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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Female Firefighter’s Claims of Sex Discrimination and Retaliation Survive Summary Judgment

By David E. Worley

In Smith v. City of New Smyrna Beach (116 FEP Cases 1973 (M.D. Fla. 2012)) a female firefighter’s alleged facts on claims of sex discrimination and retaliation were sufficient to survive summary judgment when she was suspended for using profane language. Using such language was common in the workplace and no one else had received a suspension. Additionally, a hostile work environment may exist.  Taken in a light most favorable to the Plaintiff, the court concluded, the facts were sufficient so that a jury might find the Plaintiff was treated adversely because of her gender.

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Officer’s Termination Vacated Despite Evidence – Chief Failed to Follow Proper Discipline Procedure

By Kate Acheson and Jim Cline

In Dill v. City of Clarksville, a Tennessee Court of Appeals vacated the termination of a police officer because that officer was deprived of due process in the termination proceedings.  Although there was sufficient evidence to support the decision to discipline the officer, the police chief failed to follow the procedure set out in the city code —  requiring all relevant investigation materials be forwarded to human resources prior to taking disciplinary.

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A More than One-Year Delay Makes Discipline Untimely and Improper Regardless of Just Cause

By David Worley

In Federal Bureau of Prisons (130 LA 1745 (Szuter, 2012), a one-day suspension was overturned entirely based on the lengthy delay that elapsed between the time of the infraction and the time of the discipline. While the arbitrator concluded that just cause existed to discipline the employee for the infraction, he also concluded that the contract was violated by the 15 month delay in completing the investigation.   [Read more…]