News & Analysis as of

New Haven Firefighters Sue Over Overtime Miscalculation

On September 1, 2015, a total of 174 current and former firefighters filed a lawsuit against the City of New Haven (the “City”) seeking, among other things, back pay, liquidated damages, interest and attorney’s fees. The...more

Support from the LA City Council for more public safety protections against drone use

The Los Angeles (LA) City Council (the Council) decided it would join the widespread efforts for more drone legislation, and endorse a series of federal and state legislation related to the use of drones and public safety...more

Drone on Drones: Nation’s First Drone Ban Passed

The Poway City Council approved an urgency ordinance temporarily banning the use of drones throughout most of the City this week amid concerns that the UAVs could hamper firefighting efforts. Poway is the first city in the...more

Arbitration board imposes 24-hour firefighter shift, despite employer’s safety concerns

An interest arbitration board has imposed a 24-hour shift for firefighters employed by the Ontario City of St. Catharines, despite the city’s strenuous objections based largely on safety concerns. The City and...more

Commonwealth Court Affirms, Expands Public Employers’ Ability to Control Manning, Pension Costs through Collective Bargaining,...

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania significantly strengthened public employers’ ability to address rising costs by holding that minimum shift manning requirements are a non-bargainable managerial prerogative. The court...more

2015 Changes to Nevada Police/Firefighter Heart and Lung Laws

The 2015 legislative session made a major change in SB 153 to the heart and lung statutes regarding the application of a conclusive presumption of compensability. A conclusive presumption means that the ill police officer or...more

NYC Mayor Signs “Ban the Box” Legislation Prohibiting Criminal Background Inquiries Prior to Offers of Employment

On Oct. 27, 2015, the new NYC Fair Chance Act ( “FCA”), recently signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, takes effect. The FCA prohibits most New York City employers from making inquiries into an applicant’s criminal...more

Cancer in Nevada Firefighters

Fire fighters have a law entitling them to workers’ compensation benefits under a law written especially for fire fighters. NRS 617.453 provides for a rebuttable presumption that a cancer is work-related for fire fighters...more

New York Court of Appeals Applies Federal Impact Analysis Under State Law

Margerum v. City of Buffalo, 24 N.Y.3d 721 (N.Y. Feb. 17, 2015): The New York Court of Appeals held that, where an employer has allegedly engaged in intentional discrimination to avoid or remedy an unintentional disparate...more

PLRB Issues Controversial Ruling on Volunteer Fire Companies

Recently, the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) issued a Final Order indicating that members of a volunteer fire company which provided coverage to a local borough were actually Borough employees.   In doing so...more

Legislation Passed Relating to Full-Time Employees under Affordable Care Act

The House passed the Save American Workers Act (H.R. 30), which would redefine full-time employment under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from 30 hours to 40 hours per week for purposes of the employer mandate, thereby...more

United Firefighters' Union of Australia v Country Fire Authority [2015]

In a landmark judgment with significant implications for the state public sector, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia (Full Court) has upheld an appeal by the United Firefighters' Union of Australia (UFU) against...more

New Law Protects Volunteer Workers

A new New York State law prohibits employers from firing volunteer firefighters and members of volunteer ambulance squads for taking time off from their jobs to respond to state of emergencies such as hurricanes and...more

Legislation That Makes Minimum Manning for Firefighters a Mandatory Subject of Bargaining Awaits Governor’s Signature

Last week, the Illinois Senate passed House Bill 5485, and the bill now awaits action by Governor Quinn. If signed by Governor Quinn, the bill would immediately go into effect and amend the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act...more

Amendment to IPLRA Would Make Minimum Firefighter Staffing a Mandatory Subject of Bargaining Passes Senate, Awaits Governor...

Last week, the Illinois Senate passed House Bill 5485, and the bill now awaits action by Governor Quinn. If signed by Governor Quinn, the bill would immediately go into effect and amend the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide Whether Fire District Owed Tort Duty to 911 Caller

In the closing days of its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide a question of potentially great import for Illinois first responders: do public entities and their employees owe a tort duty of care to...more

Volunteer Emergency Responder Job Protection

House Bill 2, known as the Volunteer Emergency Responder Job Protection Act, makes it illegal for an employer to discipline or terminate a Volunteer Fire Firefighter or Emergency Management Technician (EMT) who misses work...more

Is Firefighter's Fear of Fire an ADA Disability?

Although it might seem strange to suggest that a firefighter's fear of entering a burning building is a disability, that's exactly what a Texas jury decided. In the end, however, the Texas Supreme Court overturned the jury's...more

Nevada Fire Fighters Have Special Work Comp Laws

Special Work Comp Laws Applicable to Fire Fighters - A. Contagious diseases - Exposure to contagious diseases while providing medical care at work is considered an injury by accident. NRS 616A.265 (2); testing...more

South Carolina: Admission of Cause & Origin Testimony by Fire Chief Was Prejudicial Error

In James D. Fowler v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Ins. Co., 2014 WL 3844215, 2014 S.C. App. LEXIS 209 (S.C. App., Aug. 6, 2014), South Carolina’s Court of Appeals recently held that it was prejudicial error to allow the jury to...more

Affordable Care Act Update: Volunteer Firefighters And Other Emergency Responders Are Not Full-Time Employees Or FTE’s Under ACA

On January 10, 2014 the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that volunteer firefighters and other emergency responders (“volunteer emergency personnel”) at governmental or tax-exempt organizations “generally” need not be...more

Regulators Provide ACA Guidance on Volunteer Emergency Workers

On Friday, the Department of Treasury announced on its blog that it intends to provide an exemption to the employer penalty provisions for volunteer firefighters and emergency services personnel. According to its blog post,...more

Volunteer Hours Of Firefighters And Emergency Responders Can Be Excluded From ACA's Shared Responsibility Calculation

Executive Summary: The Department of Treasury has posted a statement on its blog indicating that the volunteer hours of volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel do not need to be included in...more

Illinois Supreme Court Sides With Pension Fund in Firefighters' Dispute

In the final announced opinion day of 2013, the Supreme Court has filed its opinion in Hooker v. The Retirement Board of the Firemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago, holding that the plaintiffs – widows of two deceased...more

Argument Report: Illinois Supreme Court Debates Chicago Firefighters' Pensions

Although Kanerva v. Weems was the marquee case on public pensions for the September term of the Illinois Supreme Court, it wasn't the only such case on the docket. But if the oral argument is any indication, the retirees in...more

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