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Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies


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First Amendment Related

     Monthly Law Journal Article: Does Ordering an Employee to Refrain From Certain Personal Contacts Violate Constitutional Due Process? by Michael P. Stone and Marc J. Berger, 2007 (3) AELE Mo. L.J. 501.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Picketing Rights of Public Employees, 2007 (11) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Regulation of an Employee's Off-Duty Activities Part Three- Participating in Unapproved Training Programs and/or Membership in Controversial Organizations or Events, 2008 (2) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Regulation of an Employee's Off-Duty Activities. Part Four– Sexual Conduct, 2008 (3) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Online Networking, Texting and Blogging by Peace Officers Part One – Impeachment, Policy & First Amendment Issues, 2010 (4) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.
     Monthly Law Journal Article: Sexualized and Derogatory Language in the Workplace, 2011 (2) AELE Mo. L. J. 201.

     A corrections officer was fired from his employment with the county after he spoke to a news reporter about the arrest of a university football player without authorization from the sheriff. He argued that this violated his First Amendment right to free speech. Rejecting this claim, a federal appeals court found that the statements made were ordinarily within the scope of his duties, and did not merely concern those duties. He did not speak to the news reporter as a private citizen and therefore his speech was not protected against employer discipline under the First Amendment. Hurst v. Lee County, #13-60540, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 16153, 38 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1607 (5th Cir.).
     A deputy who worked at a county jail was vice president of an employee union. He claimed that a seven-day suspension that he received was retaliatory in violation of his First Amendment rights. He had told a captain and a sergeant that he believed that mandatory overtime imposed the previous day violated a collective bargaining agreement. While he was speaking about a matter of public concern in his capacity as the union vice president, and therefore as a citizen, he failed to show a causal connection between his comments and the suspension, which the employer said was for his having signed a deficient memo book. Graber v. Clarke, #13-2165, 763 F.3d 888 (7th Cir. 2014).
     The collective bargaining organization representing Philadelphia police officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, operated a political action committee to distribute political contributions to candidates for state and local office. The union, the political action committee, and four officers sued to question the constitutionality of provisions of the city charter that barred employees of the police department from making contributions "for any political purpose. The provision only applied to police, and not to other city employees and was adopted in 1951 because of a history of patronage employment. The federal appeals court found that the ban was unconstitutional, reasoning that it may address valid concerns (such as police partiality and politicized personnel practices) but that the city did not explain how the ban addressed the feared harms in a direct and material way. There was a lack of fit between the city's stated purpose and the means chosen to promote it, and it was illogically under-inclusive. Lodge No. 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police v. City of Philadelphia, #13-1516, 763 F.3d 358 (3rd Cir. 2014).
     A psychologist at an Illinois state prison claimed that he suffered retaliation in violation of the First Amendment after he was elected to his union's Executive Board and engaged in advocacy for union members, voicing employee concerns to management. Adverse actions allegedly included relocating his office, increasing his work load, denying his request for advance leave time, revising directives affecting his job duties without his input, removing him from a hostage crisis team, and making him meet with mentally ill inmates without a guard in the same room. He was, however, not fired, disciplined, or denied an employment opportunity. A federal appeals court upheld summary judgment for the defendants, ruling that because the plaintiff was acting as a union official, not as a public employee, when he made the statements that were at issue, and they were therefore not protected by the First Amendment. His complaints to management about the collective bargaining agreement and work conditions were merely employee grievances and he did not show that he addressed matters of public concern. Olendzki v. Rossi, #12-1340, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 16866 (7th Cir.).

     An ex-employee of a community college who directed a program for underprivileged youth there learned that a state representative also employed by the program had not been reporting for work, so he fired her, and later testified under subpoena in two federal prosecutions against the representative for mail fraud and theft in a program receiving federal funds. The community college president later terminated the director, citing budget shortfalls. The director claimed, however, that it was because of his testimony. A federal appeals court ruled that the testimony was not protected by the First Amendment because he was a public employee and did not speak as a citizen while testifying. The appeals court also found that the community college president was entitled to qualified immunity. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed, unanimously finding that the testimony given was protected by the First Amendment, while agreeing that the community college president was entitled to qualified immunity in his individual capacity, as the law on the subject had not been clearly established, so he reasonably could have believed that a government employer could fire an employee because of testimony given outside the scope of his ordinary job responsibilities. He was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity in his official capacity. Further proceedings were ordered to determine if the community college president's successor could be ordered to reinstate the plaintiff. The sworn testimony was outside the scope of the plaintiff's ordinary job duties and constituted speech as a citizen on corruption in a public program, a matter of public concern. There was no indication, further, that the testimony was false and erroneous. Lane v. Franks, #13-483 189 L. Ed. 2d 312, 2014 U.S. Lexis 4302.
     A deputy sheriff ran for election as sheriff, but was defeated by the incumbent. The day after the election, the deputy was fired, and he asserted a claim for First Amendment retaliation. The sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity for the firing, as at least some of the deputy's campaign speech did not have First Amendment protection. The sheriff could have reasonably believed that some of the deputy's statements could be potentially damaging to and disruptive in relation to co-workers' harmony and discipline. He also could have reasonably believed that the decision to fire the deputy was within the "breathing room" he had as a public official to make reasonable choices, even if they are mistaken. Nord v. Walsh County, #12-3249, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 12019 (8th Cir.).
    Two employees of a county Emergency Services Department, who were members of a firefighters' union local, argued that they had been subjected to retaliatory fitness-for-duty examinations as a result of their prior grievances and charges against the county. A Jury agreed, but the trial court found that insufficient evidence supported the jury's verdict. The appeals court reversed, reinstating the jury verdict, ruling that the jury was permitted, under the evidence submitted, to find that an intent to retaliate was a "but-for" case of the county's actions. Booth v. Pasco Cty., FL, #12-4194, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 12838 (11th Cir.).
     In a lawsuit concerning a disability discrimination claim by a firefighter who lost all vision in one eye in an accident unrelated to work, there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether driving a fire apparatus under emergency lights was an essential function of a firefighter's job. The department claimed that his vision loss prevented him from driving at high speeds. The trial court prematurely ruled, as a matter of law, that the employee could not meet the burden of demonstrating that his requested accommodation was reasonable. The parties disputed whether there was a vacant job opening in the Fire Prevention Bureau when the plaintiff made a request for a transfer. A First Amendment retaliation claim was rejected, as the firefighter's testimony that was supposedly the basis for the retaliation was about a purely private matter. Rorrer v. City of Stow, #13-3272, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 3592, 2014 Fed App. 38P (6th Cir.).
     While there was a settlement agreement in place concerning certain issues arising in a firefighters corps, that agreement did not bar claims for alleged unlawful retaliation against the plaintiff, a transitory employee, for unlawful retaliation against her that arose after the settlement agreement. Specifically, she claimed that she was subject to various forms of abuse in retaliation for her early lawsuit claiming that she was not hired as a firefighter because of her gender. Rodriguez-Vives v. PR Fire Fighters Corps, #13-1587, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 2894 (1st Cir.).
     A former fire captain claimed that his termination was an act of political discrimination in violation of his First Amendment rights in retaliation for his support for a candidate for Fire Commissioner. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, finding that the employer gave legitimate business-related reasons for their personnel decisions, including a new familial relations policy forbidding officers from working shifts with or supervising their family members, such as the plaintiff's wife, a full time firefighter, and that the employee failed to show that the reasons given were pretexts. Pierce v. Cotuit Fire District, #13-1428, 2014 U.S. App. Lexis 1746 (1st Cir.).
   The Library of Congress recognizes some employee groups and allows them to use meeting rooms and obtain other benefits. An non-profit organization composed of current and former employees of the library argued that denying it such benefits violated its rights. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, in the absence of any allegation that denying the group recognition amounted to unlawful retaliation for statutorily protected employee or applicants. Howard R.L.Cook v. Billington, #12-5193, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24749 (D.C. Cir.).
      An officer was placed on paid leave after a hearing officer recommended his termination while investigating an allegation of him lying about the contents of a call from a police chief based on a recording that served as part of a list of grievances against the chief. He was later reinstated and sued, claiming unlawful retaliation in violation of the First Amendment for his complaint about the chief. A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that the statements were not protected speech as they had not addressed a matter of public concern. The defendants had been justified in bringing the charge based on the results of the investigation. Swetlik v. Crawford, #12-2675, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 25589 (7th Cir.).
     A federal appeals court upheld a $1.1 million jury award in favor of a terminated deputy on a claim that he suffered retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights. After he used pepper spray and physical force to subdue a motorcyclist fleeing from a fellow officer, he submitted his report. Allegedly alarmed that the incident could result in a civil damages lawsuit, officers in the upper echelon of the chain of command supposedly authorized detectives to interrogate him aggressively and also ordered him to revise his report. The deputy opposed this order, regarding it as legally and factually unwarranted. After he broadly publicized this to numerous public officials, the media, and others, representing this as showing corrupt and unlawful practices occurring in the sheriff's office, the sheriff fired him. A federal appeals court ruled that the sheriff was not entitled to qualified immunity and therefore upheld the jury award. Terminating him for publishing documents from the office's grievance proceedings violated his clearly established First Amendment rights.
Durham v. Jones, #12-2303, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24507 (4th Cir.).
     A police officer argued that the city and his superiors unlawfully retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights by firing him because he kept expressing concerns about work-related safety issues to his supervisors. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, ruling that the evidence presented did not establish a First Amendment retaliation claim. A government employee, in reporting safety concerns to his supervisors, acting under a duty to do so, was not expressing himself as a private citizen so that his expression was not protected by the First Amendment. The defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Hagen v. City of Eugene, #12-35492, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24029 (9th Cir.).
