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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District Court in Pennsylvania Says Police Officer May Go Forward With Suit Against Department After He Was Terminated for DUI

By Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Hoffman v. City of Bethlehem (Case), Hoffman v. City of Bethlehem (Court’s Order)  a federal district court in Pennsylvania denied a police department’s motion to dismiss a police officer’s disability discrimination claim. The district court ruled that the department’s reliance on a fitness for duty test before denying the officer reinstatement was enough to demonstrate they regarded him as disabled and provide him protection under the Rehabilitation Act.

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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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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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