Arbitrator Rules City Failed To Maintain Safe Staffing Levels When It Assigned Specialty Officers to Patrol

Police-Patrol-CarBy: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In the City of Markham, an Illinois arbitrator ruled that the city violated its CBA by assigning members of specialty units (traffic detail, detectives, community service, etc.)  to fulfil the minimum staffing requirements of four full-time patrol officers.  This case because the contract provision at issue was not developed during bargaining decided in interest arbitration.

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

sick-personBy: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In Allegheny Cnty 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 provision at issue allowed management to randomly call any officer that called in sick to ascertain and/or confirm the illness or injury. However by practice the random phone calls were only supposed to be made to an officer who has reached suspension level in the progressive disciplinary procedure.

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U.S. Court Of Appeals Decides That ADA Does Not Protect Oregon Police Officer With ADHD

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson

adhdIn Weaving v. City of Hillsboro, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that an Oregon police officer with ADHD could not qualify as disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prevented him from asserting the ADA’s protections. In his lawsuit, the Officer alleged that the City violated the ADA by terminating him because of this ADHD. At trial, a jury agreed with him and awarded over $775,000 in damages, including back-pay and front-pay, as well as attorney’s fees. However, the Court of Appeals reviewed the case and overruled the verdict after determining that the Officer’s ADHD did not present symptoms that were severe enough to qualify as a disability under the ADA.

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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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