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Tag Archives: Public Employees

Civil Rights – Constitutional – Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Demotion – First Amendment – City Council Meeting Statements – Due Process – Investigation (access required)

Williams v. Scott At two public hearings before the Columbia City Council, the plaintiff-police officer opposed a proposed merger of the Columbia police department with the county sheriff’s office, voicing (1) his fear that the sheriff could unfairly fire him at will, (2) his general support for the unique identity of the police department, and (3) his accusation that the sheriff prevented deputies from attending a funeral for plaintiff’s patrol dog in retaliation for plaintiff speaking out at the first city council hearing.

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Civil Practice – Eleventh Amendment Immunity – Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Retirement System (access required)

Hutto v. South Carolina Retirement System Although the S.C. Retirement System is primarily funded by contributions from employers and employees, the state is required to appropriate funds to protect the fiscal integrity of the system. The Retirement System also receives funds directly from the state when South Carolina, as an employer, makes its annual appropriation.

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Tort/Negligence – Negligent Supervision – Public Employees – Gross Negligence Standard – Prisons & Jails – Sexual Assault by Guard (access required)

Hamilton v. Charleston County Sheriff’s Department Plaintiff’s criminologist testified that defendant was grossly negligent because it had grossly violated nationally accepted standards by failing to (1) minimize contact between male officers and female inmates, (2) monitor the officers’ whereabouts, and (3) implement adequate supervision mechanisms such as cameras and locked doors.

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Labor & Employment – Constitutional – Free Speech – Unlawful Firing Claim – Public Employees (access required)

Brooks v. Arthur Two Virginia correctional officers cannot sue for alleged unlawful firing for exercise of their First Amendment free-speech rights; the 4th Circuit says complaints about an employee’s own duties pursued through an internal grievance procedure do not relate to a matter of public concern.

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Municipal – Labor & Employment – Workers’ Compensation – Public Employees – Mail Carrier (access required)

Hutchins v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor A U.S. Postal Service letter carrier who won a personal-injury lawsuit against a South Carolina town after she fell into a manhole must reimburse the Department of Labor for benefits she received under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act; the 4th Circuit affirms a decision that the town qualifies as a “person other than the U.S.” under 5 U.S.C. § 8132.

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Municipal – Civil Practice – Standing – FOIA — Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Severance Contract (access required)

Freemantle v. Preston Although the common law does not give a taxpayer standing to seek damages arising from a county council’s agreement to a $1,000,000 severance package for a county employee, the Freedom of Information Act gives the taxpayer standing to seek declaratory and injunctive relief.

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Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Prisons & Jails – Reduction-in-Force – Creation & Implementation – Recall Right – Teachers’ Pay Schedule (access required)

Bell v. South Carolina Department of Corrections Although the Department of Corrections was not required to consult with the Palmetto Unified School District (which serves correctional facilities) when budget cuts prompted the DOC to develop a reduction-in-force plan, the implementation of the RIF violated the petitioner-teachers’ rights when they were denied the right to be recalled for open positions and when they were paid at correctional officers’ salary rate for performing teachers’ work.

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Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Schools & School Boards – Teaching Contract – Nonrenewal – Constitutional – Due Process (access required)

Young v. Charleston County School District The record does not show that a three-member committee made the required report to the school board before the board accepted the committee’s recommendation not to renew the plaintiff-teacher’s contract. Moreover, the teacher was not given sufficient notice of the board’s meeting, so neither she nor her attorney was present at the meeting. The record does not reflect that the teacher’s due process rights were protected.

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