On January, 22, 2009, The East Valley Tribune, based in Phoenix, Arizona reported that The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) lost its federal lawsuit against the City of Phoenix, Arizona that sought pay for officers to put on and take off uniforms and protective equipment. 

The Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, which represents about 2,200 sworn officers, lost the civil lawsuit against the city which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Arizona.  The issue, commonly referred to as "donning and doffing", has been an important issue with not only police officers in Phoenix, Arizona, but also law enforcement officials and public safety officers through out the country.  In its ruling, the court stated that the Phoenix Police Department’s policy generally does not provide for compensation to sworn personnel for time spent donning and doffing their uniforms and gear outside the scheduled work shift.

The ruling comes as the Mesa Police Association, representing about 600 sworn officers, is moving forward with appeals in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and the Arizona Court of Appeals.

In an interview with the East Valley Tribune, Fabian Cota, President of the Mesa and Arizona police associations stated that  "The issue is a little more complicated than just taking your pants on and off…This is a legitimate Fair Labor Standards Act issue. There are issues here regarding pay, and what is work and what isn’t, and that needs to be determined through the court."  Cota further stated that "There is no uniformity or consistency in the court’s decisions on the issue since courts in other states have ruled for police departments that an officer’s work day begins when they start putting on their uniforms and equipment".

As this issue develops further throughout the country will will keep our readers updated as this issue is important as it pertains to pay, and potentially overtime pay, for law enforcement and public safety officers through out the state of New Jersey. 

 

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog (www.njpublicsafetyofficers.com) approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.