     A prosecutor filed felony charges against a correctional officer who took his cell phone inside a facility in violation of departmental policies and Illinois law, making 30 calls from work. Another officer spread the news of this to fellow employees. A casework supervisor called the prosecutor, urging him to drop the charges and let the matter be handled in the employee disciplinary process. Internal affairs learned of this and investigated the supervisor, who was reprimanded and suspended for five days. He sued, claiming he was subjected to unlawful retaliation for protected speech. A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity from liability as no clearly established rights were violated. Further, the plaintiff had not proven his case as a matter of law. His speech was not constitutionally protected since the interests in maintaining workplace order and security outweighed the plaintiff's interests in expressing his opinion on a work-related prosecution. Volkman v. Ryker, #12-1778, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 24000 (7th Cir.).
     After the plaintiff was fired from the police department for violating a number of policies, he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and other defendants. Upholding summary judgment for the defendants, the appeals court agreed that the plaintiff had not proven that any of the disciplinary, personnel, or internal affairs decisions that he complained about were made by a final policymaker for the city, barring municipal liability. Additionally, he failed to show that his First Amendment rights were violated, since he could not demonstrate that his speech on any topic played a significant role in the decisions to start internal affairs investigations concerning him or to terminate him. The court also rejected the plaintiff's false imprisonment, false arrest, and malicious prosecution claims as he could not show that they had been carried out without probable cause, or that there was any connection between them and the defendants' actions. Carter, Jr. v. City of Melbourne, FL, #12-15337, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 19450 (11th Cir.).
     Six employees of a sheriff's office claimed that they lost their jobs after expressing support for the sheriff's opponent in an upcoming election. Some of them did so by "liking" or commenting on the opponent's Facebook page. A federal appeals court found that expressing likes on Facebook is protected free speech, and the "Internet equivalent of displaying a political sign in one's front yard." The defendant sheriff was entitled, however, to qualified immunity on three employee's claims seeking damages against him individually as well as Eleventh Amendment immunity against claims seeking money damages against him in his official capacity. No Eleventh Amendment immunity was available, however, on three employee's claims seeking reinstatement in their jobs. Bland v. Roberts, #12-1671, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 19268 (4th Cir.).

     An en banc panel of the 9th Circuit overruled a previous decision, Huppert v. City of Pittsburg, #06-17362, 574 F.3d 696 (9th Cir. 2009) which held that an officer had no First Amendment protection from employer retaliation for his report of internal corruption to the FBI. The court reasoned that, after Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), courts must make a "practical" inquiry to determine the scope of a government employee's professional duties and that Huppert erred in concluding that California broadly defines police officers' duties as a matter of law for the purpose of First Amendment retaliation claims. The court also held that being placed on administrative leave, as the plaintiff was, could amount to an adverse employment action. The dismissal of the retaliation claim was therefore reversed. Dahlia v. Rodriguez, #10-55978, 2013 WL 4437594, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 17489 (en banc 9th Cir.).
     An assistant state's attorney was subpoenaed by a special prosecutor to testify before a grand jury and then at a trial arising out of an investigation of his boss for allegedly improperly influencing cases involving political allies and relatives. His boss later interrogated him and fired him. Suing, he claimed that his termination was unlawful retaliation for his exercise of his First Amendment rights by offering truthful eyewitness testimony. A federal appeals court rejected the trial court's conclusion that the testimony was not constitutionally protected because it was made as part of his official duties. While the plaintiff had worked in criminal justice, presenting eyewitness testimony in court was not part of his employment duties. The appeals court also found that First Amendment protection for giving such testimony was clearly established, rejecting a qualified immunity defense. Punishing someone for subpoenaed testimony, the court said, chills civic discourse "in significant and pernicious ways." Chrzanowski v. Bianchi, #12-2811, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 16053 (7th Cir.).
    An employee at a county jail wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper during an election campaign for sheriff, expressing his support for the current sheriff's reelection and opposing his political opponent. When the opponent was elected, the employee and a number of others were told that they had two months to improve conditions at the jail or they would be fired. Subsequently, the employee was demoted, and he took retirement, and he sued the sheriff, his office, and the county for unlawful retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. A federal appeals court found that summary judgment for the defendants was inappropriate since there was evidence from which a jury could find that the defendants had failed to show that they would have taken the same actions against the plaintiff in the absence of his protected speech. The court found that the plaintiff, in writing the letter, was speaking as a citizen supporting a candidate during an election. Haverda v. Hays County, #12-51008, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 14485 (5th Cir.).
     A police department detective supported a candidate for mayor in a party primary. When the candidate lost, the detective talked to a reporter about the election. One day after these comments were published, the detective was reassigned to station duty officer, a more deskbound position. He sued for unlawful retaliation in violation of the First Amendment on the basis of his support for a political candidate, and for demotion and constructive discharge without due process. The defendants counterclaimed for abuse of process and malicious prosecution, and the trial court granted the defendants summary judgment on the plaintiff's claims and summary judgment to the plaintiff on the defendants' abuse of process claim but not on their malicious prosecution claim, which the parties subsequently agreed to be dismissed. The appeals court reversed on the retaliation claim, finding that there was enough evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the reassignment was motivated at least in part by a retaliatory motive, after which the defendants would have to try to show that they would have taken the same action even without the protected speech. Peele v. Burch, #12-3562, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 13800 (7th Cir.).
     A former university employee of Middle Eastern descent claimed that he had been constructively discharged by racially and religiously motivated harassment and also that in retaliation for complaining about the harassment, efforts were made to interfere with a hospital's job offer to him, resulting in the offer's withdrawal. After a jury returned a verdict for the employee on both claims, a federal appeals court overturned the harassment/discrimination claim, but upheld the verdict on the retaliation claim. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated the ruling on the retaliation claim, finding that the legal standard to prevail had to be to show "but for causation," to prove that the harm would not have occurred in the absence of the alleged wrongful actions (unlawful retaliation) of the employer, not a lessened causation test used in an EEOC manual, requiring only a showing that retaliation was a motivating factor in the action taken causing the harm. Because the wrong legal standard was used, further proceedings were required. University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, #12-484, 2013 U.S. Lexis 4704.
     A police officer claimed that he was unlawfully denied time-off awards in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, filing an earlier employment discrimination claim that was settled. The time-off awards gave an employee paid leave on five occasions over the next three months. He claimed that certain actions he had performed in the prior three months, following the settlement of his discrimination claims, merited the time-off awards, such as making an assault arrest, pulling a person out of an overturned car, etc. The fact that other employees were also involved in some of the same incidents and that no one else was commended for these actions either undermined his retaliation claim. He failed to show his entitlement to the awards, and therefore, the failure to nominate him for them did not materially affect the terms of his employment. Bridgeforth v. Jewell, #12-5015, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 13467 (D.C. Cir.).
     Labor unions and state employees sued various state officials, claiming that they violated the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to freedom of association by targeting employees for firing on the basis of their union membership. A federal appeals court ruled that, based on stipulated facts, that was the case, and reversed summary judgment for the defendants, instructing that summary judgment be entered for the plaintiffs on their First Amendment claim and that appropriate equitable relief be granted. Further proceedings were ordered on individual plaintiffs claims. Claims for money damages against the defendants in their individual capacities were not barred by the Eleventh Amendment. State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition v. Rowland, #11-3061, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 10970 (2nd Cir.).
     A federal Air Marshal went on television in disguise to criticize various actions and policies of the employing agency. He was removed from his job when another employee with the agency recognized his voice, since the interview with the reporter was deemed an unauthorized disclosure of sensitive security information. The Merit Systems Protection Board upheld his removal from the job by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). A federal appeals court held that the board had incorrectly determine that the disclosure made fell outside the boundaries of the Whistleblower Protection Act as material prohibited by law from being disclosed. The court ordered further proceedings to examine whether, in fact, the particular information disclosed was specifically prohibited by law from being disclosed. MacLean v. Department of Homeland Security, #11-3231, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 8485 (Fed. Cir.).
     A police officer who led the officers' union helped lead the union in criticizing the police chief and holding a vote of no confidence in him. He claimed that the chief delayed his salary increase in retaliation for his First Amendment protected free speech activity. A federal appeals court agreed, finding that the speech involved was on issues of public concern, the police chief's performance of his duties, and the delay in the pay hike could be seen as an adverse employment action. Summary judgment in favor of the chief was reversed on claims against the chief. The appeals court upheld, however, summary judgment on a municipal liability claim. Ellins v. City of Sierra Madre, #11-55213, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 5731 (9th Cir.).
     A number of correctional officers were members of a specialized Special Operations Response Team (SORT) that guarded inmates in the Cook County Jail’s Abnormal Behavioral Observation Unit (ABO). When six violent felons escaped from that unit, an officer confessed to allowing them to escape and named three other officers as either having advance knowledge of the planned escape or asssisting him. The SORT team was disbanded and the plaintiffs were investigated and reassigned. In a lawsuit, they claimed that they had been retaliated against because of their political support for a particular candidate for sheriff. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, noting that there had been probable cause for the investigation, so other motivations for investigating them were less relevant. It was clearly objectively reasonable to conduct an investigation of officers believed to have been involved in a multiple-felon jailbreak. Hernandez v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, #12-1941, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 6417 (7th Cir.).
     Three jail employees claimed that the defendants, who were supervisors or officials at the jail, took retaliatory adverse employment actions against them in violation of their First Amendment rights in response to a parody that only one of them created which suggested that the defendants were corrupt and to the plaintiffs later filing a lawsuit based on the alleged retaliation. A federal appeals court found that none of the conduct for which the plaintiffs claimed to have been retaliate against was protected by the First Amendment as it did not involve matters of public concern, but rather was about their employment and supposed corruption involving preferential hiring and staffing, selective enforcement in matters of employee discipline and other forms of favoritism. Singer v. Ferro, #11-3919, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 6576 (2nd Circuit).
