As we indicated in another recent blog, LEOFF II personnel retain their right to sue their own employer for harm caused by employer negligence. This is one subject among many concerning Washington’s public safety personnel for which there is a significant lack of accurate information. It is in the face of that breach of knowledge that we’re releasing our upcoming “Helping the Injured or Disabled Member: A Guidebook for the Washington Law Enforcement Union Representative.” More on that book and the free training we are providing with the book’s roll-out later this year.
Representing the Injured or Disabled Member
Part 2: Introduction to the Duty of Accommodation and the Maze of Disability Laws
This article is the 2nd in a multiple part series covering the rights your injured and disabled members have and how you, as a union or guild representative, can best assist them. Over the next two to three months, we’ll be publishing, in various segments, information on how state and federal laws protect your members who are hurt or otherwise unable to work. We’ll cover topics including disability discrimination law, the FMLA, job protection rights under the CBA, workers compensation, disability benefits, and the right to bring a civil lawsuit.
Representing the Injured or Disabled Member Part 1: Introduction
This article is the 1st in a multiple part series covering the rights your injured and disabled members have and how you, as a union or guild representative, can best assist them. Over the next two to three months, we’ll be publishing, in various segments, information on how state and federal laws protect your members who are hurt or otherwise unable to work. We’ll cover topics including disability discrimination law, the FMLA, job protection rights under the CBA, workers compensation, disability benefits, and the right to bring a civil lawsuit.
We have often said, “Knowledge is Power” and seemingly nowhere is that more true than in connection with the rights you and your members have when they are injured and disabled. Our experience in representing public safety labor organizations throughout the state is that there is a shortage of thorough or even accurate information about the rights of injured or disabled officers.
Federal District Court Finds Skagit County Deputy Has Valid First Amendment Claim After Being Terminated Following His Support of Opposing Sheriff Candidate But Dismisses Charge Based on Unsuccessful Arbitration Case
In Plancich v. County of Skagit, a Skagit County deputy sheriff was discharged for abuse of authority after he participated in a traffic stop that recovered property stolen from his relatives. The deputy alleged that the investigation into this conduct was retaliation for his support of an opponent in a Sheriff’s election and filed a First Amendment claim. The Federal District Judge Robert Lasnick found that the deputy had a triable issue because the investigation and his support of the opposing candidate occurred closely together and the Department had a history of discriminatory treatment for officers who supported the losing Sheriff’s candidate. But the Court dismissed the First Amendment claim, accepting the County’s argument that an intervening arbitration decision finding just cause for the discharge which also held that there was no retaliatory claim precluded the First Amendment lawsuit under the doctrine of “collateral estoppel.”
Washington Court of Appeals Finds Kitsap County Must Bargain Over Decision To Lay-Off Corrections Officers
In a precedent setting case, in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Cty. Corr. Officers’ Guild Inc., the Court of Appeals held that the County committed an unfair labor practice when it laid off two corrections officers without negotiations with the Kitsap County Corrections Guild. Facing the Guild’s demand to bargain, the County refused to bargain over the decision, asserting that the layoffs were not a mandatory subject of bargaining The Court held that negotiations must precede the lay off decision.
Washington Court of Appeals Finds Police Officer Cannot Demonstrate He Involuntarily Resigned After Loudermill Hearing
By: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke
In Celis v. City of Lakewood, a Hispanic officer alleged that he was constructively discharged after he resigned pending a disciplinary determination after his Loudermill hearing. The Court found that the officer’s fear of potential termination and decommission was not enough to amount to constructive discharge and granted the City’s motion for summary judgment.
PERC Holds That Millwright Union Committed A Unfair Labor Practice When It Submitted A Permissive Subject Of Bargaining To Interest Arbitration
By: Jordan L. Jones
In King County (Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 587), PERC held that ATU Local 587 committed a ULP when it submitted a permissive subject of bargaining to interest arbitration. Examiner De La Rosa found that King County’s decision to move the Millwrights from the Vehicle Maintenance Section to the Power & Facilities Section was a managerial prerogative and therefore a permissive subject of bargaining.
Washington District Court Finds School’s Discharge of Superintendent for Extramarital Affair Could Be Unlawful Discrimination
By: Erica Shelley Nelson & Sarah Burke
In Busey v. Richland School District, the Eastern District of Washington found that a reasonable jury could conclude that a Superintendent had been wrongfully discriminated against for his extramarital affair with a para-educator. In his complaint, the Superintendent alleged the district had violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination (“WLAD”), in terminating him because of his extramarital affair. The district court found that because the Superintendent had provided direct evidence of this claim and a reasonable jury could find that the school district’s proffered reasons were pretextual, the claim could survive summary judgment and move forward.