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

 freedom of speechBy: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

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.”

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Washington Court of Appeals Finds Kitsap County Must Bargain Over Decision To Lay-Off Corrections Officers

 

man with clasped hands over termination of employment documentBy: Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

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.

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Washington Court of Appeals Finds Police Officer Cannot Demonstrate He Involuntarily Resigned After Loudermill Hearing

By:  Erica Shelley Nelson and Sarah Burke

oktoberfest-beer-clipart-1In 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.

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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

bus-stop-transit-blue-clip-artIn 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.

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PERC Holds That The Walla Walla Police Guild Did Not Waive By Inaction Its Right To Bargain A Department Policy Change

By: Jordan L. Jones

gun2In City of Walla Walla, PERC held that the Walla Walla Police Guild did not waive by inaction its right to bargain a department policy change.

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Washington District Court Finds School’s Discharge of Superintendent for Extramarital Affair Could Be Unlawful Discrimination

By: Erica Shelley Nelson & Sarah Burke

In Buschoolhouse-clipart-simple-red-school-housesey 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.

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The Commission Adopts A New Standard For Determining Whether An Employer Has A Duty To Bargain A Decision To Contract Out Bargaining Unit Work

By: Christopher J. Casillas & Jordan L. Jones

In Central Central WAWashington University, the Commission concluded that the existing standard for determining whether an employer had a duty to bargain a decision to contract out bargaining unit work was confusing and adopted a new standard. The Commission also affirmed the Examiner’s decision that (1) the employer contracted out bargaining unit work and (2) that the employer failed to provide requested information. The Commission reversed the Examiner’s decision and found that the employer circumvented the union and modified the remedy to include a monetary remedy for the employer’s failure to bargain the decision to contract out bargaining unit work.

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Washington Court of Appeals Holds That State Trooper Could Bring Civil Suit for Workplace Injuries Under the Industrial Insurance Act After Being Shot By A Taser

By: Erica Shelley Nelson & Sarah Burke

taser2In Michelbrink v. Wash. State Patrol, Division II of the Washington Court of Appeals allowed a state trooper to proceed to trial in his civil suit for damages stemming from a compression fracture and bulged disk in his back under the “deliberate intention” exception of the Industrial Insurance Act (IIA). In his complaint, the trooper claimed that his employer’s knowledge that an injury would occur was enough to qualify under the deliberate intention exception. The Court of Appeals found that while every element of the deliberate intention exception should be narrowly construed, an employer does not need actual knowledge of the specific injury that occurs to be found liable.

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PERC Holds That The State Breached Its Good Faith Bargaining Obligations By Failing To Provide The Trooper’s Union Requested Information

By: Christopher J. Casillas & Jordan L. Jones 

dollar-clip-art-k3653705In State – Washington State Patrol, Examiner Page A. Garcia held that the State failed to provide relevant information regarding documents and communication between the State and a consultant concerning a compensation survey, which was requested by the Union for contract negotiations. PERC further held that by the State’s refusal to make individuals from the consultant’s firm available to the Union or, in the alternative, provide the Union the information it was seeking from the consultant regarding the compensation survey, the employer breached its good faith bargaining obligations.

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PERC Holds That The Expansion Of An Existing Security Camera System In A Hospital Was Not A Mandatory Subject of Bargaining

By Chris Casillas and Jordan L. Jones

security cameraIn Mason General Hospital (Mason Public Hospital District 1), Examiner Irvin held that the employer did not refuse to bargain by unilaterally installing a new security camera in the Diagnostic Imaging Department. Examiner Irvin found that the hospital’s decision to install the new security camera was not a mandatory subject of bargaining.

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