     A county employee claimed that she had been fired from her job as director of the county's 911 department in violation of a state whistleblower protection statute after she questioned the transfer of county funds from the county's ambulance funds and raised concerns about the ambulance service provided to the county. The Michigan Supreme Court held that the plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence so that reasonable people could differ as to the true motivation for eliminating her job. The defendants, therefore, should not be granted summary judgment, Debano-Griffin v. Lake County, #143841, 2013 Mich. Lexis 146.
     Present or former sergeants with the Jersey City Police Department claimed they had been passed over for promotion to lieutenant, despite having passed the civil service exam for the position, in retaliation and for political reasons, based, in part, on the support one of them gave to the mayor's opponent. Summary judgment for the defendants was overturned as the retired sergeant who had supported the mayor's opponent had presented sufficient evidence that the reasons given for her non-promotion may have been pretextual. There was a genuine issue as to whether her political conduct had been a motivating factor on the decision not to promote several other sergaents. Montone v. City of Jersey City, #11-2990, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 4720 (3rd Cir.).
     A Hispanic police officer was promoted to sergeant. He claimed that the department and police chief subsequently failed to promote him to lieutenant and initiated a number of internal affairs investigations into his conduct that were based on his race or national origin. He also claimed that the police chief retaliated against him because he spoke out at a press conference about an incident in which some of the city's officers used excessive force against a Hispanic person, in violation of his First Amendment rights. The court rejected these claims, finding that the officers had failed to show that reasons given for the failure to promote him, such as a pending hearing on misconduct charges, were pretextual, or that discriminator animus motivated the investigations against him. As for the First Amendment retaliation claim, while the appeals court agreed that speaking out concerning alleged excessive use of force by the department against Hispanics was a matter of public concern, the police chief was entitled to qualified immunity from liability.
The court found no evidence that the chief decided not to promote the plaintiff or initiated the investigations against him for any retaliatory reason. Garcia v. Hartford Police Department, #11-4618, 2013 U.S. App. Lexis 1920 (2nd Cir.).
     An employee of a county court clerk's office asserted that her termination by the newly elected clerk was based on her prior candidacy in the primary as the clerk's rival, and therefore unconstitutional under the First Amendment. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, finding that it did not violate the First Amendment. The jobs of deputy court clerks were not protected by civil service, and those in the job lacked a protected property interest in their employment. The court noted that this was not a pure political patronage case nor a pure political affiliation case, since both the newly elected clerk and the terminated employee belonged to the same political party, both being Republicans. The court held that an elected official may fire an immediate subordinate for opposing her in an election without violating the First Amendment if the subordinate, under state or local law, has the same duties and powers as the elected official, as they are the type of confidential employee who can be terminated under applicable U.S. Supreme Court precedents. The clerk had to be able to select a deputy from whom she could expect undivided loyalty even if the day-to-day job did not involve setting policy or the exercise of unlimited discretion. Underwood v. Harkins, #11-13117, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 21788 (11th Cir.).
     An employee of a county detention facility was fired by a federal court-appointed administrator. The administrator was appointed pursuant to a settlement with inmates who sued over the conditions at the facility. He argued that the termination, justified on the basis of budget cuts, was actually motivated by his political affiliation, and was unlawful, in violation of his federal civil rights. The defendant argued that, because he was court appointed, he was entitled to absolute quasi-judicial immunity. A federal appeals court rejected this argument, ruling that terminating an employee is an administrative act which absolute immunity does not apply to. None of the administrator's duties were judicial in nature. "Nor would the administrators of a municipality that has filed for reorganization under Chapter 9 be immune from claims under sec. 1983 if they engaged in patronage hiring." Coleman v. Dunlap, #11-2669. 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 17696, 34 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 321 (7th Cir.).
     Corrections officers claimed that they were unlawfully retaliated against for exercising their First Amendment rights. One of the officers had complained that a superintendent and assistant superintendent had discriminated against him and embarrassed him, while the second filed an EEOC complaint charging race and religious discrimination. Subsequently, they were terminated for disciplinary violations, but the penalties were later reduced to suspensions. Both officers' complaints were of an individualized nature. The First Amendment claims were without merit, as the speech involved concerned the making of complaints about their job duties with their employer's internal grievance procedure, and did not relate to matters of public concern. Brooks v. Arthur, #11-1899, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 13927 (9th Cir.).
     The First Amendment prohibits a public employee union from increasing political activity fees for non-consenting nonmembers who are required to pay certain union dues. The special assessment or dues increase was imposed to raise funds for the political purpose of fighting state efforts to reduce public employee pay. These expenses were not disclosed when the regular assessment was set, so the union should have sent out a special notice to inform the non-members of them and should refrain from collecting such funds without the non-members' consent. Knox v. Service Employees International Union, #10-1121, 132 S. Ct. 2156, 2012 U.S. Lexis 4663.
     After a corrections officer complained to members of the state legislature about a prison holding a rap competition for young prisoners, she was reassigned from a position in the prison's school to a general job with less favorable hours, losing her schedule that gave her holidays and weekends off. A federal appeals court ruled that she had sufficiently alleged facts constituting a First Amendment retaliation claim, since her letter to the legislators involved a matter of public concern. She told the legislators about activities that she believed could offend crime victims and their families, and possibly put prisoners, staff members, and members of the public eventually at risk. Mosholder v. Barnhardt, #10-2586, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9556; 2012 Fed. App. 0132P (6th Cir.).
     Speaking at two union meetings, a police officer voiced several criticisms of department officials. At approximately the same time, he was disciplined for several violations of department policy. Following that, he did not pass a fitness-for-duty evaluation, and the department sought to fire him. Following arbitration, he was suspended rather than terminated. A federal appeals court rejected his retaliation claim. He failed to show that his speech, even if protected, was a motivating factor in the actions taken against him. The adverse employment actions did not follow closely after his speech, and his own deficient job performance was a significant intervening event. Given that the serious deficiencies in his performance justified discipline, he could not point to merely technical deviations from routine procedure to create an inference of unlawful retaliation. Kidwell v. Eisenhauer, #11-1929, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 10233  (7th Cir.).
     After a village fired its village manager, a decision was made to eliminate the position of executive coordinator to the manager. The person holding the job sued, claiming that this violated her First Amendment right of association and friendship with the former manager. The appeals court ruled that the eliminated position was a policymaking and confidential one for which First Amendment protection was not available. Additionally, those who adopted the ordinance abolishing the job were entitled to legislative immunity, no matter what their motivation. The court also stated that it could not find "any appellate decision holding that friendship is a constitutionally impermissible basis of hiring or firing public employees." Benedix v. Village of Hanover Park, #   2012 U.S. App. Lexis 7610 (7th Cir.).
     A police department employee was first involuntarily transferred to a new job and then terminated shortly thereafter. She claimed that this was motivated by retaliation against her for exercising her First Amendment rights in giving deposition testimony under subpoena in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by a former department employee against the city and an assistant police chief. The testimony she gave was adverse to the interests of the assistant police chief. The assistant police chief was not entitled to qualified immunity. The plaintiff spoke on a matter of public concern as a private citizen and there was evidence that retaliation against her for this protected speech motivated her discharge. It was clearly established that a supervisor cannot retaliate against an employee for such testimony. Karl v. City of Mountlake Terrace, #11-35343, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 9311((9th Cir.).
      After a lieutenant lost his election bid to replace the incumbent sheriff, during which he accused the sheriff-coroner of corruption, he was placed on administrative leave and then demoted. In a lawsuit by the ex-lieutenant charging unlawful retaliation in violation of his First Amendment rights, a federal appeals court rejected the sheriff's defense that the plaintiff had been a policymaker and therefore could be dismissed for politically motivated reasons. "Moreover, dismissals on the basis of political considerations must further a 'vital government end' [absent here] because they infringe upon a constitutional right." The court ruled that the sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity from liability, however, in light of the plaintiff's concurrent service as chief of police services for a city under a contract between the city and county. Under these circumstances, the sheriff could have mistakenly believed that political loyalty was required for someone with the lieutenant's job responsibilities. Hunt v. County of Orange,  #10-55163, 2012 U.S. App. Lexis 2815 (9th Cir.).
     After a fire department's diving team was eliminated for budgetary reasons, a boy drowned. An off-duty (and not in uniform) firefighter, who had been a member of the team, was suspended after he spoke at a village council meeting and told them that "A little boy had to die but you guys saved some money" He sued for unlawful retaliation based on his exercise of his First Amendment rights. A federal appeals court rejected the village's defense that the firefighter had "communicated nothing more than 'the quintessential employee beef: management has acted incompetently'." It overturned summary judgment for the village, and ordered further proceedings to determine whether his interest in speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern "outweighed the defendants' interest in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs." Westmoreland v. Sutherland, #10-3766. 662 F.3d 714 (6th Cir. 2011).
     A probationary correctional officer failed to show that she was constructively terminated and compelled to resign in retaliation for her refusal to make false statements to a grand jury, in violation of her First Amendment rights. She had observed a couple arguing outside a home, and had allegedly been pressured by a police detective who was unsatisfied with her statements indicating that what she had observed had not been a battery. He allegedly complained to her employer in an attempt to bully her into changing her story, which she refused to do. She failed to show that the alleged firing was retaliatory, and had no protected interest in staying on the job, given her probationary status. Redd v. Nolan, #10-2680, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 23692 (7th Cir.).
