District Court in Georgia Dismisses Fire Medic’s Claim of Discrimination Related to Comments at Work, an Involuntary Transfer, and Alleged Constructive Discharge

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Cheatham v. DeKalb County, a federal district court granted summary judgment on a female fire medic’s claims that she had been discriminated against because men in her unit did not use the toilet properly and the station captain made a comment that “the only reason why a woman is in the fire service is to cook and do clerical work.” The court ruled that the fire medic had not suffered a materially adverse employment action because she was transferred and her transfer was a lateral one and she could not meet the high burden of establishing she was constructively discharged when she quit and got a better paying job.

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Probationary Firefighter Trainees Were Entitled To Post-Termination Name-Clearing Hearing Over Claims Of Cheating

By: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Cortez-Debonar v. Fretwell, two former firefighter trainees sued the city of Las Vegas after they were terminated from the firefighter academy following allegations of cheating. The district court held that the trainees could pursue both their due process and breach of contract claims.

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Arizona Supreme Court Finds Union Release Time Legal Under State Constitution

By: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Cheatham v. DiCiccio, a majority of the Arizona Supreme Court found that union release time was not illegal under the state constitution’s Gift Clause.

Ninety percent of police officers in Phoenix belong to a police union. Like most collective bargaining agreements, under the Phoenix police union’s collective bargaining agreement, officers are excused from usual police duties, but are still paid by the city, while they perform union activities and conduct union business.

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Missouri District Court Finds Officers’ Letter Critical of Police Chief Was Not Protected Speech

By:  Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Barnes v. City of Charlack, a federal district court in Missouri dismissed two police officer’s claims that they were retaliated against for speaking out against the police chief. The district court ruled that the officer’s had spoken in their capacity as public employees rather than private citizens and had no First Amendment claims.

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Alabama Officer Living with Convicted Felon Can Pursue Retaliation Claim Against His Employer

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Jones v. City of Heflin, a former Alabama police lieutenant sued the City of Heflin following his termination. The lieutenant argued he was terminated in retaliation for refusing to report an extra-marital affair to the husband of a female officer who had sued the department for gender discrimination. The district court found this reason was enough for the lieutenant to move forward with his claim and denied the City summary judgment.

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Maryland Juvenile Detention Officer has no ADA right to Continue Position when Bad Knee Limits his Ability to Restrain Detainees

By: Jim Cline & Harrison Owens

In Raiford v. Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, a Maryland District Court dismissed a former Resident Advisor Trainee’s failure-to-accommodate and constructive discharge claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In his complaint, the resident adviser claimed that he was constructively discharged and his employer failed to accommodate him after he suffered a knee injury that prevented him from physically restraining detainees. The District Court found that detainee supervision and physical restraint were essential job functions, there was no vacant position available, his requested accommodation of permanent light-duty work was not reasonable, and he did not show that the Department forced him to resign.

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New Jersey Officers Retaliatory Transfer Charge Following Quota Complaints Fail When Court Finds Poor Performance, Not Complaints, Led to Transfer

By: Jim Cline & Harrison Owens

In Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 1, et al. v. City of Camden, et al., a New Jersey District Court dismissed several officers’ claims that they had been retaliated against, and one officer’s claim that his FMLA rights had been denied by the City. In their complaint, the officers claimed that several defendants had retaliated against them or interfered with their FMLA rights after they spoke out against a “directed patrol” policy. The District Court dismissed all of their claims because the officers failed to show that their poor performance under the policy was not the primary reason for their transfers. The Court also found that there was no evidence that the defendants denied one of the officers his rights under the FMLA or harmed him.

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Baltimore Corrections Officer Could Bring Claim For Violation Of ADA When Wrongfully Demoted Because Of His Inflammatory Disease

By: Jim Cline & Harrison Owens

In Allen v. Baltimore County, a Maryland District Court allowed a corrections officer to continue with his claim for disability discrimination under the ADA against his employer.  In his complaint, the officer claimed that his employer had caused him to sign a demotion agreement and terminated him because he suffered from an inflammatory disease.  The District Court found that the officer could have performed his job if his employer had accommodated his disability, such as by allowing him time to take his medication or giving him light duty.

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Colorado Firefighter Did Not Have ADA Claim Because His Medical Limitations Posed a “Direct Threat” To Public Health And Safety.

By: Jim Cline & Harrison Owens

In Bailey v. City of Englewood, a Colorado District Court dismissed the claims of a former firefighter/paramedic that he had been wrongfully discharged and that the City had failed to accommodate his disability. In his complaint, the firefighter/paramedic claimed that his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had been violated because he was fired following back surgery. The City argued that his depression, which occurred after his surgery, caused him to be a direct threat to those he served and unable to perform his essential job functions. The District Court agreed with the City, and dismissed the firefighter/paramedic’s case.

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Second Circuit Finds Connecticut Police Chief’s Retaliatory Acts Were Exercise of His Own First Amendment Rights

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In, Lynch v. Ackley, the Second Circuit found that a police chief was entitled to summary judgment dismissing a police officer’s claim that he was retaliated against for exercising his First Amendment rights. The Court also found that the police chief’s own retaliatory statements were an exercise of her First Amendment right to defend herself.

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