The Firehouse Lawyer Newsletter

Results for newsletters with the topic “Civil Actions

DescriptionVolume_IssueYearMonthPDF
Today we address free speech considerations in the context of discipline; amendments to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the test to discern whether nepotism in hiring is legal; legislative amendments to the death benefits laws; LEOFF II employees being able to sue employers; employees not having a cause of action for “wrongful transfer in violation of public policy”; and to sum it up, we discuss physical fitness standards for firefighters. 01-0219975v01n02may1997.pdf
Here we take a look at the firefighter’s rule, which essentially says that a firefighter is generally owed no duty of care by the owner of land except that the owner not willfully or wantonly cause injury to the fireman; then we clarify some issues with the “two-in two-out” rule under the WAC 296-305 safety standards; issues with records retention; whether RCW 39.34 may permit several fire districts and a city to share in some major function, i.e. communications, and to have some separate level of taxing revenue; and to round it out, we address a question about building signs and the ADA. 02-0319983v02n03mar1998.pdf
The Public Duty Doctrine is an incredibly important doctrine that protects fire districts and other municipal corporations from liability, and today we discuss the doctrine and the many exceptions to it; then we look at some cases of interest from the US Supreme Court involving sexual harassment, freedom of speech, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.02-0719987v02n07jul1998.pdf
Sexual harassment in the workplace may subject the employer to immense liabilities, and today we consider implications of some very important cases decided by the United States Supreme Court, particularly with respect to “quid pro quo” harassment and hostile work environment claims; also, we analyze a federal court decision that dealt a blow to the compulsory arbitration process, by finding that employers may not compel individuals to waive their right to file their Title VII claims in court; the applicability of FLSA to municipal governments; the statute of limitations on claims for wrongful discharge based on employee handbooks; the validity of last chance agreements in the discharge and discipline process; the legality of psychological exams in the case of extreme misconduct; and we sum it all up by answering a question about rural fire districts and their concerns about mutual aid agreements. 02-0819988v02n08aug1998.pdf
We now address some “burning” constitutional questions surrounding burning permits; some updates to the FLSA 207 (k) exemption; and finally, a question regarding the handwriting of multiple individuals on reports. 03-0119991v03n01jan1999.pdf
We now look at RCW 38.40.060, which controls when military leave shall be granted to public employees; the “salary basis’ test for determining exempt status under FLSA; whether employees may sue for negligence, defamation or invasion of privacy; and then we perform a comprehensive analysis of volunteerism under FLSA. 03-0319993v03n03mar1999.pdf
Now the Firehouse Lawyer highlights legislation in 1999 involving EMS Levies, fire district annexation, municipal officers and contracts, pension benefits, fire insurance premium taxes, drug administration, and 911 Telephone Systems; then we consider a case in which the Washington Supreme Court held that there is no cause of action for refusal to hire or re-hire someone. 03-0619996v03n06jun1999.pdf
This issue discusses a Washington Supreme Court case which extends the common law tort for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy to all employees, including union employees with protections within collective bargaining agreements; we also discuss amendments to the 207 (k) exemption under FLSA, which provides a partial overtime exemption for emergency workers such as police and firefighters. 04-0120001v04n01jan2000.pdf
This issue addresses FLSA rules for excluding sleep periods from overtime; whether an employee’s FLSA-exempt status may be destroyed by an employer making improper pay deductions; affirmative defenses an employer may raise to a claim of sexual harassment; and finally, some questions about residency requirements and uses by volunteers of their personal vehicles while conducting their official duties. 04-0220002v04n02feb2000.pdf
Here we discuss a US Supreme Court case involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the relative rights and powers of employers and employees pertaining to the use of compensatory time; whether fire districts are free under the law to change their names to whatever the fire commissioners decide; the issue of securing an emergency scene to ensure highway safety without subjecting your fire department to liability for negligence; we also remind our readers that the FMLA only applies to private and public employers having 50 or more employees; and finally we talk about RCW 46.44, which contains a law involving the weight limits applicable to fire engines. 04-0520005v04n05may2000.pdf
We now look to new developments to the long-established Firefighter’s Rule, which is a general rule of non-liability to firefighters, applicable to property owners whose negligence caused the emergency that led to the firefighter’s presence on the property where the fire (or other emergency) occurred; what pre-employment inquiries are or are not permitted under the ADA and WLAD; and we also consider whether study sessions are subject to the OPMA. 05-0620056v05n06jun2005.pdf
Today we address a myriad of issues with the Public Records Act, including giving the “fullest assistance” possible to records requestors, requiring that requests be made in writing, penalties, and records indexing; we also consider whether a discussion between two members of a governing body, when this does not constitute a majority of that body, is a “meeting” under the OPMA; there is also some legislation of interest addressing the finding in the Hangartner case that an agency cannot reject records requests on the grounds that a request is overbroad; we then briefly discuss the requirement that your agency hire a claims agent under RCW 4.96 to process claims. 05-0920059v05n09sep2005.pdf
Today we outline the benefits and procedures of merger of fire districts under RCW 52.06 and annexation of cities or towns to adjacent fire districts pursuant to RCW 52.04, as well as through cities annexing unincorporated land into the city by annexations, along with a consideration of consolidation versus merger; we also consider a recent case finding that volunteers can sue their own agencies for damages, for negligently caused injuries.05-11200511v05n11nov2005.pdf
Today we address a federal court case that determined that money paid for sick leave buy-back counts in the calculation of regular rate; we also discuss a sex-discrimination case related to two female firefighters (battalion chiefs) being denied adequate protective clothing and adequate bathroom and shower facilities; we then consider adverse employment actions against an employee who exercises First Amendment rights, and much more. 06-0520065v06n05may2006.pdf
