Federal Court Finds Mississippi Police Officer’s Facebook Comments Criticizing Department’s Decision Not to Attend Funeral of Officer Killed in the Line of Duty Not Protected Speech

By Emily Nelson

Thumbs DownSusan Graziosi, a sergeant of the Greenville Mississippi Police Department, alleged she was fired in retaliation for posting criticisms of her police Chief Freddie Cannon on Facebook The federal district court dismissed her free speech claim in Graziosi v. City of Greenville, finding that the Chief was justified in firing her in order to minimize disruption in the department.

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Massachusetts Paramedic’s USERRA Claims Denied When He Fails to Prove Discrimination, Not Budget Cuts, Was Reason for Termination

By Emily Nelson

LayoffIn Rebello v. City of New Bedford, a federal district court granted summary judgment to the City on a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) claim, after Paramedic Joseph J. Rebello failed to establish that his reserve service was the proximate cause of his discharge when he was laid off during a city-wide staffing reduction.

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Sergeant’s Inaction Found to be Sufficient to Make Prima Facie Harassment Claims against Him

By Oliver Enquist

two 3d humans look at human with megaphoneIn Ellis v. Houston, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of five African American corrections officers who brought claims against five of their supervisors for race based harassment and retaliation.  The appellate court ruled that the officers’ claims stated a cause of action and reversed a district court ruling that had dismissed all the allegations. [Read more...]

City’s Attempt to Deny Officer’s Widow Her Life Insurance is Thwarted by Arbitration

By Anthony Rice

Contract glassIn City of Chicago Police Dep’t,, 132 LA 641 (Bierig 2012), the arbitrator found the parties’ intent defined an ambiguous word being used by the City to deny an officer’s widow her life insurance.

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Federal District Court Holds that Fire Chiefs’ Furlough Does Not Qualify Them for Overtime under the FLSA

By Anthony Rice

BalanceIn Bozzo v. City of Gilroy, a California Federal District Court ruled that a reduction in pay in exchange for “furlough time,” does not entitle City of Gilroy Fire Chiefs’ to overtime under the FLSA. The court rejected the Chief’s argument that the City’s furlough plan violated the “salary basis” test of the FLSA causing the positions to lose their exempt status.

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Arbitrator Construes CBA to Say Past Holiday Work Does Not Create an Expectation for Future Holiday Work

By Anthony Rice

PastIn the City of Chicago, the arbitrator denied the grievance alleging a CBA violation for the City’s decision not to staff a Patrol Officer on a holiday, despite having done so in the past.

At the time of the alleged CBA violation, the Grievant, who is currently a Sergeant in the Chicago P.D., was a Patrol Officer detailed to the Special Events Unit. The Special Events Unit is responsible for coordinating the P.D.’s response to special events, such as parades, motorcades, and movie shoots. Thus, on holidays like Lincoln’s Birthday, at issue here, the Grievant normally is assigned work. However, in this case the Grievant was not “required to work” his regular tour of duty on the contractual holiday because The Special Events Unit had been declared “non-essential” by the City. The Union grieved, asserting the City abused its Management rights.

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Federal District Court Trashes City’s Motion to Dismiss Due Process Claims of Terminated Police Officer Accused of Misusing City Dumpsters

By Emily Nelson

DumpsterIn Mariano v. Borough of Dickson City, a Pennsylvania Federal District Court held that the City was not entitled to dismissal of a terminated police officer’s claim that his right to due process was violated when he was fired shortly after filing grievances.

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Police Officer Denied Tuition Reimbursement Due to City’s Budgetary Constraints

By Jordan Jones

DeniedIn City of Troy, the arbitrator rejected a grievance over the City’s denial of a police officer’s tuition reimbursement request due to the City’s budgetary constraints.

Police officer Misirian informed his employer that he planned on registering for two graduate courses at a university and that he was seeking tuition reimbursement. The City subsequently denied the police officer’s request stating that “2013 [f]unding does not allow for tuition reimbursement at this time.” In other words, the City claimed their budget would not allow for it. [Read more...]

Pennsylvania District Court Finds Chief’s Badmouthing and Sharing of Officer’s Personal Medical Information Does Not Qualify As Unlawful Retaliation for Officer’s Disability Accommodation Request

By Emily Nelson

Case Dismissed 4Plaintiff Leif Henry, a police officer for the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania, filed suit against the City alleging, among other things, disability discrimination and retaliation under the Rehabilitation Act after a superior officer complained about Henry’s request for a medical accommodation, and Henry was then subjected to an internal affairs investigation. The district court dismissed both claims in Henry v. City of Allentown, finding that Henry had not shown that he suffered an “adverse employment action” by his superior officer, Chief Roger MacLean.

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City of Chicago has Discretion in Assigning Mandatory Overtime for Police Officers

By Jordan Jones

Overtime 2In City of Chicago, the arbitrator, citing “management rights” denied police officers’ grievance for not being assigned overtime for “Operation Safe Summer.”

 Police officers from the First District of the City of Chicago filed this grievance after being denied overtime for Operation Safe Summer. Operation Safe Summer was a program designed to counter gang violence in specific high crime areas of the City.  The City took the position that only current gang and tactical team officers were eligible for this assignment. [Read more...]