District Court in Louisiana Finds Police Department Sick Leave Policy Too Broad

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Taylor v. City of Shreveport, a group of Shreveport, Louisiana police officers sued their Shreveport Police Department (“SPD”) after they were required to submit detailed doctor’s notes after two days of sick leave. The SPD countered that the policy was necessary to determine fitness for duty. The District Court ruled that a jury could find that the policy was overly-broad and the SPD did not have a valid business reason to require it.

[Read more…]

Court Dismisses Former Georgia Police Officer’s Claims that Department’s Failure to Transfer Him Were Discriminatory

By: Loyd Willaford and Brittany Torrence

In Pasqualetti v. Unified Gov’t of Athens-Clarke County, the U.S. District Court of Georgia dismissed a former police officer’s claims that the Athens-Clarke County Police Department discriminated against him based on its perception that he suffered from a mental disability and that the Department retaliated against him when he filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

[Read more…]

Reading, PA Police Officer’s “Stress Leave” Not Enough To Imply a Disability Under the Rehabilitation Act

By: Loyd Willaford and Mathias Deeg

In Cortazzo v. City of Reading, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that a Reading police officer’s “stress leave” did not qualify as a declared disability under the Rehabilitation Act.  The Court also ruled that by maintaining disciplinary actions already in place, the City did not engage in any adverse employment actions in response to the officer’s leave.

[Read more…]

Pennsylvania Corrections Officer Who Falsified Prison Documents Was Not Discriminated Against After Termination

By: Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Mitchell v. Community Education Centers, Incorporated, a Pennsylvania District Court ruled a former correctional officer was not wrongfully terminated after he wrote Pablo Escobar and Fidel Castro on the prison facilities sign in sheets. Because the officer had been placed on a “last chance agreement” and falsifying prison documents was a terminable offense, the District Court ruled that no reasonable juror could find that he was illegally discriminated against.

[Read more…]

Maryland Federal Judge says Transfer of Baltimore Police Officer is Not an Adverse Employment Action

By Loyd Willaford and Sarah Burke

In Williams v. Baltimore County, an African American police officer alleged he was retaliated against after he was transferred to a new department. A Maryland district court disagreed, and found that a transfer without evidence of loss of pay, opportunities, or benefits was not an adverse employment action.

[Read more…]

Former New York Police Officer Cannot Sue for Disability Discrimination Without Clear Record of Substantial Impairment

By: Loyd Willaford and Mathias Deeg

In Hensel v. City of Utica, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York ruled that a former police officer’s claim of disability discrimination against the City of Utica could not proceed because he had failed to show that his claimed disabilities impaired his major life activities.

[Read more…]

Federal Judge Finds That New York City Does Not Have to Pay Officers FLSA Wages When They Benefit More Than City From Mandatory Drug And Alcohol Classes

By Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

A federal judge in Gibbs v. City of New York ruled that mandatory drug and alcohol classes and AA meetings that NYPD required for officers that they felt had a substance abuse problem did not count as compensable “work” under FLSA, even though the officers’ jobs were contingent on them attending these classes. The judge found that since the mandatory drug and alcohol counseling sessions primarily benefited the employee rather than the NYPD it would be improper to require the employer to compensate them.

[Read more…]

Sixth Circuit Finds Michigan Police Chief That Deleted Entire Contents of Former Employee’s Laptop Did Not Commit an Illegal Search and Seizure

By: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

In Lange v. McGinnis, a Michigan police captain deleted all the files on a former employee’s hard drive before returning it to him. The employee sued the city and the captain alleging an illegal search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment. The Sixth Circuit held that the police captain was protected from the suit under qualified immunity because nothing indicated his actions were impermissible. [Read more…]

Arbitrator Sustains Discharge of Frustrated Oklahoma Firefighter Fired for Furious Flurry of Facebook Posts

By: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In City of Ada, Arbitrator Zane Lumley ruled that there was just cause for the termination of an Ada, Oklahoma firefighter who engaged in a tirade of angry and offensive Facebook posts in response to a police officer arresting his wife for public intoxication.  Ultimately, the Arbitrator ruled that termination was proper because the firefighter showed a clear disregard for the City’s anti-harassment policy and his actions had made it very difficult for him to work with the Ada police department in the future.

[Read more…]

Court Upholds Arbitration Award and Rules Connecticut Police Officer’s Lie Not Bad Enough to Violate Public Policy

By: Jim Cline and Geoff Kiernan

In Town of Stratford (Connecticut), the City attempted to vacate an arbitration decision that had reinstated a police officer who was discharged for lying to an independent neurologist by withholding medical information about his seizures and alcohol abuse.  The City argued that the police officer must be fired because there is a public policy against intentional dishonesty in connection with police employment. The Court agreed that while there was a public policy against intentional policy officer dishonesty in connection with employment, the dishonesty at issue here was not so extreme as to make the arbitrator’s award a violation of public policy.

[Read more…]