     A county correctional employee was fired for transmitting a sexually explicit image to a subordinate's cell phone, and other charges. A federal appeals court ruled that the pre-termination hearing provided to the employee satisfied due process requirements. He claimed that he was fired in retaliation for having brought a lawyer to represent him at his pre-termination hearing, in violation of his First Amendment right to association. The appeals court rejected this claim, stating that his retention of an attorney did not relate to a matter of public concern. The court relied on Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri, #09-1476, 2011 U.S. Lexis 4564, 131 S. Ct. 2488, holding that when a public employee claims retaliation against them based on the exercise of the First Amendment right to petition the government, they must show their actions related to a matter of public concern, The appeals court found that the same reasoning applied to First Amendment association claims. Merrifield v. County of Santa Fe, #10-2175, 654 F.3d 1073 (10th Cir. 2011).
     Employees of a municipal fire department claimed that they were passed over for promotion because of a pattern of cronyism and nepotism in the department. They argued that this had risen to the level of political discrimination and that they were passed over for promotions because they chose not to associate themselves with "politically -powerful" members of the department. The appeals court upheld the rejection of this claim, finding that this associational choice of theirs did not amount to political or other constitutionally protected conduct. "The simple fact that one is a friend or relative of a powerful person does not create a political association implicating First Amendment concerns." Barry v. Moran, #10-1607, 661 F.3d 696 (1st Cir. 2011).
     A deputy sheriff called into a talk radio program and stated that the current sheriff was not a good fit for the job. In response, the sheriff called in and replied that the deputy was a "slacker," and made statements about the deputy's disciplinary record, saying it involved sexual harassment of another employee, when it actually involved violation of a rule against offensive conduct or language. The deputy sued the sheriff for unlawful retaliation against him for exercising his First Amendment rights in criticizing the sheriff. A federal appeals court rejected this claim, because "(w)e cannot afford one party his right to free speech while discounting the rights of the other party." The appeals court also rejected claims that the sheriff, in making the statements about the deputy's alleged disciplinary record, violated Wisconsin laws concerning privacy and open public records. The open records statute did not apply, as there was no actual release of a public record. As for privacy, the court found that there was no genuine public interest in keeping the record of the concluded disciplinary investigation closed to the public.  Hutchins v. Clarke, #10-2661, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 21475  (7th Cir.)
     A correctional facility training officer married a coworker who was subsequently promoted to superintendent. A union representing correctional officers at the facility was concerned about possible nepotism issues arising out of the marriage. The training officer was subsequently fired after he brought a gun to work, but was later reinstated, after which the wife was transferred to a correctional institution in another city. The couple sued the department for unlawful retaliation interfering with their First Amendment right of association. A federal appeals court upheld the denial of qualified immunity to the defendants, stating that "monogamous, rather than adulterous, relationships deserve constitutional protection." Gaspers v. Ohio Department of Youth Services, #09–3829, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 16129 (6th Cir.).
     A probationary officer was entitled to First Amendment protection against retaliatory termination for his refusal to comply with orders to make false statements, retract his earlier truthful report, and make a new report concealing a co-worker's alleged use of excessive force. His claim was not barred by Garcetti v. Ceballos, #04-473, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), or Weintraub v. Board of Education, 593 F.3d 196 (2d Cir.) , cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 444 (2010), since he was not just doing his job in disobeying orders from the chief of police and other top administrators. Jackler v. Byrne, #10-0859, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 15265 (2nd Cir.).
     A police chief who was fired won his job back through union arbitration, and was subsequently subjected to a variety of restrictions concerning how to do his duties by the borough council. He sued the borough under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, arguing that his collective bargaining grievance constituted a "petition" protected by the provision in the First Amendment concerning the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. He further claimed that the restrictions imposed were unlawful retaliation for his exercise of his First Amendment rights, and that his request for overtime pay was also denied in retaliation for his filing of the lawsuit.. A federal appeals court ruled that the "public concern" test applicable to First Amendment cases brought by public employees does not apply to claims brought under the petition clause. The U.S. Supreme Court disagreed, holding that a public employee's exercise of rights under either the free speech or petition clauses must involve a matter of public concern to be protected. The petition clause does not create "a right to transform everyday employment disputes into matters for constitutional litigation in the federal courts." The appeals court decision upholding jury awards of damages for the police chief was therefore vacated. Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri, #09-1476, 2011 U.S. Lexis 4564.
     An officer failed to show that she was retaliated against for protected speech in violation of the First Amendment. Her "war stories" concerning limited harassment by a trainer almost ten years earlier had, at most, a "minimal bearing" on matters of public concern, and the stories were communicated only to an audience of one with the apparent intention of entertaining a co-worker, rather than "illuminating governmental deficiencies." On the other hand, the trial court acted improperly in granting summary judgment against the officer on her sexual discrimination claim against a trainer who allegedly filed a complaint subjecting her to a prolonged investigation and allegedly made statements referring to her as a "cunt" and "dike." Conklin v. City of Reno, #10-15482, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 9763 (Unpub. 9th Cir.).
     Even though a candidate for chief of police won his election, he sued his opponent for violation of his federal civil rights, as well as claims under state law, for allegedly interfering with his right to seek public office. A federal court dismissed the federal claims as frivolous, and sent the other claims to state court. The U.S. Supreme Court held that reasonable attorneys' fees could be awarded to the defendant under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1988, but only for costs that the defendant would not have incurred "but for the frivolous claims." Fox v. Vice, #10-144, 2011 U.S. Lexis 4182.
     An African-American police officer failed to show that she was dismissed in retaliation for opposing discrimination, as protected under Title VII or New Jersey state law. Her complaints about certain alleged violations of departmental regulations - such as another officer's transfer, officers' smoking on site, and the practice of sending one-officer units to two-officer areas did not involve practices made unlawful under the statutes at issue, and did not constitute protected activity. Her reports to her supervisors about being called a "pain" also did not involve criticism based on her race or gender. Davis v. City of Newark, #10-4365, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 4903 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     A police officer who alleged that he was fired because he made comments on the Internet concerning firearms and criticizing the borough council could pursue a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit. He contended that his discussions and research on the weapons issues were carried out on his own time, and that the issues involved concerned the safety of police officers, and whether officers had sufficient weaponry. If true, then he spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern, which would constitute protected First Amendment activity for which he could not be fired. Beyer v. Duncannon Borough, #10-3042, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 7793 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
     Affirming a deputy sheriff's termination, a verbal confrontation with the sheriff is not protected by the First Amendment. Dahl v. Rice County, #09-1210, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 19064 (8th Cir.).
     A lawsuit filed by a reserve officer challenging a General Order that altered the governance of the D.C. Police Reserve Corps implicates a "matter of political, social, or other concern to the community." LeFande v. Dist. of Columbia, #09-7080, 613 F.3d 1155, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15159 (D.C. Cir.).
     Eighth Circuit rejects a Title VII retaliation and First Amendment action brought by an Omaha police auditor who fired after she had published a report that was critical of Omaha police practices. She was not speaking as a citizen, and Title VII does not prohibit retaliation for criticizing discriminatory police tactics. Bonn v. City of Omaha, #09-3332, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 21486 (8th Cir.).
     Eleventh Circuit upholds a suit brought by a District Attorney's investigator who had been terminated because he was seeking election to the county commission, in opposition to the District Attorney's husband. The D.A. was entitled to qualified immunity in her personal capacity, but not in her official capacity. Randall v. Scott, #09-12862, 610 F.3d 701, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 13377 (11th Cir.).
     There is a five-part test in actions brought by public employees who allege a First Amendment violation: (1) Whether the employee spoke pursuant to his official duties. (2) Whether the subject of the speech was a matter of public concern. (3) Whether the employee's interest in commenting on the issue outweighed the interest of the employer. (4) The employee must prove that his speech was a substantial or a motivating factor in a detrimental employment decision, and if so, (5) The employer may demonstrate that it would have taken the same action against the employee, even in the absence of the protected speech. Deutsch v. Jordan, #09-8042, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17677 (10th Cir.).
    Tenth Circuit concludes that it was unlawful for the Utah Highway Patrol Assn. to construct 12-ft. high Latin style crosses on public land in memory of fallen state troopers. The memorials were inspired by military cemeteries, and were designed by Mormons (which is a religion that does not use the cross as a religious symbol). “This case involves memorials using a Latin cross, which “is unequivocally a symbol of the Christian faith... [and] there is little doubt that Utah would violate the Establishment Clause if it allowed a private group to place a permanent unadorned twelve-foot cross on public property without any contextual or historical elements that served to secularize the message conveyed by such a display.” American Atheists, Inc. v. Duncan, #08-4061, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 17249 (10th Cir.).
     The various complaints of two police sergeants against their lieutenant were not entitled to First Amendment protection. Poor interpersonal relationships among coworkers are not matters of public concern. “To transform every workplace squabble ... would be to trivialize the great principles of free expression the First Amendment embodies.” Desrochers v. City of San Bernardino, #07-56773, 572 F.3d 703, 29 IER Cases (BNA) 645 (9th Cir.).
Rejecting a freedom of association argument, the 11th Circuit dismisses the suit of a demoted firefighter who had an extramarital affair with one of his subordinates. The relationship between supervisors and subordinates is critical to the effective functioning of the fire department. Starling v. Bd. of Co. Cmsnrs., #09-11168, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 7091 (11th Cir.).      Nebraska Supreme Court overturns an arbitration award that reinstated a state patrol officer who had joined the Knights Party, a Ku Klux Klan affiliated racist organization. "Nebraska public policy precludes an individual from being reinstated to serve as a sworn officer in a law enforcement agency if that individual’s service would severely undermine reasonable public perception that the agency is uniformly committed to the equal enforcement of the law and that each citizen of Nebraska can depend on law enforcement officers to enforce the law without regard to race." State v. Henderson, #S-07-010, 277 Neb. 240, 2009 Neb. App. Lexis 28.
