Federal Judge Rules that Denial of Position with Prospective Law Enforcement Employer Because of Applicant’s Union Activities May Violate First Amendment

By: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In Walter v. City of St. Peters, a Federal Court Judge in Missouri ruled that a police offer stated sufficiently plausible facts to survive a motion to dismiss his claim that the City, and the individual supervisors within the city, violated his First Amendment rights, when they refused to hire the officer as park ranger, as part of an unofficial policy of retaliating against workers for union activity.

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Second Circuit Finds Pregnant Corrections Officer Was Discriminated Against After Being Denied Light Duty

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Legg v. Ulster County, a pregnant corrections officer with a high risk pregnancy was denied light duty by her supervisors. The officer ended up suing the county, alleging she was denied light duty because she was pregnant. The Second Circuit agreed, and found the officer was entitled to take her case before a jury.

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New York Court Finds Army Reservists Did Not Show Discrimination After Denial of Vacation and Sick Benefits

By Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Matter of Andrews v. State, a group of Army Reservists that were also employed by the New York Department of Corrections alleged the Department had the violated Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act after they were denied vacation and sick leave credit during their military absences. A New York court found the officers had failed to offer proof that other employees had received vacation and sick credit while on comparable types of leave and therefore could not continue on with their lawsuit.

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Michigan District Court Finds Two White Police Officers Experienced Reverse Discrimination

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In O’Brien v. City of Benton Harbor, two white Michigan police officers alleged they experienced reverse race discrimination after the black city manager terminated them so that he could promote a black employee to police chief. A District Court in Michigan found the officers had direct evidence to support their alleged claim of discrimination because the city manager told officers they were the wrong color to be the chief because they were not black.

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Alabama District Court Finds Police Officer Did Not Experience Sexual Harassment After Police Chief Repeatedly Hits Him In Groin

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Pipes v. City of Falkville, a former Alabama police officer and chaplain alleged he was the victim of sexual harassment after the Police Chief hit his groin area on two occasions. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama disagreed and found there was no evidence this was done because of the officer’s sex.  The Court ruled that it was merely horseplay.

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D.C. K-9 Unit Police Officer Who Suffered Injury During Dog Training Exercise Can Pursue Her Claim of Retaliation

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Elmore v. Washington Metro Area Transit Authority, a former District of Columbia female K-9 unit police officer was found to have a triable retaliation claim after she was injured during a dog training exercise. The City argued that every officer was required to participate in the training but the District Court found that because the officer was injured and her supervisor continued to require the officer to participate, the officer could pursue her lawsuit.

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Alabama District Court Finds Police Dispatcher Was Not Discriminated Against After She Was Terminated For Failing to Update Responding Officers to Presence of Gun

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Matthews v. City of Mobile, an African American police dispatcher in Alabama was terminated from her position after failing to update officers responding to a call of the presence of an armed suspect. The dispatcher argued that she was being discriminated against and retaliated against for previously filing EEOC complaints. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama disagreed and found the dispatcher had failed to demonstrate she had been treated differently than similarly situated co-workers and dismissed her claims.

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Michigan Police Officer Disability Claims Rejected Due to Aberrant Behavior

By: Loyd Willaford and Brittany Torrence

In Michael v. City of Troy Police Dep’t, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected former Michigan police officer Todd Michael’s discrimination claims.  It ruled that, even though Michael suffered from a brain tumor, his “odd and disturbing” behavior and the opinions of two psychologists suggesting that he was no longer fit to do police work meant the City was justified in not allowing Michael to return to work.

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Tennessee Corrections Officer Was Not Discriminated Against When County Had Reinstated Him After Wrongful But Brief Termination

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Parker v. Metro. Gov’t of Nashville, a former Tennessee corrections officer was terminated after his FMLA leave expired. After recognizing its mistake, the sheriff’s office quickly reinstated the officer and placed him on a disability pension. The officer sued alleging both FMLA retaliation and ADA violations. The US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, Nashville division, found that because the officer was quickly reinstated, no adverse employment action had occurred and therefore the officer could not state a claim under either statute.

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Female Deputy Sheriff in Oklahoma May Pursue Gender Discrimination Claim After Termination for Employment Application Deceit and Smoking Policy Violations

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Kopf v. Bd. Of County Comm’r of Cnty of Canadian, a female deputy sheriff for Canadian County, Oklahoma was discharged after she violated the department’s smoking policy and made false statements on her employment application. The female officer alleged other male deputy sheriffs had committed these same violations but were not terminated.  The female officer filed a gender discrimination claim against the County. The County filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the reasons for the officer’s termination were legitimate. An Oklahoma District Court disagreed, and found the officer had presented enough evidence to survive the County’s motion and pursue her claim in front of a jury.

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