Constitutional Rights

Minneapolis Fire Sued Over Hypothermia Death

The family of a University of Minnesota freshman who died of hypothermia in 2013 has filed a massive lawsuit against the Minneapolis Fire Department and numerous other agencies accusing them of leaving his body in the elements for an extended ...

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21 States Challenge New White Collar Overtime Rule

Twenty-one states are challenging new overtime rules that increase the minimum salary requirements for exempt “white collar” employees under the FLSA. The rules are set to increase the minimum salary that an employee who is exempt from receiving overtime must be paid from $455 per week to $913 per week.

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Texas Fire Captain Suspended Over Facebook Posts

A fire captain in Austin, Texas has been suspended for 30 days without pay for posting political comments on Facebook. Captain Gregory Zenkner agreed to the terms of the discipline rather than face an indefinite suspension (a Texas term for termination) or a demotion.

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Can a Firefighter Violate a Person’s Fourth Amendment Rights?

Today’s burning question: I know that police can violate a person’s Fourth Amendment rights by conducting a search without a warrant, but can a firefighter? Answer: The 4th Amendment is not limited to police officers but applies to searches by government. I know we don’t think of ourselves this way, but firefighters are governmental agents and thus the 4th Amendment does apply to us.

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Massachusetts Firefighter Terminated Amidst Allegations of Discrimination

A Brookline firefighter who is suing the fire department for race discrimination has been terminated following a public hearing before the town’s Board of Selectmen. Gerald Alston was fired at the hearing today. He had been out of work since May of 2012, and filed suit against the city last December claiming he was the victim of blatant race discrimination and retaliation.

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Houston Loses Battle to Unilaterally Restructure Firefighter Pensions

A Texas appellate court has denied the appeal of the City of Houston in its efforts to unilaterally restructure its firefighter pension system to save money. The city sued the Houston Firefighters' Relief & Retirement Fund in 2014 claiming that pension costs were driving it toward bankruptcy seeking a declaratory judgment that the pension arrangement was unconstitutional.

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