     Police officer who was transferred and suspended for 15 days sued the commissioner, claiming that he was disciplined more harshly because he had pleaded “not guilty” and opted to challenge the charges against him before the Board of Inquiry. A federal appeals panel has held that a plea of not guilty is not protected speech under the First Amendment. While “lawsuits and grievances directed at a government employer or public officials ... are protected petitions under the First Amendment, even where they only address matters of private concern,” merely entering a plea is not protected because it is a response, and not the initiation of legal proceedings. Hannan v. City of Philadelphia, #07-4548, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 829 (Unpub. 3rd Cir.).
    Seventh Circuit overturns a $240,000 verdict awarded to a Cook County Sheriff's employee. Filing a police report is not a matter of public concern, and an "internal complaint ... is an obvious form of speech made pursuant to official duties under the Garcetti standard; it would require mental gymnastics to see it otherwise." Houskins v. Sheahan, #06-2283, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 24158 (7th Cir.).
      Although the filing of a grievance is a constitutionally protected activity under the First Amendment’s Petition Clause, a plaintiff also must present evidence that would allow a jury find that the filing of the grievance was a substantial motivating factor in the decision to impose discipline. Viola v. Bor. of Throop, #3:06cv1930, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 88176; prior ruling at 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 59470 (M.D. Pa.).
     Tenth Circuit rejects a suit brought by a former county employee, claiming that she was fired for her refusal to testify before the state legislature. The county proved that her position was unnecessary and that it was not re-staffed after her termination. Benton v. Adams County, #08-1089, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 25414 (Unpub. 10th Cir.).
    First Circuit recognizes a claim that superiors retaliated against a detective sergeant for his failure to participate in a council recall election. Reassigning him to another division was an adverse personnel action because he lost an additional stipend that accompanied the detective sergeant position as well as an opportunity to earn overtime. Welch v. Ciampa, #07-2470, 542 F.3d 927, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20485, 28 IER Cases (BNA) 295 (1st Cir.).
     Appellate panel rejects a suit filed by an at-will probation officer who was fired after she wrote a letter to a judge that was critical of her supervisor. The letter was a personal grievance, not a matter of public concern. Miller v. Clinton County, #07-2105, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 20682 (3rd Cir.).
     Federal court holds that a terminated Kentucky homeland security civil servant must establish with evidence that her Democratic affiliation was a substantial or motivating factor in the decision to terminate her. And if she meets that burden, to avoid liability, the defendants need to show that they would have fired her anyway, even if she were a Republican. Back v. Hall, #07-5934/07-5935, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 17057 (6th Cir.).
     Third Circuit concludes that "truthful trial testimony arising out of the employee's official responsibilities constitutes protected speech," spoken as a citizen, and the Garcetti decision does not apply. The plaintiff had been disciplined for testifying in a trial against another officer. Reilly v. City of Atlantic City, #06-2591, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 13808 (3rd Cir.).
     Fifth Circuit finds that there was no evidence to find that the plaintiff was terminated from his county job because he sought election as a county commissioner. Rather he was fired for violating county policies against political campaigning activities while working and under other limited circumstances. James v. Texas Collin County, #07-40566, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 14902 (5th Cir.).
     First Circuit rejects a civil rights claim filed by a police officer who alleged that his superiors violated his First Amendment and due process rights when he was assigned to new job duties, purportedly in retaliation for filing a lawsuit against them in a local court. The right to file lawsuits is not an absolute First Amendment right and his suit for labor harassment" suit did not address a matter of public concern. Rosado-Quinones v. Toledo, #07-1425, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 11835 (1st Cir.).
     Seventh Circuit overturns a judgment for $210,000 in compensatory and $150,000 in punitive damages, awarded to a State Police lieutenant that was laterally transferred because of his criticism of a case and filing an internal complaint. His statements and reports were made pursuant to his official duties, and not as a citizen. Callahan v. Fermon, #05-4313, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 10800 (7th Cir.).
     Federal court holds that city police officers that are fired for cooperating in a state investigation lack First Amendment protection. Unlike citizens, they have a duty to cooperate. Cheek v. City of Edwardsville, #06-2210, 514 F.Supp.2d 1220, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 63097 (D.Kan.).
     Following the Supreme Court's 5-4 holding in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), the Second Circuit rejects a retaliation lawsuit filed by a NYPD sergeant after he wrote a report about health concerns at his precinct. He was required to prepare the report in his role as the precinct Safety Officer, and was not writing as a citizen. Ruotolo v. City of New York, #06-3886, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 2551.
     A detective filed an I-A complaint and informed the mayor that other detectives had "filed false or misleading affidavits" in support of search warrants. He was demoted to the patrol division, resigned, and sued for First Amendment violations. The Seventh Circuit rejected his claims. "Because [he] was responsible for the operations of the narcotics unit, his speech regarding alleged misconduct that may affect his unit was made pursuant to his official responsibilities, and not as a private citizen, despite not having explicit responsibility for the detectives involved or the search warrants at issue." Vose v. Kliment, #07-1792, 506 F.3d 565, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 25136 (7th Cir.).
     Federal court finds that a sheriff and a captain violated the "Establishment of Religion" clause of the First Amendment when they "invited representatives of a Christian organization to present a proselytizing Christian message to deputies at meetings held at the workplace during working hours, which deputies were required to attend, and conveyed a message of endorsement of the presentations. The effect of defendants' actions was to promote religion and to do so coercively." Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs Assn. v. Clarke, # 06-C-602, 513 F.Supp.2d 1014, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 71454, 101 FEP Cases (BNA) 1519 (E.D. Wis.).
     Supreme Court declines to review a Seventh Circuit ruling that vacated a $210,000 verdict in favor of a corrections officer. She had alleged retaliatory action after she complained that she was stopped from searching a vehicle that two senior prison officials used to leave the facility. Her complaint about prison security was not protected under the First Amendment because of the Supreme Court's decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410, 126 S.Ct. 1951 (2006). Spiegla v. Hull, #05-3722, 481 F.3d 961, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 7396, 25 IER Cases (BNA) 1508 (7th Cir.); cert. den. #07-273, 2007 U.S. Lexis 11650.
     Eleventh Circuit holds that the termination of a chief jailer after her testimony about jail conditions was pursuant to her duties as public employee rather than as citizen on a matter of public concern. The First Amendment did not protect her testimony, and the sheriff has qualified immune from her §1983 claim. Supreme Court denies review. Green v. Barrett, #06-15104, 226 Fed. Appx. 883, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 6200 (11th Cir.); cert den. #07-177, 2007 U.S. Lexis 11550 (2007).
     The job responsibilities of a corrections officer include reporting inmate complaints to his superiors, and are not protected by the First Amendment. Wesolowski v. Bockelman, #1:05-CV-0321, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 64806 (N.D.N.Y.).
     Eighth Circuit finds that the sheriff in St. Paul, MN, retaliated against officers for their First Amendment conduct by transferring them from supervisory positions into positions with significantly less responsibility and causing them to lose overtime pay and access to take-home vehicles because of their campaign activities. Shockency v. Ramsey County, #06-3094, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 16587 (8th Cir.).
     Sixth Circuit rejects a claim that the plaintiff was terminated because of his protected activity as union president; management discharged him for submitting inaccurate time sheets. The panel concluded that his union activity did not implicate a matter of public concern. Van Compernolle v. City of Zeeland, #06-1904, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 16735 (6h Cir.) affirming, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 32963 (W.D. Mich. 2006).
     Appellate court rejects retaliation claims filed by police officers that alleged anti-union bias. The failure to promote action was seven months after participation in a union's petition drive. Harvey v. City of Rio Rancho, #06-2278, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 18010 (10th Cir.).
     First Circuit holds that a website posting of an allegedly unlawfully taped police episode was protected by the First Amendment. Jean v. Massachusetts State Police, #06-1775, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 14813 (1st Cir.).
     Nebraska trial court overturns an arbitration award that reinstated a state trooper that was fired for his active membership in the Klan. State of Nebraska v. Henderson, Lancaster Co. Nebr. Dist. Ct.; Nebr. Ct. App. #A-07-000010 (Appeal pending).
