Arbitrator Finds Just Cause For Discharge Pennsylvania Corrections Officer Who Uses Sick Leave To Participate In Facebook-Posted Body Building Photo Shoot

By Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

i_m_with_stupidIn County of Allegheny, 134 LA 134 (Heekin 2014) the arbitrator upheld a discharge of a corrections officer who used his sick time, rather than his vacation time, to travel to Dallas for a photo shoot for a body building magazine.  The Officer’s participation was confirmed with posted pictures of his photo shoot on Facebook.  The arbitrator found just cause for the Officer’s discharge given that the CBA stated that sick leave was “not a right of taking” such as vacation and the fact that a poor discipline record including a recent last chance agreement. The arbitrator rejected the Union’s claim that there was a “right” to use sick leave as if it was a form of vacation.

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Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals Holds That Expanding Weingarten Rights To Union Employees That Are The Focus Of A Criminal Investigation Violates Public Policy

By Jim Cline and Jordan L. Jones

stew10In Prince George’s County v. Prince George’s County Police Civilian Employees Association, a Maryland appellate court vacated an arbitrator’s decision which had reinstated a civilian employee  with the Prince George’s County Police Department. The Court rejected the arbitrator’s conclusion that the civilian employee must be informed of his right to have a Union representative present before being subjected to questioning that may lead to discipline by the County. The Court stated that expanding the requirement of Weingarten rights to “employees that are the focus of a criminal investigation violated public policy.”

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Fire Union and County in Florida Pay for Their Cooperation in Retaliating Against Firefighter Members

By Jim Cline and Jordan Jones

backstabberIn Booth v. Pasco Cnty., the Eleventh Circuit held that a Florida Fire Union and the County were liable for their retaliation against two firefighter union members. The Court rejected the Union’s claims that its communications warning their members that an EEOC complaint the firefighters brought against the Union and its members would cause their dues to increase when a jury had determined the primary purpose of the communication was retaliations, not a genuine notice of a dues increase. The Court also upheld the jury verdict, holding that the County had unlawfully retaliated when it ordered the firefighters to submit to a fitness for duty process, a process initiated after it alleged that the content of their EEOC complaint revealed they were “paranoid” and raised a fitness question.

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Arbitrator Holds that Tampa Police Officer with Sustained Excessive Force Charge Deserves Another Chance

By Jim Cline and Jordan L. Jones

progressive-disciplineIn City of Tampa, 133 LA 1128 (Smith, 2013) the arbitrator held that an officer who was discharged for violating excessive force should be reinstated. The arbitrator found that the City of Tampa (Employer) did not consider the officers lack of previous discipline and potential for retraining.

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Arbitrator Sustains Discharge of Ohio Corrections Officer for Falsifying Walkthrough Records

By Jim Cline and Jordan L. Jones

liarIn Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, 133 LA 1113 (Harlan, 2014) the arbitrator held that there was just cause to discharge a corrections officer (officer) for falsifying records relating to his job duties. The arbitrator found that the Officer had falsified records to hide the fact that he did not actually perform walkthroughs of jail cells.

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Pennsylvania Court Rules Part-Time Police Officer Removed from Work Schedule Has A Claim for Discharge Without Due-Process

Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

Part-Time-Clock-smallIn Mariano v. Borough of Dickson City, the Court held that the Borough may have violated an officer’s right to due process when the police chief removed him from the work schedule without a proper hearing. The Court disagreed with the City’s assertion that since the Officer was a part time employee he did not have a protected interest in his employment. The Officer had raised questions about his contract rights which was then followed by a meeting with the Police Chief in which the officer was accused of misconduct and then told he was being removed from the schedule.

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Arbitrator Rules Against Alaska Correctional Officers Association In Dispute Over Pay Rates For Voluntarily Demoted Officers

By Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

step downIn State of Alaska, 133 LA 1436 (DiFalco 2014) an arbitrator ruled that the State properly paid Correction Officers who voluntarily demoted themselves back to a lower classification, even though the result was that they were paid less than if they had not been promoted in the first place. The arbitrator conceded that while the results of this were unfair to several Corrections Officers, he stressed that it was not his job to do what was fair but to interpret the contract language as it appeared in the CBA.

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D.C. Corrections Officer’s Diabetes Was Not A Disability Under The ADA Because It Was Not “Substantially Limiting”

By Reba Weiss and Harrison Owens

yes or noIn Coleman-Lee v. Government of the District of Columbia, a U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed a D.C. District Court’s dismissal of a correctional officer’s lawsuit for disability discrimination.  In his complaint, the correctional officer argued that he was discriminated against when he was terminated for falling asleep on the job, which he claimed was caused by his diabetes.  The jury found that the officer was not disabled within the ADA’s definition, as he did not show that he could not have controlled his diabetes.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s decision, as his case was not appealed correctly.

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Michigan African-American Officer’s Racial Discrimination Claim Barred After He Was Terminated For Fraudulently Issuing Traffic Ticket

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Harrison Owens

RacialDiscriminationPaperDollsIn Burns v. City of Saginaw, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Michigan District Court’s dismissal of an African-American police officer’s claim for retaliation against his employer after he was terminated for issuing a fraudulent ticket.  In his complaint, the officer claimed that he had been terminated in retaliation for filing a complaint with the EEOC, and that the police chief of his Department, who is white, used a racial slur against him in relation to his EEOC complaint.  The Court dismissed his claim on summary judgment on the grounds that the officer’s EEOC complaint was actually filed following the citizen complaint relating to the fraudulent ticket, a white officer had similarly been terminated for filing a false accident report, and the police chief’s alleged racial slur was hearsay.

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Worker Cannot Bring Lawsuit Against County Because Waited Too Long to File Complaint

By Reba Weiss and Harrison Owens

snoozeIn Kuehn v. Snohomish County, the Washington State Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a Road Maintenance worker’s claims against the County for wrongful termination and disability discrimination in violation of Washington’s Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and Family Leave Act (WFLA).  In his suit, the worker claimed that the County wrongfully terminated him for repeated tardiness allegedly caused by a sleeping disorder, and wrongfully decided to discontinue accommodating his disability.  The trial court found that the worker waited too long to file his lawsuit, and granted the County’s motion for summary judgment.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, holding that the legal time-limit to file the worker’s lawsuit began its countdown from the moment he received notice of his impending termination from his employer.

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