Chief’s Counsel: Disability Liability and Creative Solutions

Whether in reality or simply by the eye test, peace officer duty–related health issues such as injury and disability claims seem to be an increasingly significant area of liability for police departments and sheriffs’ offices. To compound matters, disability issues are becoming not only more frequent, but also more complicated. Perhaps one of the most well-known facets of these legal issues in the United States is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations for their employees with medical or psychological issues. Although the ADA certainly impacts a majority of U.S. employers, state laws also provide areas of significant legal liability for public entities, particularly in the form of peace officer disability benefits for work-related injuries.

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As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Alito noted in Birchfield v. North Dakota, “[d]runk drivers take a grisly toll on the Nation’s roads, claiming thousands of lives, injuring many more victims, and inf...
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The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 provides one of the most important legal protections afforded to employees in the United States. Eligible employees who work for a covered employer can ...
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At the end of 2016, approximately 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia had decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes, recreational purposes, or both. Each state’s laws vary to significan...
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This column was originally written before the November 2016 injunction referenced herein was issued, so some last-minute modifications have been made to the content. However, it contains valuable info...