     Fifth Circuit upholds the termination of a county nurse that was fired for calling the Secret Service to report a mental patient's threats against the President. Her termination did not violate the First Amendment because the patient was delusional, she violated by hospital's confidentiality policy, and the facility's doctor was in a better position to assess the gravity of the threat and to decide whether the Secret Service should be notified. Davis v. Allen Parish, #06-30017, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 31119 (5th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     Federal court refuses to dismiss a First amendment claim brought by furloughed city workers who claimed that the mayor retaliated against them for their political activities by not rehiring them. Cochran v. City of Huntington, #1:05-CV-249, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 71873, prior ruling at 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 39516 (N.D. Ind., 2006). {N/R}
     Federal court dismisses a suit by a nurse who lost her job after prison authorities denied her entry privileges for breaking a rule. Cunningham v. New Jersey, #03-4970, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 68789 (D.N.J. 2006). [2006 FP Dec]
     Whether a public employee's First Amendment actions were sufficiently disruptive of the office, was a question that was properly submitted to the jury. Weaver v. Chavez, #04-2110, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 20539 (10th Cir. 2006). {N/R}
     New York City's termination of a police officer and firefighters for participating in a parade float that mocked African-American stereotypes are upheld by the Second Circuit. Locurto v. Giuliani, #04-6480, 447 F.3d 159, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 10748 (2nd Cir. 2006). [2006 FP Aug]
     Eleventh Circuit upholds the firing of three Florida deputy sheriffs for engaging in sexually explicit conduct, available for "pay-per-view" on the Internet, and without obtaining approval for off-duty employment. Thaeter v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, #03-13177, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 13308 (11th Cir. 2006). [2006 FP Aug]
    Federal appeals court rejects a suit by a prison chaplain who was disciplined after refusing to allow a gay inmate to lead the choir during a Protestant service. Akridge v. Wilkinson, #05-3015, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 10671 (Unpub. 6th Cir. 2006), affirming 351 F.Supp.2d 750. [2006 FP Jul]
     Supreme Court declines to review a holding that struck down a California law making it a misdemeanor to knowingly file a false complaint against a peace officer. Agencies in the Ninth Circuit have been advised by counsel to remove any language from internal complaint forms that warn a citizen that he or she can be prosecuted for making a false complaint. Chaker v. Crogan, #03-56885, 428 F.3d 1215, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 23728 (9th Cir. 2005); cert. den., #05-1118, 2006 U.S. Lexis 3900 (2006). [2006 FP Jul]
     Fourth Circuit upholds a gubernatorial order banning state workers from giving interviews to two Baltimore reporters. Publishers and journalists have no greater rights to access than members of the public. Baltimore Sun v. Ehrlich, #05-1297, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 3581 (4th Cir. 2006), affirming 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2082 (D.Md. 2005). [2006 FP Apr]
     A federal court in Manhattan has ruled that a denial of Emeritus status to a professor is not an "adverse employment action" even if it was in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights. The honorary title conferred no benefits; all retired professors enjoyed office and telephone privileges. Zelnick v. Fashion Institute of Technology, #03 CV 8210 (Unreported, S.D.N.Y. 2005). {N/R}
     Florida Supreme Court strikes down a law prohibiting the wearing of clothing marked with words 'police', 'sheriff', etc. Sult v. State of Florida, #SC03-542, 894 So.2d 969,2005 Fla. Lexis 1343 (2005). [2005 FP Oct]
     Judge jails a N.Y. Times reporter who wrote about the outing of an undercover CIA agent and subsequently refused to disclose her source to a federal grand jury. Miller v. U.S., 125 S.Ct. 2977, 2005 U.S. Lexis 5190 and Cooper v. U.S., 125 S.Ct. 2977, 2005 U.S. Lexis 5191 (2005), relating to the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (50 U.S. Code §421); also see In re Grand Jury Subpoena, #04-3138, 405 F.3d 17 (D.C. Cir. 2005) and In re Special Proceedings, 373 F.3d 37 (1st Cir. 2004). [2005 FP Sep]
     Litigants and counsel have few, if any, First Amendment rights in a courtroom. "The courtroom is a nonpublic forum ... where the First Amendment rights of everyone ... are at their constitutional nadir." Mezibov v. Allen, #03-3973, 2005 FED App. 0264P, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 11341 (6th Cir. 2005). {N/R}
     Eighth Circuit affirms a refusal to dismiss a lawsuit alleging retaliatory action. Although the sheriff said that he had demoted a sergeant for improper handling of a traffic citation, the plaintiff claimed that it was in retaliation for filing a lawsuit challenging the sheriff's promotional procedures. Powell v. Johnson, #04-1684, 405 F.3d 652, 22 IER Cases (BNA) 1443, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 7505 (8th Cir. 2005). [2005 FP Jul]
     Federal court upholds a gubernatorial order banning state workers from giving interviews to two Baltimore reporters. Publishers and journalists have no greater rights to access than members of the public. The Sun v. Ehrlich, #1:04-cv-03822, 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2082 (D.Md. 2005), citing Snyder v. Ringgold, #97-1358, 1998 WL 13528, 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 562, 26 Media L. Rep. 1249 (Unpub. 4th Cir. 1998) and Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, at 684-85 (1972). [2005 FP Apr.]
     The Supreme Court upholds the termination of a San Diego police officer who sold masturbation videotapes of himself in a generic police uniform. City of San Diego v. Roe, #03-1669, 2004 U.S. Lexis 8165 (2004). [2005 FP Feb]
     Fire dept's insurance carrier pays $9,000 to a motorist who flipped his middle finger at the fire chief, resulting in his arrest for disorderly conduct. Though vulgar, the gesture was protected by the First Amendment. Dickinson v. Bor. of Sewickley, Pa., #04-CV-602 (W.D.Pa. 2004). {N/R}
     Appellate court affirms the dismissal of a police sergeant's First Amendment suit for retaliation, based on the his testimony at a public hearing, because the content of testimony was not a matter of public concern. Kirby v. City of Elizabeth City, #03-2035, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 17877 (4th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     New Jersey appellate court affirms an order by the state's Public Employment Relations Cmsn. directing the sheriff to cease and desist from reassigning and suspending a deputy in retaliation for his questioning negotiations unit members about drug testing. The disciplinary actions taken constituted an unfair practice because of the sheriff's hostility his inquiries. Middlesex Co. Sheriff v. Eckel, #A-57-02T2, 30 NJPER 89, 2004 NJPER (LRP) Lexis 84 (N.J. App.Div. 2004); prior decis. Eckel v. Middlesex Co. Sheriff, 2003 WL 2367588 (N.J. App.Div. 2003). {N/R}
     Eighth Circuit finds that having a prayer session at a mandatory training program was a decisive endorsement of religion, and violated the First Amendment rights of a public employee who objected to the prayers. The appeals panel directed the trial court to widen the injunctive relief to include training sessions of other public employees, even if the plaintiff was not present. "...we believe that it is the government's endorsement of a particular religious message that constitutes the constitutional violation here, not the effects of official prayers on [the plaintiff's] psyche. Warnock v. Archer, #02-3322, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 17938 (8th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Federal court in Connecticut refuses to grant injunctive relief to corrections officers facing disciplinary action for their membership in the Outlaws motorcycle gang. Piscottano v. Murphy, #3:04cv682, 317 F.Supp.2d 97, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8614 (D. Conn. 2004). [2004 FP Sep]
     Second Circuit holds that there was an insufficient connection between the adverse employment action suffered and the plaintiffs' protected speech to establish a retaliation claim under the First Amendment. Washington v. County of Rockland, #02-7929, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 12845 (2d Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     First Circuit holds that police officials failed to demonstrate that they were entitled to qualified immunity from retaliation claims of investigators who claimed that they were discharged or denied benefits because of their investigation of government corruption. Rivera-Jiménez v. Pierluisi, #02-2439, 362 F.3d 87, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 5773, 21 IER Cases (BNA) 160 (1st Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     California Public Employment Relations Board judge rules that management violated state law by placing an administrator on leave and then demoting her, because she testified in support of two subordinate workers at a grievance hearing, resulting in a back pay award. Cal. State Employees Assn. v. Dept. of Consumer Affairs, #SA-CE-1385-S, 2004 PERC (LRP) Lexis 48, 28 PERC 98 (PERB 2004). [2004 FP Aug]
     Federal appeals court rejects the retaliation lawsuit of a police lieutenant who claimed he was transferred to light duty because he gave negative testimony about the chief of police in another officer's civil rights trial. The lieutenant did not suffer an adverse employment action because his lost pay and benefits were retroactively restored. Mylett v. City of Corpus Christi, #03-40774, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 8729 (5th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     An en banc Fifth Circuit votes 10 to 5 to allow a damage suit against police chiefs, sheriffs, their cities and counties, and a regional chiefs assn. for boycotting the classes of two police academy instructors who testified against a police officer in a use of force case. Kinney v. Weaver, #00-40557, 367 F.3d 337, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 7436 (5th Cir. en banc 2004). [2004 FP Jul]
     Massachusetts holds that management must bargain with the union before ordering the removal of union buttons from their uniforms, where officers have worn those buttons for many years without adverse consequences. The bargaining requirement does not apply to non-union pins or accoutrements. Sheriff of Worcester Co. v. Labor Relations Cmsn., #01-P-1628, 60 Mass. App. Ct. 632, 805 N.E.2d 46, 2004 Mass. App. Lexis 284 (2004). [2004 FP Jul]
     A divided federal appeals court panel concludes that the First Amendment protects an off-duty police officer, who sold videotapes of himself stripping out of uniform and masturbating. Roe v. City of San Diego, #02-55164, 356 F.3d 1108, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 1330 (9th Cir. 2004). [2004 FP Apr]
