-Duty Employees

The Wichita Fire Department has implemented a policy restricting Internet use by on-duty employees. KSN.com posted excerpts from the policy on its website: “Members are prohibited from accessing social networking sites, internet dating sites, and sites that host weblogs while on duty that affects the efficiency and productivity of the Wichita Fire Department.” “Members shall not post any material on the Internet that may adversely affect the efficiency or…

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