In Cowley v. Lynch, four FBI special agents alleged that the FBI had created a hostile work environment, discriminated against them based on their sex in denying them transfers, and had retaliated against them by reorganizing their department in order to break up their “clique.” The FBI argued that the restructuring and transfer denials were due to legitimate department needs and that a hostile work environment had not been established. The district court agreed with the FBI, finding that stray comments made around the agents did not rise to the level of hostile work environment and that the reasons for the restructuring and transfer were legitimate.
Virginia District Court Finds FBI Special Agents Were Not Discriminated Against After Being Called “Princesses” and “Prima Donnas”
Pennsylvania District Court Denies Qualified Immunity For Police Commissioner Who Terminated Officer After Filing a Grievance
In Rossiter v. Ramsey, a Philadelphia police officer was terminated for alleged overtime abuses and then subsequently reinstated following an arbitration hearing. After his reinstatement, the officer brought charges that he had been retaliated against for exercising his First Amendment right to associate by his police commissioner. The commissioner argued qualified immunity and moved for summary judgment.
Seventh Circuit Holds That A Milwaukee Deputy Union Vice President Failed To Prove A First Amendment Employment Retaliation Claim
In Graber v. Clarke, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a deputy sheriff sergeant, who was also the Union Vice President, failed to prove a First Amendment employment retaliation claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the County of Milwaukee and its Sheriff. The Seventh Circuit stated that even though he had presented union complaints he had failed to “establish a causal connection between his constitutionally protected speech and an adverse employment action.”
Against Illinois Police Union President’s Who Made Shooting Threats Loses First Amendment Retaliation Claim
In Kafka v. Grady, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted the employer’s summary judgment motion against a former police officer and union president’s First Amendment retaliation claim. The court held that the timing of the officer’s union speech and his alleged deprivations were too attenuated to find that the union speech was a motivating factor behind any adverse employment action.
U.S. District Court Denies Employer’s Motion to Dismiss Illinois Police Officer and Reserve Marine’s USERRA Retaliation Suit
In Bello v. Village. of Skokie, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois denied the employers motion to dismiss a police officer and reserve marine’s suit under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA. The court held that the officer had stated a valid claim of discrimination and retaliation under USERRA warranting a trial.
U.S. District Court Dismisses Illinois Police Union President’s Suit Alleging Retaliation Following Union Endorsement in Mayor’s Race
In Schmalz v. Village of. Riverside, the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois dismissed a Police Union’s Presidents which hadalleging retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. The officer alleged that the Village and its officials failed to promote him based on his union activity and endorsement of a former trustee for mayor in the Village election. The court held that the officer had “sufficiently proved a connection between the political activity and the failure to promote.
Mississippi District Court Finds Correction Officer Can State a Claim for First Amendment Retaliation Following Her Termination after Testifying Against Supervisors
By: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke
In Lott v. Forrest County, a corrections officer sued the county sheriff’s department and her supervisors alleging she experienced a retaliatory transfer and was ultimately terminated following her testimony at a trial against her supervisors. A Mississippi district court found that the officer could survive a motion for summary judgment on her claim for First Amendment retaliation because her transfer and termination occurred after her testimony and because of her supervisors.
Ninth Circuit Finds Two San Jose Police Officers Have Triable First Amendment Claim After Speaking Out About Time Sheet Fraud
In Hernandez v. City of San Jose, two police officers alleged they experienced adverse employment actions in violation of their First Amendment rights after one of the officers reported time sheet fraud. The City conceded the fraud reports were protected by the First Amendment but claimed there was no evidence that the report led to an “adverse action” against the officers. The Ninth Circuit rejected the City’s claim that was entitled to summary judgment, finding that unresolved issues existed that warranted a trial.
By Erica Shelley Nelson and Brennen Johnson
In 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.
Fire Union and County in Florida Pay for Their Cooperation in Retaliating Against Firefighter Members
By Jim Cline and Jordan Jones
In 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.