     Federal appeals court rejects a retaliation lawsuit filed by a state police captain who claims he was denied a promotion and given an unwanted assignment because he broke the chain of command by bypassing his major, and informing a lieutenant-colonel that the FBI was investigating a trooper for bribery. The captain had no reason to believe his superiors were involved in the scheme, and there was no justification for circumventing a regulation that required all members to inform their immediate supervisor of any knowledge of misconduct by a department member. Ober v. Evanko, #02-3725, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 23040 (3rd Cir. 2003). [2004 FP Feb]
     Federal appeals court holds that a police report, revealing misconduct of a fellow officer, is protected "speech" and addressed a matter of public concern. Their terminations violated the First Amendment. Taylor v. Chief of Police Keith, No. 01-6460, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 15602, 2003 FED App. 0270P (6th Cir. 2003). [2003 FP Nov]
     Arbitrator holds that a public employees' union may post "generic" employment information on workplace bulletin boards, but not "internal" membership information. Naval Inventory Control Point and AFGE L-1156, 118 LA (BNA) 695 (Pritzker, 2002). [2003 FP Oct]
     Federal appeals court holds that management did not violate clearly established First Amendment law in suspending a police officer for his hornblowing activities during a municipal ceremony. The disruption was not speech or conduct related to a matter of public concern. Meaney v. Dever, #02-1783, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 7505 (1st Cir. 2003). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court overturns a District Court order that the CIA was required to release classified matter to a former employee that sued the agency for supposedly misclassifying as his proposed book as containing state secrets. Stillman v. C.I.A., #02-5234, 319 F.3d 546, 2003 U.S. App. Lexis 3437 (D.C. Cir. 2003). {N/R}
     Federal appeals court reinstates a damage action brought by a firefighter who was subjected to an I-A investigation and transferred to an undesirable assignment after criticizing firefighter safety gear. Darmanin v. S.F. Fire Dept., #00-16102, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 19676 (Unpub. 9th Cir. 2002). [2002 FP Dec]
     Federal Court in New York refuses to dismiss a wrongful termination suit. Plaintiff was promptly and pretextually fired after testifying against the county in another lawsuit. Catletti v. County of Orange, #01 Civ 8530, 207 F.Supp.2d 225, 2002 U.S. Dist. Lexis 11326 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). [2002 FP Nov]
     Opening a city council meeting "in the name of Jesus Christ" violated the Religion clause of the First Amendment. Rubin v. City of Burbank, #B148288, 124 Cal.Rptr.2d 867, 2002 Cal. App. Lexis 4619 (Cal.App. 2d Dist. 2002). {N/R}
     A divided Fifth Circuit allows a damage suit against police chiefs, sheriffs, and their cities and counties for boycotting the classes of two police academy instructors who testified against a police officer in a use of force case. Kinney v. Weaver, #00-40557, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 15349 (5th Cir. 2002). [2002 Oct. FP]
     First Amendment Related California appellate court holds that a youth, who drew a painting of him shooting a particular Chico Police officer, is protected speech, and overturned a conviction for making a criminal threat. In re Ryan D., #C035092, 209 F.Supp.2d 319, 2002 Cal. App. Lexis 4453 (Cal. App. 3d Dist. 2002). [2002 FP Oct]
     Third Circuit affirms injunction against a police chief who required subordinates to obtain his approval before appearing as an expert witness in civil or criminal cases, even if uncompensated. Swartzwelder v. McNeilly, #01-1085, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 14556 (3rd Cir. 2002). [2002 FP Sep]
    Federal appeals court affirms the dismissal of a suit brought by a former sergeant, who alleged that he was demoted because of his membership in a controversial motorcycle club. There was no evidence the demotion, based on valid rule violations, was pretextual to punish him for his associational activities, or that the sheriff had been improperly influenced by the sergeant's superiors. Strahan v. Kirkland, #01-15493, 287 F.3d 821, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 7214 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 FP Jul]
     A Chief Deputy Probation Officer, who claimed retaliation after he filed a discrimination lawsuit, did not suffer any "adverse personnel action" when his superior limited his duties. "... minor shifts in employment responsibility did not significantly alter the conditions of [the plaintiff's] employment." Duffy v. McPhillips, #01-1747, 276 F.3d 988, 87 FEP Cases (BNA) 1461, 2002 U.S. App. Lexis 554 (8th Cir. 2002). [N/R]
     Federal court refuses to dismiss a suit that management punished a police captain because she had testified, under subpoena, on behalf of a subordinate who was indicted for brutality to a suspect. Dooley v. City of Philadelphia, #99- 2764, 153 F.Supp.2d 628, 2001 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7437 (E.D. Pa. 2001). [2001 FP 168-9]
     Although an officer had testified against his superior at a grand jury, his termination was justified because he used excessive force in arresting a suspect while on his off-duty security job. Gonzales v. Dallas County, #00-10046, 249 F.3d 406, 2001 U.S. App. Lexis 8088, 143 Lab. Cas. (CCH) P59,213 (5th Cir. 2001). [2001 FP 102-3]
     Federal appeals court rejects suit by an activist who was banned from a city facility because of her rude and disruptive behavior. Mcafee v. Deale, #99-2361, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 21411 (4th Cir.). [2000 FP 170]
     Federal appeals court rejects a First Amendment claim by a police union steward that her notices were removed from a stationhouse bulletin board. Kuchenreuther v. City of Milwaukee, #99-3611, 221 F.3d 967, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 17441 (7th Cir.). [2000 FP 152-3]
     Federal court refuses to dismiss suit of ex-officer who claimed he was fired for cohabitation. Marcum v. Catron, 70 F.Supp.2d 728, 1999 U.S. Dist. Lexis 21005 (E.D.Ky.). [2000 FP 71-2]
     Federal appeal court holds that the termination of a public employee because his wife had filed a lawsuit against public officials violates the First Amendments right to have intimate associations. Adler v. Pataki, 185 F.3d 35, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 16687, 15 IER Cases (BNA) 490 (2nd Cir.). [2000 FP 53-4]
     Federal appeals court upholds right of a rival organization of minority police officers to march in parades and use department facilities to post notices and recruit members. Latino Ofcrs. Assn. v. City of N.Y., #99-7657, 196 F.3d 458, 15 IER Cases (BNA) 1249, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 29970 (2nd Cir.). [2000 FP 9-10]
     A retaliatory lowering of promotion scores for exercising their First Amendment rights is a federal Civil Rights violation, even if no one else was promoted. Plaintiffs did not have to show actual economic harm. Suppan v. Dadonna, #98-2129, 203 F.3d 228, 2000 U.S. App. Lexis 1443, 68 Law Week 1474 (3d Cir. 2000). {N/R}
     A reprimand of a deputy sheriff for appearing on TV in uniform without the sheriff's approval did not violate the First Amendment. Belch v. Jefferson Co., 108 F.Supp.2d 143. {N/R}
     Federal court in MN sets aside discipline imposed on corrections officers who, during a sexual orientation training session, protested the content by bible-reading. Altman v. Minn. Dept. of Corrections, #98-CV-1075, 1999 U.S. Dist. Lexis 14897, 80 FEP Cases (BNA) 1166 (D. Minn., 8/9/99). [1999 FP 152-3]
     Federal appeals court upholds a claim against a fire chief, who allegedly assaulted a captain for having a political sign on his car. Coady v. Steil, #98-3569, 187 F.3d 727, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 18655 (7th Cir.). [1999 FP 152-3]
     An unsuccessful woman candidate for Texas Ranger loses her federal appeal; she failed to show that she had participated in any activities for which she had been denied a pro-motion. The fact others may have mistaken her for an active feminist offered no First Amendment protection. Steadman v. Texas Rangers, #97-20862, 179 F.3d 360, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 14972, 15 IER Cases (BNA) 404. [1999 FP 153-4]
     Divided appellate court affirms arbitration award reinstating a corrections officer who flew a Nazi flag at his home. Arbitration bet. N.Y. St. Law Enf. Off. Union and New York, 255 A.D.2d 54, 694 N.Y.S.2d 170, 161 LRRM (BNA) 2268, 1999 N.Y.App.Div. Lexis 4424. [1999 FP 101-2]
     Although management can generally deny a noncertified employee assn. the privilege of using its bulletin boards, a federal court in NYC has held that management may not withhold the privilege because of the content of the messages. Latino Ofcrs. Assn. v. City of N.Y., 1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2018 (S.D.N.Y.). [1999 FP 72]
     Federal appeals court reverses a trial judge who had overturned a ban on the use of state computers to access porn sites on the Internet. Urofsky v. Allen, #98-1481, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 1937, 167 F.3d 191, 14 IER Cases (BNA) 1386 (4th Cir.). [1999 FP 56]
     Private sector worker who was fired because she had testified against police officers, could sue the city manager who had pressured her superior to terminate her. Helvey v. City of Maplewood, #97-2474, 154 F.3d 841, 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 21481, 14 IER Cases (BNA) 559 (8th Cir.). [1999 FP 40-1]
     NYC Police officer and two firefighters are terminated for their appearance on a racially-offensive Labor Day parade float. City of N.Y. v. Steiner, Walters, and Locurto (1998). [1999 FP 23]
     Federal appeals court affirms the termination of a corrections officer because of his Klan membership activities. Weicherding v. Riegel, #97-3991, 160 F.3d 1139, 1998 U.S. App. Lexis 28216. [1999 FP 8-9]
     Police chief did not violate an officer's rights when he read entries in his personal diary, or in retaining the diary for 3 months while evaluating the officer's fitness. Entries concerning other officers did not implicate a matter of "public concern" for the purpose of First Amendment protections. Verri v. Nanna, 972 F.Supp. 773 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). {N/R}
     Federal court enjoins transit authority's ban of union buttons on uniformed N.Y. Transit Authority employees. Scott v. Goodman, 961 F.Supp. 424 (E.D.N.Y. 1997). [1998 FP 22]
     Detectives who were demoted for supporting a fellow officer on trial for criminal charges did not have a basis under the 1st Am. to contest their reductions. Professional friendship between officers is not protected by the Amendment and this was not a matter of public concern. McCusker v. Atlantic City, 959 F.Supp. 669 (D.N.J. 1997). {N/R}
     Arbitrator reinstates corrections officer who was suspended for flying a Nazi flag at his home. Albany NY Times-Union, Page B-2 (6/25/97). [1997 FP 167]; affirmed, 1999 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 4424.
