Public Employees

News & Analysis as of

There’s a new Sheriff in town: The politics and pitfalls of patronage dismissals (Part 2 of 2)

In last week’s installment, I provided an introduction to the issue of patronage dismissals in the public sector, and a discussion of the Supreme Court’s Elrod (1976) and Branti (1980) decisions. In this installment, I’ll...more

Wage and Hour Compliance: 80% of Employers Likely Out of Compliance

The U.S. Department of Labor recently settled a lawsuit filed by the American Federation of Government Employees Local 12 for $7 million. The lawsuit, filed a decade ago, claimed that Labor Department employees had not been...more

There’s A New Sheriff In Town: The Politics And Pitfalls Of Patronage Dismissals

It’s election season, and each year, like the dead leaves that fall from the trees, many loyal and long-term employees of vanquished incumbents face the prospect of getting cashiered once the newly elected officials, or their...more

Ninth Circuit Finds ADA Claims Brought by Employee With Cerebral Palsy Can Go Forward

Facially neutral decisions that are part of routine workforce reductions may not hold up in court if the only employee to be discharged in a group belongs to a protected class. In Schwartz v. Clark County, No. 14-16365 (May...more

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dissolution Of Class Action Consent Decree Due To Plaintiffs’ Inaction

Seyfarth Synopsis: After the City of Jacksonville stopped following a class action consent decree that required it to hire a proportionate number of black and white firefighters, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eleventh...more

New York Makes Some Workplace Assaults a Felony

New York has beefed up protections for certain private and public sector employees, designating assaults against them as Class D felonies, rather than just Class A misdemeanors. ...more

Governmental Employers Take Note: Court of Appeals allows employee’s claim for violation of N.C. constitution to go forward

In Tully v. City of Wilmington, No. COA15-956 (N.C. Ct. App. Aug. 16, 2016), the Court of Appeals held for the first time in North Carolina that a governmental employee had alleged a valid property and liberty interest in...more

First District Court of Appeal Weighs in on the Law of Vested Rights in California

On August 17, 2016, Division Two of the First District Court of Appeal issued a unanimous published decision in MAPE et al. v. MCERA, et al. (August 17, 2016, A139610) ___ Cal.App. 4th ___, ___ Cal.Rptr.3d___ [2016 WL...more

Connecticut's Highest Court Reinstates State Employee Fired for Smoking Marijuana at Work

The Supreme Court of Connecticut recently held, by a unanimous decision, that termination was not the only appropriate disciplinary action for a public employee who had been caught smoking marijuana during working hours. In...more

Informing Illinois Newsletter - August 2016

Is Your Police Department Ready for Body Cameras? - Police use of force has been heavily scrutinized for more than a year. In May 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it was providing $20 million in grants...more

Protect the Privilege: Considerations in Employment Investigations

Employers can take many steps to help maximize the likelihood that attorney-client privileged information and work product will be protected in the context of employment-related investigations. In the recent case of City...more

Consistent Enforcement of Drug Policies Key to Avoiding Disparate Treatment Claims

Following termination stemming from a positive drug test for marijuana, a Native American female, appearing pro se, filed a federal lawsuit against her former employer, Mohave County’s Public Works Department. She alleged...more

Illinois AG Rules That Public Employees' Personal Emails Are Public Records - Messages Pertaining to Public Business in Personal...

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has issued a binding opinion under the state's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that email messages sent or received through public employees' personal email accounts may be public...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Section 1983 First Amendment Retaliation Claim Not Necessarily Precluded By Age Discrimination in Employment...

On August 5, 2016, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) does not preclude a First Amendment retaliation claim under section 1983 of the federal Civil Rights...more

There Are Limits to Connecticut’s Employee Free Speech Law

It has long been recognized as a matter of federal constitutional law that public employees cannot be deprived by the government of their right to freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment, even though the government...more

Case Note: Public-Private Partnership and ERISA’s Governmental Plan Exception

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit used the 6 factor test in Revenue Ruling 57-128 to determine that a group of retirees could not bring their welfare benefit plan claims under ERISA. ...more

Did You Know...The Qyburnian Resurrection of the Jiffy June Standard: The New Battle of Cash-in-Lieu and the Reasonable Rate of...

In a case of first impression, the Ninth Circuit held in Flores v. City of San Gabriel that an employer was liable to a class of employees for failing to include cash-in-lieu of benefits payments in its calculation of the...more

CA Appellate Court Rules That Outside Counsel’s Fact Investigation is Privileged

On June 8, 2016, the First Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal, reversed a Sonoma County Superior Court, holding that an outside counsel’s investigative report was protected from discovery by the...more

NJ Supreme Court Finds For Employees In Two Recent Cases

Seyfarth Synopsis: In two recent cases, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously expanded state law to protect individuals going through a divorce from discrimination, and remanded another case to the trial court with...more

Pensions Ombudsman round-up: May 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of DLA Piper's Pensions Ombudsman Round-Up newsletter in which we report on some recent determinations made by the Pensions Ombudsman (PO) and Deputy Pensions Ombudsman (DPO), and provide...more

Are provisions contained in a staff handbook capable of being incorporated into an employment contract?

The case of Department for Transport v. Sparks [2016] recently confirmed that provisions contained in a staff handbook or policy are capable of incorporation within contracts of employment....more

Supreme Court Extends Public Sector Employees' First Amendment Rights

A public sector employee may now have a First Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim even where the public sector employee has not engaged in protected First Amendment political activity. This may be the case if a public...more

Tennessee Legislative Update

Governor Haslam recently signed several bills into law that will impact Tennessee employees and employers in both the public and private sectors. Employers may wish to reassess certain policies and practices in light of these...more

California Teachers Seek Rehearing Before Full U.S. Supreme Court Regarding Constitutionality of “Agency Shop” Fees for Non-Union...

Attorneys for the Plaintiff California public sector teachers in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association have taken the extraordinarily rare step of petitioning the Supreme Court for a rehearing, and have...more

Michigan Schools Can Demand Removal of Prohibited Subjects From Collective Bargaining Agreements

In Ionia Public Schools v Ionia Education Association, No. 325413 (May 12, 2016), the Michigan Court of Appeals ("COA") affirmed a Michigan Employment Relations Commission ("MERC") decision and order that ruled Michigan...more

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