Case for Retaliation and Discrimination May Continue

By: Loyd Willaford and Clive Pontusson

In Christie v. Crawford City Memorial Hospital, the Court of Appeals of Iowa ruled that a lower court had improperly dismissed an EMT-paramedic’s suit for wrongful termination based on retaliation and sexual-orientation discrimination.

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U.S. Marshall’s Age Discrimination Claim Dismissed Because He Could Not Prove Employer’s Action was Adverse

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Gloetzner v. Lynch, a U.S. Deputy Marshall brought a suit alleging age discrimination under the ADEA against the U.S. Department of Justice. Marshall brought a number of claims of discriminatory treatment but all but one were all dismissed as having been brought too late. The one claim that the Court did not dismiss as timebarred was Marshall’s claim that he applied to be able to attend a firearms training session but was passed over in favor of a younger colleague.  The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida granted the defendants motion for summary judgement, holding that the Marshall had not stated a meritorious claim on this.

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Illinois Court upholds Arbitrator’s award to Union after Forest District Acted Arbitrarily

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Forest Preserve District of Cook County v. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 166, two Forest Preservation sergeants challenged the Forest District’s decision to withhold overtime opportunities from them. The sergeants attempted to work shifts during which only one other sergeant was scheduled. A previous order by the District indicated that two sergeants would always be scheduled for these shifts. Relying on this policy, the sergeants submitted their names for overtime shifts but were denied. The sergeant’s Union challenged the District and an arbitrator issued the sergeants an award. The District appealed and an Illinois appellate court upheld the arbitrator award.

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Volunteer Firefighter has Triable First Amendment Claim for His Termination following Workplace Complaints

By: Loyd Willaford Matt Baker

In Frakes v. Elba-Salem Fire Protection District, a volunteer firefighter alleged he had been unlawfully terminated after complaining about perceived violations by the Fire District. He argues that his firing was retaliation for complaints about unlawful behavior, and therefore that his First Amendment right to free speech was violated. The United States Federal Court for the Central District of Illinois found that some of his claims had merit and moved for a jury trial.

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Firefighters Have no Evidence that Racial Bias Caused their Layoffs

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Peeples v. City of Detroit, eleven firefighters brought a lawsuit against the City and their Union, arguing that they were laid off for racially discriminatory reasons. The firefighters had been improperly laid off due to a misreading of the CBA by the City. When the firefighter’s Union notified the City of its mistake, the firefighters were reinstated. However, they argue that the decision to lay them off resulted not from a contract dispute, but from racial animus. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed their claims against both the City and the Union.

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Inflammatory Political Bumper Sticker on Detention Officer’s Car Not Covered by First Amendment

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Williams v. McKee, a detention officer at a jail was terminated because he continuously displayed an offensive bumper sticker on his truck. The Sheriff in charge of the facility repeatedly warned him to take down or cover up the sticker, but these warnings went largely unheeded. After his termination, the detention officer brought a lawsuit alleging that his First Amendment rights had been violated. The Tenth Circuit Court affirmed the lower court’s motion to dismiss the suit.

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Fire Chief Who Spoke Out on Bigotry in Department has Triable Claim for First Amendment Violation and Violation of Anti-Discrimination Laws

By: Loyd Willaford and  Matt Baker

In Way v. Shawnee Township, a firefighter was demoted and then discharged after complaining of a culture of bigotry and racism in the Fire Department. The firefighter first notified the Fire Chief of the problems in the Department, and was told to drop the issue. However, the problems persisted, and the firefighter continued to complain until he was fired. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio denied the Township’s motion to dismiss.

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Filing of Complaints about Affirmative Action is Protected Activity Under Title VII

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Volker v. County of Nassau, a County fired an Affirmative Action Specialist after alleging he engaged in activity that the County said was outside the scope of his employment. He had submitted a report to his employer, a Sheriff’s Department, detailing the work that the Department needed to do in order to comply with Affirmative Action guidelines. The Department argued that in making the report, he had violated several policies, including interviewing employees without representation present, and proceeded to fire him. He then sued the Department, alleging that his termination had been in retaliation for protected activity. The Department moved for summary judgement, which the U.S. Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York denied.

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Trial and Arbitration Plenty of Due Process for Acquitted Police Officers

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Otto v. Williams, plaintiffs were seven police officers who were accused of conspiracy, fired, and later acquitted. A labor arbitrator reinstated them with back pay after their acquittal. Despite this, the officers brought a lawsuit against the City and the Police Department, arguing that their procedural due process had been violated because they had a property interest in their reputations, and that interest had been violated without due process. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed their claims.

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Illinois Police Officer Whose ADA and FMLA Leave Was Misclassified Was Not Retaliated Against

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Freelain v. Village of Oak Park, an Illinois police officer who requested leave to take care of his sick wife, and after he developed migraine headaches, sued his department for retaliation under the ADA and FMLA. The department argued that the actions the officer was complaining about were administrative errors that it had corrected. A United States District Court in Illinois agreed with the department and dismissed the officer’s claims.

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