     Internet indecency law struck down by the Supreme Court. Reno v. ACLU, 117 S.Ct. 2329 (1997). {N/R}
     Ninth Circuit applies a "public concern" test to grievances and litigation brought by public employees, similar to that required in Free Speech cases. Even if a subject of public concern, an employee is not entitled to disrupt the workplace and create dissension. Rendish v. City of Tacoma, 97 Cal.Dly.Op.Srv. 6622, 1997 U.S.App. Lexis 22247 (9th Cir.). [1997 FP 151-2]
     Appellate court upholds termination of NYPD officer who posed in the nude for compensation; she also used her uniform without permission in the display. The fact male officers who have engaged in sexual misconduct were not fired was inapplicable here. Shaya-Castro v. N.Y.C. Police Dept., 649 N.Y.S.2d 711 (A.D. 1996). [1997 FP 57]
     Vendor drops suit challenging the National Fire Academy's ban of on-campus sales of sexually suggestive T-shirts. Morris v. Brown, #95-592 (D.Md. 1995). [1996 FP 5]
     Federal court holds that a Park Service ban on the sale message-bearing T-shirts on National Mall does not further a governmental interest. Friends of the Vietnam Memorial v. Kennedy, 64 LW 2187 (D.D.C. 1995). {N/R}
     The First Amendment did not permit an off duty officer to attend a Halloween party in blackface carrying a watermelon. Tindle v. Caudell, 56 F.3d 966, 10 IER Cases (BNA) 1227 (8th Cir. 1995). [1995 FP 151]
     Township board did not retaliate against a terminated police officer for engaging in protected speech. Van Richardson v. Burrows, 885 F.Supp. 1017 (N.D.Ohio 1995). {N/R}
     Police chief did not violate the civil rights of police officers who were sent to the U.S. Capitol as part of a demonstration in support of an assault weapons ban. Donaggio v. Arlington County, 10 IER Cases (BNA) 740, 880 F.Supp. 446 (N.D. Va. 1995). [1995 FP 102-3]
     Federal court dismisses suit by a former probation officer who was terminated after she married a deputy sheriff. Rosenbarger v. Shipman, 857 F.Supp. 1282 (N.D.Ind. 1994). {N/R}
     Private taxpayer loses his suit to require the police chief to reimburse the county for an expenditure of overtime of officers used to lobby for passage of the assault weapons ban. Blackman v. Stover, Arl. Co. Chancery #94-659 (Va.Cir. 1994). [1995 FP 103]
     Federal court overturns L.A.Co.F.D. ban on reading Playboy while on duty. Dept's interest in preventing "negative feelings towards female coworkers" was an insufficient basis for censorship. Johnson v. Co. of Los Angeles, 66 FEP Cases 105, 865 F.Supp. 1430 (C.D.Cal. 1994). [1995 FP 24-5]
     Federal court rejects suit by police union officials who claimed they were unfairly disciplined for an unlawful demonstration. Caruso v. Kelly, 1994 U.S.Dist. Lexis 9459 (S.D.N.Y.). [1995 FP 25] Affirmed (unpub. opin.) 1995 U.S.App. Lexis 28908 (2nd Cir. 1995); cert. den., 134 L.Ed.2d 471, 1996 U.S. Lexis 1966 (1996).
     Federal court confirms the termination of a police officer for distributing hate literature aimed at blacks and Jews, lying about his affiliation with the Klan, selling tickets to Klan-sponsored functions, and depositing the ticket proceeds into his personal account, all of which violated departmental policy. See Young v. McDaniel, 664 F. Supp 263, 265 (W.D. Ky. 1986). Later, a federal appeals court upheld his rejection for reemployment for untruthfulness and conduct unbecoming a police officer. Young v. City of Louisville, 1993 U.S. App. Lexis 22647 (Unpub., 6th Cir.). [1993 FP 167]
     Federal court in Colo. holds that it was not a violation of Title VII to terminate an employee for membership in the Ku Klux Klan and attending an "Adolph Hitler Rally." Slater v. King Soopers Inc., 60 FEP Cases (BNA) 963 (D.Colo. 1992). {N/R}
     Racial disparity and treatment of employees in the disciplinary process was not a concern communicated to police employees, as required to support a claim the plaintiffs" speech involved a public concern protected by the First Amendment. To trigger the First Amendment, the speaker must be acting primarily as a citizen, and not as an employee. Evans v. City of Indianola, 778 F.Supp. 333 (N.D. Miss. 1991). {N/R}
     Appellate court upholds misconduct conviction of a military policeman who blew his nose on the American flag while serving on a flag-raising detail. Conduct was not protected by the First Amendment. United States v. Wilson, 33 M.J. 797 (ACMR 1991). [1992 FP 6]
     A municipal employee who blows the whistle on corruption is deprived of his federally protected civil rights if promotions are denied him in retaliation. Wetzel v. Hoffman, 928 F.2d 376 (11th Cir. 1991). [1992 FP 57]
     Police officer who was denied permission to sing in blackface settles his claim of managerial harassment for $200,000. Police Department order forbidding officer to sing in public "Jolson blackface" overturned. Berger v. Battaglia, 779 F.2d 992 (4th Cir., 1985).
     Police officer did not have the right to bring a suit against the municipality without disclosing his true name; John Doe complaints, when allowed by the courts, must be based on a motion giving compelling reasons for anonymity. Doe v. Bor. of Morrisville, 130 F.R.D. 612 (E.D. Pa. 1990).
     Investigator applicant wrongfully rejected because he had previously informed on alleged wrongdoing of government officials. Hubbard v. Administrator, E.P.A. 735 F.Supp. 435 (D.D.C. 1990).
     Untenured police chief who was fired after he initiated an investigation of members of the city council could sue for a violation of his First Amendment rights. Fairbanks v. City of Bradenton Beach, 733 F.Supp. 1447 (M.D. Fla. 1989).
      Police chief could not require off-duty officers to remove sexually explicit films from the video store they lawfully operated. Glanagan v. Munger, 890 F.2d 1557 (10th Cir. 1989).
     Whistle-blowing action by police officers disrupted dept. efficiency; officers motivation was also a personal grudge. Suit against city and officials dismissed. Perry v. City of Kinloch, 680 F.Supp. 1339 (E.D. Mo. 1988).
     Termination of officers for union activity reversed by court; back pay awarded. Camp Hill Borough v. Commonwealth Labor Rltns. Bd., 507 A.2d 1297 (Pa. Cmwlth. 1986).
     Captain could be fired for keeping a secret diary on his chief's performance; not a matter of free speech. Terrell v. University of Texas System Police, 792 F.2d 1360 (5th Cir. 1986).
     Officer, denied promotion and transferred for exposing cover-up, awarded $50,000 compensatory and $250,000 punitive damages against chief. Martinez v. Vigil, (unreported) U.S. Dist. Ct., Albuquerque, NM (11/4/86).
     Police Dept. could not terminate female officer because she posed in the nude for obscene magazines before she was hired. Borges v. McGuire, 107 A.D.2d 492, 487 N.Y.S.2d 737, 1985 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 49770. {AELE Ref. #5570}
     Deputy suspended for giving photos of "sex party" to TV station with intent to embarrass his chief deputy. City and County of San Francisco Sheriff's Dept. v. McMurtry, (March, 1986). [Vol. 137 FP 7]
     Sheriff could terminate employee who was an active participant in Klan activities; first amendment outweighed. McMullen v. Carson, 754 F.2d 936 (11th Cir. 1985).
     Back pay and legal fees awarded sergeant who was demoted for legitimate labor union activities. Henneberque v. City of Culver City, 194 Cal.Rptr. 869, Mod. 218 Cal.Rptr. 704 (App. 1985).
     Supreme court upholds right of government to regulate clothing of uniformed personnel; Air Force rabbi could not wear a yarmulke. Goldman v. Weinberger, 106 S.Ct. 1310 (1986).
     Federal appeals court upholds damages and reinstatement claims of black officers who were fired for removing U.S. flag from their uniforms and picketing; 12 years of backpay for 6 appellants. Leonard v. City of Columbus, 705 F.2d 1299, reh. en banc denied, 716 F.2d 914 (11th Cir. 1983).
     Police chief terminated after he joined Fraternal Order of Police; appellate court defines respective rights. Key v. Rutherford, 645 F.2d 880 (10th Cir. 1981). Firefighters not entitled to wear uniforms off-duty to publicize political views. Detroit Fire Fighters Assn. v. Dixon, 572 F.2d 557 (6th Cir. 1978); see also: Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503, 89 S.Ct. 733 (1969); Detroit Fire Fighters Assn. v. City of Detroit, 508 F.Supp. 172 (E.D. Mich. 1981).
     Federal courts should refrain from deciding First Amendment issues until legality of discharge procedure determined. Wilson v. Robinson, 668 F.2d 380 (8th Cir. 1981).
     Volunteer fire department not a public agency for public employment purposes; member loses suit for reinstatement based on First Amendment grounds. Janusaitis v. Middlebury Vol. Fire Dept., 464 F.Supp. 288 (D. Conn. 1979), affirmed 607 F.2d 17 (1979).
     Federal court enjoins departmental ban on union meeting called to hear views of election candidates. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 74 v. Village of Buffalo Grove, U.S. Dist. Ct. (N.D. Ill. 1979).
     First Amendment protects employees from demotion from untenured positions. Morris v. City of Kokomo, 381 N.E.2d 510 (Ind.App. 1978).
     Union slowdown letter not protected. Broyles v. Baton Rouge Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board, 340 So.2d 349 (La. App. 1976).
     Police officer could not be terminated for taking part in anti-police demonstrations that when he was a college student. Purdy v. Cole, 317 So.2d 820, 1975 Fla. App. Lexis 13837. {N/R}
     First Amendment's Freedom of Association Clause protects a practicing nudist, who was rejected for employment as a police officer. Bruns v. Pomerleau, 319 F.Supp. 58, 1970 U.S. Dist. Lexis 9814 (D. Md. 1970). {N/R}
     Note: A comprehensive discussion of the law involving the First Amendment rights of police officers to participate in activities of hate groups is found at 81 Iowa L. Rev. 1079 (1996). "Blue by Day and White by Knight: Regulating the Political Affiliations of Law Enforcement and Military Personnel."
     See also: Associating With Known Criminals, Disciplinary Offenses; Disciplinary Punishment; Free Speech; Patronage Employment; Political Activity; Transfers and Union Activity.


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