Employment & Labor Law for Public Safety Agencies

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Disciplinary Hearings - Loudermill Rights

     Although a Collective Bargaining Agreement provided a post-suspension hearing for police officers, "except for extraordinary situations, under Pennsylvania law, even when union grievance procedures permit a policeman to challenge his suspension after the fact, a brief and informal pre-termination or pre-suspension hearing is necessary." Schmidt v. Creedon, #09-2051, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 6303 (3rd Cir.).
     Terminated public employee was entitled to a name-clearing hearing after the disclosure of stigmatizing information. Punitive damage awards of $15,000 were set aside, and compensatory damages were reduced from $250,000 to $50,000. Hemmah v. City of Red Wing, #0:06-cv-3887, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 104808 (D. Minn.).
    Federal court finds that a probationary police employee was entitled to a name-clearing hearing, where he had been accused of dishonesty and there was publication of the allegation. Ellis v. City of Reedly, #CV-F-05-1474, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25333 (E.D. Calif.).
     A psychologically impaired officer was not entitled to a presuspension hearing after her arrest on felony charges. Golt v. City of Los Angeles, #04-57026, 2006 U.S. App. Lexis 31823 (Unpub. 9th Cir. 2006). [N/R]
     Federal appeals court rejects a claim that a superior who presides over a Loudermill hearing must be unbiased, provided the accused employee is provided with a fair post-termination hearing before a neutral panel or person. Vanderwalker v. King County, #02-36023, 91 Fed. Appx. 545, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 2989 (9th Cir. 2004). [2005 FP Feb]
     New York's highest court holds that a failure to establish residency was a violation of a valid residency requirement, which results in forfeiture of employment, and is not misconduct that would entitle an employee to a pre-removal hearing. Felix v. New York City, #153, 2004 N.Y. Lexis 3717 (2004). {N/R}
     Post-termination remedies, no matter how elaborate, do not relieve management of its obligation to provide a tenured police officer with minimal pre-termination due process. Montgomery v. City of Ardmore, #01-7154, 365 F.3d 926, 2004 U.S. App. Lexis 8361, 21 IER Cases (BNA) 289 (10th Cir. 2004). {N/R}
     Arbitrator refuses to order management to produce witnesses, and to subject them to cross-examination, at a pretrial Loudermill meeting. Cuyahoga Co. Sheriff and Ohio PBA, FMCS Case #01/(0913)-16089-6, 117 LA (BNA) 1438 (Skulina, 2002). [2003 FP Apr]
     At the pretermination “Loudermill” hearing, an employee was not entitled to learn the identity of the coworkers who reported his intoxication while on-duty. Herrera v. City of Albuquerque, #98-2243, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 25562 (10th Cir.). [2000 FP 3-4]
     Back pay is not enough to remedy a Loudermill violation. Employee entitled to have a jury consider his claim for “emotional” damages resultant from an improper termination. Lovingier v. City of Black Hawk, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 29752 (Unpub. 10th Cir.). [2000 FP 4]
     Loudermill also applies to a non-disciplinary medical/fitness termination. Feder v. Pope. 489 So.2d 270 (La. App. 1986).
     Eighth Circuit holds that a quick conversation, informing a subordinate he is to be fired, satisfies the pretermination hearing requirements of Loudermill. Heinen v. Brewer, #98-1647, 171 F.3d 612, 1999 U.S. App. Lexis 4788 (8th Cir.). [1999 FP 100]
     Supreme Court holds that “tenured” public employees are entitled to a pretermination hearing. Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. Loudermill, 470 U.S. 532, 105 S.Ct. 1487 (1985).

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