Public Safety

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore has had the privilege of representing public safety agencies for 30 years, proudly earning the trust and respect of several generations of police chiefs, sheriffs, and fire chiefs. LCW appreciates the emergency nature of employment issues in the public safety context. Our attorneys are always available to provide prompt and expert consultation on issues from administrative leave to interrogations to discipline.

We literally "wrote the book," having authored the CPER Pocket Guides on the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBR) and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act (FBOR) respectively. Our appellate victories, some of which are mentioned below, have helped shaped the way that public safety agencies conduct labor and employment relations on a daily basis.

LCW remains on the cutting edge, regularly publishing articles and presenting workshops regarding labor and employment law issues affecting public safety agencies. We bring our collective legal expertise and practical experience to bear in our clients' cases, from beginning to end.

We routinely review disciplinary investigations to identify the strengths and weaknesses for our clients. We help clients identify appropriate disciplinary measures, and vigorously prosecute ensuing disciplinary appeals. We also handle any related litigation. Indeed, we have skillfully handled hundreds of such cases over three decades.

Representative Matters

  • Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department et al (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 1625, [83 Cal.Rptr.3d 494] - the California Court of Appeal held that pre-interrogation joint meetings by deputies involved in shootings have limitations.

  • Maciel v. City of Los Angeles, 569 F.Supp.2d 1038 (C.D.Cal. 2008) – a federal District Court found in favor of the City on all claims after a seven-day bench trial. The Court found that Maciel failed to present credible evidence supporting his assertion that he worked overtime without reporting it, or that management either knew or should have known that he was not following the Department's overtime reporting policy.  Finally, the Court found that Maciel was not entitled to overtime compensation for his donning and doffing activities because the time spent on those activities did not exceed the applicable threshold for overtime compensation.

  • Benach v. County of Los Angeles (2007), 149 Cal.App.4th 836, 149 Cal.4th 836 - the Court held that removing a deputy from a special assignment as a pilot "without a concomitant loss of pay" is not a punitive action entitling the officer to a POBR administrative appeal.

  • Claremont Police Officers Association v. City of Claremont (2006) 39 Cal.4th 623, a case handled through the court of appeal - the California Supreme Court held that implementation of a racial profiling study by a police department was a management prerogative and was not a mandatory subject of bargaining under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act.

  • Steinert v. City of Covina (2006) 146 Cal.App.4th 458 - the Court of Appeal held that a peace officer was not entitled to the protections of the Act when asked questions by her supervisor in the ordinary course of duty where the supervisor did not suspect that the officer had engaged in serious misconduct.

  • Gilbert v. City of Sunnyvale (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 1264 - the Court of Appeal limited a police officer's right to receive investigatory documents under both the Skelly due process procedures and the Act.

  • Upland Police Officers Association v. City of Upland (2003) 111 Cal. App.4th 1294 - the Court of Appeal held that a peace officer's right of representation under Government Code § 3303(i) is not unlimited. The Court of Appeal held that an officer could not delay an internal affairs interrogation by selecting a representative who was not reasonably available.


Presentations and Trainings:

Below is a list of our featured presentations and recordings. You can also view the full list of our upcoming presentations, or explore our library of webinar recordings.

Featured Presentations

LCW Webinar Recording: Procedural Bill of Rights Act for Police and Fire
March 09, 2016
This webinar will explore the latest legal developments impacting both the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act.  From interrogations to appeal rights to document management, our presenters will discuss the latest cases and statutes.  The presentation will also identify common hazards and provide tips on navigating through potential hazards so your agency can avoid liability. 
LCW Webinar Recording: New Developments in FLSA Litigation
April 13, 2016
The Fair Labor Standards Act governs the wages and hours of every employee in the nation.  However, the FLSA presents special challenges for public safety agencies.  This webinar will educate police and fire agencies on the newest and latest FLSA topics facing public safety agencies in courts and labor negotiations throughout California.  We will address ways to minimize overtime payments, common pitfalls in calculating overtime, and ways to self-correct any potential FLSA liability.  This webinar is a great resource for everyone from Chiefs to operations managers to HR and payroll administrators in any fire or police department.
LCW Webinar Recording: Managing Absenteeism in Light of the New Sick Leave Law
May 11, 2016
As Departments attempt to hold employees more accountable for excessive absenteeism, California law is simultaneously creating broader leave rights for employees. Tracking attendance in light of protected leaves is difficult to navigate, especially when command staff suspect abuse. Effective January 1, 2016, Kin Care law (Protected Sick Leave) has expanded and attempts to hold employees more accountable for excessive absenteeism can be tricky. Can I discipline an officer who called in sick in excess of the Department's absence control policy? Can I request a doctor's note to verify the need for sick leave? Should I mark the officer down in his/her performance evaluation after being out of work for 3 months?  This webinar will give practical tips and guidance for responding to officers who abuse leave and/or are missing too much work while carefully navigating the new Kin Care Law (including other protected leaves) and when fitness for duty may be triggered.
LCW Webinar Recording: The Public's Right to Know vs. Public Safety Officer Privacy Rights
June 08, 2016
Public safety departments continue to be hard pressed to adopt public accountability measures, from access to personnel discipline records to body worn cameras.  In many respects the public's right to know directly conflicts with employee privacy rights and labor relations rules. This one hour webinar will provide an update on the trending issues in this area with step by step guidelines for developing, negotiating and implementing public accountability rules and regulations. Recommended for public safety, human resources and labor relations managers.
LCW Webinar Recording: Lessons Learned from Seibert v. City of San Jose
July 13, 2016
On May 31, 2016, the California Court of Appeal issued a second published FBOR decision, and Seibert is the first case interpreting the unique FBOR provision which limits the statute's application "to the events and circumstances involving the performance of official duties."  This webinar will discuss the court's holding as to when the FBOR applies, and will walk through the chronology of the case, presenting lessons learned from a real life case study.  We will review the alleged acts of misconduct (including a reminder on best practices), and the investigation and findings; assess the potential policies implicated, and the discipline decision and process; discuss the importance of following your agency's own rules; and identify potential pitfalls in an appeal hearing, including witness preparation and evidentiary challenges.  This webinar will provide critical information for both police and fire agencies and employees.
LCW Webinar Recording: Critical Issues in Discipline Appeal Hearings
August 10, 2016
This webinar will involve a comprehensive review of critical issues that can arise during the discipline process that can make or break a discipline case.  From pre-hearing discovery, exchange of witness lists, subpoenas, and pre-hearing motions to practical aspects of the hearing itself, witness testimony, closing briefs and further appeals, our presenters will discuss the latest cases and statutes and provide practical tips to help ensure that terminated safety employees stay terminated.

Representative Matters






To Contact Liebert Cassidy Whitmore:
Los Angeles 310.981.2000 | Fresno 559.256.7800 | San Francisco 415.512.3000 | San Diego 619.481.5900
© 2016 Liebert Cassidy Whitmore