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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Fire Chief can bring Free Speech and Whistleblower Claims Against City of Nampa

By: Loyd Willaford and Matt Baker

In Strosnider v. City of Nampa, an assistant fire chief claimed that he was discharged from his job in retaliation for exercising rights under the First Amendment and Idaho whistleblower law. The assistant fire chief notified two apartment building managers of the need to renovate their buildings, despite the misgivings of the Mayor of Nampa. After issuing the warnings, the assistant fire chief was terminated.

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Philadelphia’s Required Psychological Exam for Police Officer Applicants Ruled Valid and Non-Discriminatory

By: Loyd Willaford and Mathias Deeg

In Cook v. City of Philadelphia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that Philadelphia’s required psychological exam for police officer applicants was valid and non-discriminatory, and that a failed exam with no further evidence could not be used as the basis for an employment discrimination claim under the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Michigan Police Department Declines to Rehire Former Deputy Fired While Negotiating a Return to Work

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Williams v. Office of Chief Judge of Cook Cnty., a former African American juvenile probation officer in Illinois, sued her department for racial discrimination and workers compensation retaliation after she was terminated while on medical leave. The department argued that the decision was based on its belief that the officer had abandoned her job. The Seventh Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, and granted the department summary judgment on both claims.

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Florida Police Officer Was Not Discriminated Against After Being Fired For Lack of Qualifications

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Valdes v. City of Doral, a former police officer alleged he had been unlawfully terminated after his job restrictions prohibited him from patrolling the streets. The city argued that it was necessary for an officer to be able to patrol the streets and therefore the officer was no longer qualified for his job. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling and dismissed the officer’s claims.

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Pennsylvania County Lacks Basic Understanding of the FMLA, Terminates 911 Director For Taking Leave to Care for Her Elderly Parents

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Raimondi v. Wyoming County, a former 911 Center director was terminated after she took FMLA leave to care for her mother and father. The County argued that the director was not entitled to FMLA because she had not specifically asked for it and her parents had not had a medical emergency. A United States District Court in Pennsylvania found the County liable under the FMLA and ruled in favor of the director.

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Disabled Deputy Sheriff in Virginia Was Not Discriminated Against By Losing Out on Open Job Position to More Qualified Individual

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In United States v. Woody, a former deputy sheriff was unable to perform her job after being diagnosed with a heart condition and asked for a transfer to a different position. A position opened but the deputy sheriff was not the most qualified applicant and did not receive the job. The deputy sheriff sued and alleged that she had been discriminated against because of her disability. A United States District Court in Virginia disagreed and dismissed the sheriff’s lawsuit.

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Connecticut District Court Finds Officer Was Lawfully Suspended Following Racist and Sexist Comments

By: Loyd Willaford & Sarah Burke

In Koenig v. City of New Haven, a disabled police officer alleged he had been discriminated against after he was suspended with pay following racist and sexist remarks he allegedly made. The city argued that the suspension was not an adverse employment action and, even if it were, it was not done because of the officer’s disability. A United States District Court in Connecticut found the suspension was an adverse action, but that there was no evidence to show that the City suspended the officer because of his disability. The Court dismissed the officer’s claims.

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Connecticut Correction Worker Who Suffered From Seizure Disorder Cannot Go Back To Work in Maximum Security Unit

By: Loyd Willaford & Sarah Burke

In Gardner v. Univ. of Conn. Health Ctr., a correctional facility social worker in Connecticut was terminated after she suffered a seizure while on duty and alone with an inmate.  The social worker argued that the termination was discriminatory and that the risk of day time seizures was low with medication. A United States District Court in Connecticut disagreed and held that the potential harm from another seizure was too great and therefore her termination was lawful.

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