Representing the Injured or Disabled Member Part 3: The General Duty to Accommodate a Disability

disabledJim Cline and Erica Shelley Nelson

Representing the Injured or Disabled Member

Part 3: The General Duty to Accommodate a Disability

This article is the 3rd in a multiple part series covering the rights your injured and disabled members have and how you, as a union or guild representative, can best assist them.  Over the next two to three months, we’ll be publishing, in various segments, information on how state and federal laws protect your members who are hurt or otherwise unable to work. We’ll cover topics including disability discrimination law, the FMLA, job protection rights under the CBA, workers compensation, disability benefits, and the right to bring a civil lawsuit.

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Indiana District Court Finds Jailer Was Not Retaliated Against For Taking FMLA Leave Because She Never Returned To Work

BARSBy: Sarah Burke and Mitchell Riese

In McMillion v. Mollenhauer, a former jailer brought a claim against an Indiana Sheriff’s Office alleging race discrimination because she was demoted from corporal, was not paid for her FMLA leave and was wrongfully terminated. The district court granted the Sheriff’s Office summary judgment because the jailer never returned to work after her FMLA leave expiredThe court also rejected the demotion claim because no pay was attached to that position and all other officers had had the title of corporal removed.

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Virginia District Court Finds FBI Special Agents Were Not Discriminated Against After Being Called “Princesses” and “Prima Donnas”

tiaraBy: Sarah Burke and Mitchell Riese

In Cowley v. Lynch, four FBI special agents alleged that the FBI had created a hostile work environment, discriminated against them based on their sex in denying them transfers, and had retaliated against them by reorganizing their department in order to break up their “clique.” The FBI argued that the restructuring and transfer denials were due to legitimate department needs and that a hostile work environment had not been established. The district court agreed with the FBI, finding that stray comments made around the agents did not rise to the level of hostile work environment and that the reasons for the restructuring and transfer were legitimate.

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Pennsylvania District Court Finds FLSA Does Not Cover Corrections Officers Claim For Unpaid Wages For Mandatory Pre-Roll Call Report Time

By: Jim Cline and Sarah Burke 

In Whenry v. Board of Commissioners, a Federal District rejected a FLSA claim filed by 66 corrections officers for unpaid wages over mandatory on the job time prior to roll call. The Court held that the Teamster contract that indicated the time was unpaid did not violate the FLSA. The court noted the officers were covered by a 207(k) exemption which created three weekly hours of “gap time” between their 40 regular schedule hours and their 43 weekly 207k hours.

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Pennsylvania District Court Denies Qualified Immunity For Police Commissioner Who Terminated Officer After Filing a Grievance

overtimeBy: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Rossiter v. Ramsey, a Philadelphia police officer was terminated for alleged overtime abuses and then subsequently reinstated following an arbitration hearing. After his reinstatement, the officer brought charges that he had been retaliated against for exercising his First Amendment right to associate by his police commissioner. The commissioner argued qualified immunity and moved for summary judgment.

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Arbitrator Holds That Employer Did Not Violate The CBA When It Denied A Ohio Deputy Sheriff’s Compensatory Leave Because Of “Insufficient Manpower”

stock-photo-48817310-6-o-clockBy: Jim Cline and Jordan L. Jones

In Clark County Sheriff , the Arbitrator held the employer did not violate the CBA when it denied a Ohio deputy sheriff’s compensatory leave. The Arbitrator stated that the employer had proved that it did not have “sufficient manpower” available at the time that the deputy had requested compensatory leave in compliance with the CBA.

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Seventh Circuit Holds That A Milwaukee Deputy Union Vice President Failed To Prove A First Amendment Employment Retaliation Claim

By: Jim Cline and Jordan L. Jones

In Graber v. Clarke, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a deputy sheriff sergeant, who was also the Union Vice President, failed to prove a First Amendment employment retaliation claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the County of Milwaukee and its Sheriff. The Seventh Circuit stated that even though he had presented union complaints he had failed to “establish a causal connection between his constitutionally protected speech and an adverse employment action.”

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Against Illinois Police Union President’s Who Made Shooting Threats Loses First Amendment Retaliation Claim

By: Jim Cline and Jordan L. Jones

In Kafka v. Grady, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted the employer’s summary judgment motion against a former police officer and union president’s First Amendment retaliation claim. The court held that the timing of the officer’s union speech and his alleged deprivations were too attenuated to find that the union speech was a motivating factor behind any adverse employment action.

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Arbitrator Finds That Federal Prison’s Commanding Officer Is Not A “Bully,” Simply A Normal, Mean, Commanding Officer

mean boss streetBy: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In Federal Bureau of Prisons an arbitrator found that the Union failed to carry it burden of proof in proving  that an Officer was “bullied” by his Commanding Officer, “Captain T.” The union attempted to prove that the Captain’s behavior should be seen as a precursor to work violence, which the CBA expressly states, cannot be tolerated. The agency however held that discipline is to be expected and the Officer was not singled by his superiors.

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Arbitrator Finds Pennsylvania County Cannot Randomly Call Sick Corrections Officers Just Because They Had Previously Been Suspended For Unrelated Offences

boss callingBy: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In Allegheny County Jail, a Pennsylvania arbitrator found that the county violated its CBA when it expanded its random call provision to include officers with suspensions unrelated to violations of the Sick Leave Policy. The CBA provision at issue allowed management to randomly call any officer that called in sick to ascertain and/or confirm the illness or injury. But the random phone calls where only supposed to be made to an officer who has reached “suspension level” in the progressive disciplinary procedure.

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