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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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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Feud Fueled by Questionable Sick Leave Escalates into Plausible ADA Claims for Injured Officer

By Mitchell Riese and Mitchel Wilson

snowflake3-1-1In Sube v. City of Allentown, the Court denied the Defendant City’s motion for summary judgment and permitted the employee’s disability discrimination claims under the ADA to proceed to trial. As the City was aware of Sube’s injury and later terminated him soon after he sought to bring discrimination charges with the EEOC.

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Arbitrator Guy Coss Holds that Spokane Valley Fire Captain Extinguished His Remedy for Termination by Appealing to the Civil Service Commission

By Anthony Rice

email_devilIn Spokane Valley Fire Dep’t, Arbitrator Guy Coss dismissed a Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) employee’s grievance as not arbitrable, because he exhausted his remedy by first appealing to the Civil Service Commission.

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Despite an Unjust Demotion, the CBA Does Not Give a Police Captain Redress

By Anthony Rice

captainIn City of West Palm Beach, the arbitrator held the grievance was not arbitrable, because the captain (grievant) was outside the bargaining unit and the CBA contained no language concerning grieving a captain’s demotion.

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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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Officer Terminated after Arrest for Illegal Sale of Firearm Survives Motion to Dismiss Due Process Claim

By David Worley

Due ProcessIn Dooley v. City of Bridgeport, 34 IER Cases 1507 (S.D. Ill. 2013), the court denied motions to dismiss the due process claims of Officer Dooley, an Illinois police officer who was terminated following an arrest for illegally selling a firearm.  The charge turned out to be baseless, and Dooley challenged his termination on due process grounds and a number of state statutes.  The court found that as Dooley had a well defined property interest in his employment and no sufficient inquiry had indicated termination was actually proper, his claims could survive a motion to dismiss.

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Fourteen Day Suspension of Prison Officer for Inspection Failures Involving Dead Inmate Reduced when Similar Offense Had Received Lighter Punishment

By David Worley

policies iconIn Federal Bureau of Prisons, 131 LA 536 (Betts, 2012), the arbitrator held the 14 day suspension of a corrections officer was too severe when one of the three alleged instances of misconduct was unsupported, and a fellow officer disciplined for the other two instances of misconduct only received a three day suspension.  Finding that just cause requires similar misconduct to require similar discipline, the arbitrator found the penalty had to be reduced and required the officer be compensated for the days of unjust suspension. [Read more…]

Former Police Chief’s Free Speech Retaliation Claims Survive Summary Judgment When Adverse Actions Occurred Immediately after Actions That Ruffled Some Feathers.

By David E. Worley

In Carroll v. Clifford Township, 34 IER Cases 1118 (M. D. Pa. 2012), summary judgment was denied when the plaintiff, the former sheriff, had his position eliminated, his department budget reduced, and was denied entry into the Fraternal Order of Police after filing a lawsuit against the township and subsequently filing an earlier retaliation lawsuit.  

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Union Fails at Arguing the CBA Contains Words That Are Not There

By David E. Worley

In City of Crystal (131 LA 268 (Neigh, 2012)), the arbitrator determined that the City and the Union were bound by the contract language and its plain interpretation in regard to the required contribution of the City to employee’s health insurance as well as contributions to the employee’s Health Savings Accounts.  The dispute arose in an unusual context in which premiums decreased after the expiration of the CBA and the City had to determine how to administer the benefit, which was reduced in its cost.

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