Indiana Police Officer Fails to Provide Evidence of Discriminatory Motive for His Discipline

By: Loyd Willaford and Clive Pontusson

In Cobsy v. City of Indianapolis, a federal court dismissed the lawsuit of a police officer who claimed that his repeated discipline was motivated by racial bias in the Indianapolis Police Department. Because Officer Cosby did not present evidence that his multiple suspensions were related to his race, he could not state a claim for racial discrimination.

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Federal Court Rules That Alabama Police Officer Can Bring Case for Retaliatory Transfer to Night Shift

By: Loyd Willaford and Clive Pontusson

In Jones v. City of Birmingham, a federal court ruled that an Alabama Police Officer had alleged sufficient facts to show he may have been transferred as retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Court dismissed Edwin Jones’ claim for racial discrimination, but it did find that Jones had shown a potential retaliation for his filing a complaint with the EEOC. As a result, the Court determined that his case should be heard by a jury. [Read more…]

Federal Court of Appeals Rules That Maine Corrections Nurse Exposed to Sexual Jokes, Degrading Comments and Spanking had “Substantial Evidence” of Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

By:  Loyd Willaford and Clive Pontusson

In Roy v. Correct Care Solutions, the U.S. Court of Appeals overturned the decision of a lower court and determined that Tara Roy had presented sufficient evidence that she faced gender discrimination and hostility to bring her case for employment discrimination before a jury. Roy’s case involved many defendants, including the private company that employed her (Correct Care), the Maine Department of Corrections, and the individual supervisors who allegedly retaliated against her for complaining about sexual harassment.

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Retired Maryland Police Officer’s Personal Disagreement with Co-Worker Not Protected by First Amendment

By: Loyd Willaford and Clive Pontusson

In Carey v. Throwe, a federal court determined that misleading statements made by former colleagues and supervisors of a police officer were not retaliation for exercise of his First Amendment rights, because his comments were not protected by the First Amendment. Because Norris Carey’s statements were not about a “matter of public concern” they were not protected, and therefore he was not a victim of unlawful retaliation. His lawsuit was dismissed by the Court. [Read more…]

Right to Mustache’s sustained: Arbitrator Finds That Air Force’s Firefighter CBA Trumps Employer’s General Grooming Standard

By:  Jim Cline and Clive Pontusson

In Department of the Airforce, Arbitrator John Nicholas determined that a government employer had a right to set firefighter mustache standards because they had an effect on the employer’s ability to give fitness tests. The Union had filed a grievance because it felt the Department of the Air Force had applied the wrong rules under the CBA. The Arbitrator agreed that this was true, but also found that the union’s requested relief would incur additional costs—as a result, the best remedy was the employer simply applying the correct rule. [Read more…]

Arbitrator Finds That Detention Center Had Just Cause to Terminate Corrections Officers for Dishonesty

By: Jim Cline and Clive Pontusson

In The Geo Group, Arbitrator Samuel Nicholas found that a detention center had just cause to terminate five corrections officers who had engaged in misconduct and then sought to cover the misconduct up. After one officer left his post in violation of detention center rules, four others amended statements about the incident. The Arbitrator found that the employer had conducted a thorough and fair investigation that produced clear and convincing evidence of misconduct. As a result, the termination of these four employees was upheld. [Read more…]

Union Did Not Breach Duty of Fair Representation by Declining to Grieve Pennsylvania Firefighter’s Termination

By: Jim Cline and Clive Pontusson

In Addeo v. Philadelphia Firefighter and Paramedic Union, a firefighter sued both the City of Philadelphia and his union for violating his due process rights and his right to fair representation. Addeo had been fired following a DUI, and when the Union decided not to pursue his grievance, he filed a personal lawsuit that accused both the City and the union of misconduct. However, a federal judge dismissed all of Addeo’s lawsuit, finding that both the City and the Union had behaved properly.

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Dismissal of Kansas Police Department Secretary Who Gave Testimony Against Department Not a Violation of First Amendment

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Helget v. City of Hays, a former administrative secretary to a police department claimed that her First Amendment rights were violated after she was terminated for testifying about confidential information. The department argued that the speech was not protected because it did not touch on a matter in the public interest and it disrupted department functions. The Tenth Circuit Court agreed and dismissed the administrative secretary’s claims. [Read more…]

Right of South Carolina Deputy to Free Speech Depends On Whether His Speech Will Be Disruptive

By: Loyd Willaford Clive Pontusson

In Billioni v. Bryant, the U.S. Court of Appeals found that a trial court had applied an incorrect legal standard to an Officer’s claim that his First Amendment right to free speech had been violated. Billioni was an employee of the York County Detention Center who discussed video footage of the alleged beating of a detainee with the press. When he was fired for doing so, he filed a lawsuit claiming he had a right under the First Amendment to bring this information to the public. This raised complex legal issues, and the U.S. Court of Appeals issued a narrow ruling regarding the test for when a government employee may share confidential information that may be of concern to the public. Billioni’s lawsuit will therefore continue in a lower court. [Read more…]

New York Port Authority Safety Officer Cannot Move Forward with Rehabilitation Act Claim after Injury

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Itzhaki v. Port Auth. of N.Y & N.J., a port authority public safety officer claimed that she was discriminated against on the basis of an injury sustained at work. The officer alleged that she would have been promoted to sergeant but for her injury.  The Port Authority moved for summary judgement and argued that her injury precluded her from being on the job and therefore that she couldn’t perform the essential functions of the job. The U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of New York agreed and granted the Port Authority’s motion.

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