Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

Q & A

From Michigan:Question: How long can an arbitration decision in one case, be used as a precedent in another similar case within the same agency? For instance, 12 years ago an officer is found to have had sex on duty. Department proposed termination. Arbitrator reduced to a five-day suspension. Same

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

When Is A Girlfriend ‘Similarly Situated’ To A Spouse?

Section 922(g)(9) of Title 18 of the United States Code makes it a felony for an individual who has been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to possess a firearm. At the time the law was enacted, only about a third of the states had a criminal statute that specifically proscribed

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

Cadet Loses Claim Against Austin Police Trainers

Christopher Wise was a cadet in the Austin Police Academy. In a lawsuit he later filed, Wise alleged that on October 1, 2018, he was engaged in “a very strenuous series of physical exercises in an activity entitled Stress Reaction Training.” The training was scheduled from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

Tampa Bay Bucs Not Deputy’s Employer

In September 2015 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played the New Orleans Saints in the New Orleans Superdome. The Buc­caneers contracted with the New Orleans Police Department to provide motorcycle escorts by off-duty law enforcement offi­cers for the team’s buses traveling in the New Orleans area. Deputie

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

‘Firefighter’s Rule’ Bars Injured Officer’s Lawsuit

While on routine patrol duty on February 11, 2017, Kassondra Topper, a deputy with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, responded to the scene of a minor motor vehicle collision in Emmitsburg, Maryland. When Topper arrived at the scene, she learned that a vehicle operated by Lynwood Stride had str

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

Freeloaders And Free Riders

Erik Gagne and Barry Wallett are li­quor control agents for the State of Con­necticut. Their union issues a quarterly newsletter to its members, and its 2018 spring and winter newsletters contained the following quote from Cynthia Dill, a State Senator: “Choosing to work where there is a union and g

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

Text Message Not Basis For Retaliation Lawsuit

Brad Lamb was a deputy sheriff with the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in Colorado and was supervised by Deputy Steven Collins. Collins repeatedly made racist remarks in the office, including disparaging comments about Mexicans in front of Deputy Brittany Martinez, who is of Mexican descent

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

Arrest Does Not Necessarily Trigger Weingarten Rights

The Policemen’s Benevolent Asso­ciation Local No. 105 represents cor­rections officers working for the New Jersey Department of Corrections. The Department ordered corrections Jared Smith and Ivan Rivera to meet with Major Scott Abbott.Stuart Alterman, the PBA’s counsel, learned of the meeting befor

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

ADA Violated By Routine Physical, Psychological Examinations

Officer James LaCroix and Detec­tive Renee Payne-Callender are mem­bers of the Boston Police Department. On March 6, 2015, LaCroix sustained back and hip injuries while he was on duty. LaCroix was placed on leave due to his injuries and remained out of work until he was cleared to return by his doct

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

No Employment Right To Use Medical Marijuana At Home

Sergeant Samuel Velez Ortiz worked for the Florida Department of Corrections. Velez Ortiz became a patient of Dr. Justin Davis, who is licensed by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) to recommend medical marijuana use. After consulting with Dr. Davis, Velez Ortiz sought and obtained a valid medic

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

No Requirement To Fill Vacant Captain’s Position

Richard Levis is a lieutenant with the City of Hackensack Police Depart­ment (HPD) in New Jersey. Within a four-month timeframe in 2015, Levis was served with two Preliminary No­tices of Disciplinary Action (PNDA), alleging various charges. In lieu of a departmental hearing, the Department and Levis

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

City Stuck With Police Director’s Grant Of Grievances

The Newark Police Superior Officers Association (SOA) filed grievances alleg­ing that the City of Newark violated the terms of its contract with the SOA by: (1) refusing to pay active SOA members longevity on payments for compensatory time; and (2) failing to pay two SOA members for unused vacation

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 05/13/2022

City Guilty Of ‘Direct Dealing’ In Offering Retiring Incentive

The City of Newark and the Newark Police Superior Officers’ Associa­tion (SOA) are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City experienced a dramatic reduction in revenue collections, including property, parking, and payroll taxes, as well as utility

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

Gap Time And The FLSA

“Gap time” is a recurring issue un­der the FLSA, one that has produced contradictory opinions from different federal courts. A recent opinion from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals does a good job of explaining what gap time means and how courts have produced such diametrically opposed opinions on

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

No Conspiracy To Convince Miami Officer To Resign

Melanie Ortiz was a Miami police detective. In December 2016, the FBI ar­rested several City employees, including one police officer and two police aides, for participating in an unlawful bribery scheme from 2013 through 2014. The City suspended three police officers in relation to the alleged bribe

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

Arbitrator Upholds Chicago Police Vaccine Mandate

The sworn members of the Chi­cago Police Department who are not exempt are represented by four unions. The Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge No. 7 represents officers below the rank of Sergeant. The Policemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association of Illinois has three Units: Unit 156A represen

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

No Obligation Arbitrate Free Speech Claims

George Forbush is an officer with the Sparks Police Department in Nevada and is a member of the Sparks Police Protective Association. The Association’s contract with the City contains a disci­plinary clause providing: “No post-pro­bationary employee will be disciplined or discharged without just cau

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

At-Will Former Chief Obtains Job Rights On Demotion

Samuel Joseph was the police chief for the City of Atwater, California. Jo­seph’s employment agreement stated he was an at-will employee who could be removed as police chief for any reason but, if the removal was not for willful misconduct, he had the option of con­tinuing his employment by returnin

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

Fire Chief Not Entitled Qualified Immunity

Qualified immunity shields gov­ernment officials performing discre­tionary tasks from civil liability insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. For a right to be “clearly established,” the unlawfuln

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

Failure Offer Retest Invalidates Drug Termination

Pete Cortez is a former Engineer Operator with the City of Houston Fire Department. In January 2019, Cortez was randomly selected to take a urinalysis drug test pursuant to HFD’s controlled substance and alcohol abuse policy. The result was “negative and diluted.” Cortez was ordered to retest with a

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

Mandatory Vaccination Not Negotiable In New Jersey

The Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association filed an unfair practice charge against the Township of Ma­plewood, New Jersey, alleging that the City failed to bargain over the implementation of a policy mandating COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment, dispensing with a testing option.

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 04/16/2022

Major Cell Phone Decision From Phoenix

Christopher Turiano is a 25-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department. Until recently, he served as a grenadier in the Department’s Tactical Response Unit (TRU).On August 22, 2017, the TRU, including Turiano, was assigned to oversee ground operations at a large protest in downtown Phoenix. Throu

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 03/17/2022

Q & A

From New Jersey:Question: What impact issues are negotiable in regards to body worn cameras?Answer: The answer varies a bit from state to state, but the following “impacts” or “effects” are generally thought to be negotiable: (1) Pre-statement review of video; (2) whether supervisors can routinely r

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 03/17/2022

Firefighter Must Follow Union’s Bylaws Before Filing Fair Representation Claim

Augustine Eddy was a firefighter with the Pascoag Fire District in Rhode Island and was a member of Local 4908 of the International Association of Firefighters. In 2016, Eddy’s job performance was such that the District presented him with a plan for remedial training to address complaints from his p

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