Today we discuss issues that arise between agencies that enter into an interlocal agreement under RCW 39.34 and how that may create a problem with "separating accounts" in the eyes of the State Auditor; we also address the doctrine of "bystander negligence", which essentially permits a bystander who witnesses a traumatic event to have a cause of action against a negligent party who causes that event.07-0120071v07n01jan2007.pdf
Today we discuss a court ruling that employees cannot generally waive their FMLA rights; the professional rescuer doctrine, which is a bar to recovery for firefighters for injuries incurred in the line of duty; the forming of non-profit corporations via interlocal agreement; and sexual harassment policies. 07-10200710v07n09sep2007.pdf
The Firehouse Lawyer knows the importance of avoiding liability: We now address the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy, along with defamation claims arising out of workplace investigations; and then we talk about the payment of compensatory time in lieu of overtime compensation. 08-11200811v08n11nov2008.pdf
The Firehouse Lawyer loves talking about the Fair Labor Standards Act, and today we discuss the U.S. Supreme Court declining to decide a case involving whether a paramedic was 207 (k)-exempt from the overtime rules; we also discuss "red flags" for identity theft and developing policies for responding to claims. 09-0420094v09n04apr2009.pdf
Today we outline the "special relationship" exception to the Public Duty Doctrine, as it pertains to 911 calls, discuss amendments to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, the legality of polygraph testing under RCW 49.44, and a great article from Sebris Busto James about EEOC Guidelines. 11-0120136v11n01jun2013.pdf
Today the Firehouse Lawyer discusses the Intra-State Building Safety Mutual Aid System, a statute unheard of in the fire service, which may provide another revenue-building tool for fire districts, if certain legislative fixes are made; we also consider the implications of government officials receiving gifts; a new Washington senate bill that amends RCW 39.34.030, and consequently, aspects of the public bid laws; whether call logs are public records, or whether requests for electronic copies of files that are not backed up are proper public records requests; and finally, we talk about whether your policies should properly designate “peer support group counselors,” such that any confidences revealed to them during treatment may not be inquired into in a court of law.13-0620156June_2015_FINAL.pdf
The Firehouse Lawyer may be controversial at times, but due to recent legislative changes, the definition of "lowest responsible bidder", for purposes of procurement contracts, may have changed--for the better; we also discuss whether certain fire district activities are subject to business-and-occupation taxes, when benefit charges may be imposed on religious organizations, and whether fire districts and RFAs may sue for defamation. 13-0820158August_2015.pdf
Employment law can be cumbersome, and today the Firehouse Lawyer addresses three important Washington Supreme Court decisions that fundamentally altered the doctrine of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy; we also discuss the destruction of non-archival records, and an important PERC decision pertaining to light duty and unilateral changes to working conditions. 13-10201510October2015_FINAL .pdf
This issue discusses the importance of policies on recreational marijuana use, as it pertains to liability for negligence; we also discuss how overtime is calculated under FLSA in the event shifts are traded or employees substitute for one another; and finally, we consider a recent Washington Supreme Court case that has solidified the definition of "respiratory disease," as that pertains to injured firefighters. 13-11201511November2015FINAL.pdf
Today we discuss our upcoming Municipal Roundtable, and a recent lawsuit filed against Washington State under RCW 76.04.760, a new statute which creates a cause of action for failure to prevent a fire on forest lands from spreading, and implications that may have for fire districts and regional fire authorities, under the public duty doctrine. 13-12201512December2015FINAL.pdf
In today's Firehouse Lawyer we focus on when a donation to a nonprofit corporation may be deemed an unconstitutional gift of public funds; we also report on a Washington case which reminds us that fire departments may be sued when one of their paramedics or EMT's fails to report suspected abuse of a child or vulnerable adult. 14-0520165May2016FINAL.pdf
Today we consider whether an ALS assessment alone is sufficient to qualify an EMS provider for Medicaid reimbursement at the ALS level; we also discuss a court case addressing a defense to WISHA citations, for "unpreventable employee misconduct." 14-0620168June2016FINAL.pdf
The laws applicable to fire districts and regional fire authorities are certainly not the same, and we consider those differences and similarities in this issue; we also discuss new litigation pertaining to worker's compensation and the "subjective findings" of treating physicians; we also outline a public records act case involving statutes of limitation. 14-09201692016SeptemberFINAL.pdf
Today we discuss when records used or created by third persons that are tasked by a public agency to perform a particular job are public records; we also consider a remarkable change to the attorney-client privilege. 14-10201610October2016FINAL.pdf
This month, the Firehouse Lawyer sheds light on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act, with respect to the "white collar" exemptions; changes to the post-incident investigation procedures of employers under the Occupational Safety and Health Act; notice to third parties of public records requests, and when that notice should be given and when not; a new electronic records law that affirmatively requires local agencies in Washington to adopt policies on electronic records; a court case involving standing to sue under the Open Public Meetings Act; and finally, we discuss our involvement in an important Washington Supreme Court case. 14-8E20168August2016.pdf
At times, state agencies get it wrong, and today we discuss that, with respect to the stripping of pensions from elected officials not working in "eligible positions" under DRS regulations; we also discuss RCW 71.05, one of the involuntary detention laws; a sweeping case involving the mandatory reporting duty in cases of child abuse and neglect; the employee's responsibility under the vertical safety standards; and finally, we outline some of the most common issues the State Auditor keeps running into, with respect to fire districts and RFAs. 15-0320173March2017FINAL.pdf
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