Overview

Whether dealing with aggressive union counsel, needing guidance through the disciplinary process, or assistance with developing strategies to achieve your agency’s personnel goals, our team works closely with management including, police and fire chiefs, sheriffs, and command staff to solve the most difficult problems with effective solutions. Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo has a team of attorneys with expertise in the full spectrum of representational issues related to our public safety practice. AALRR attorneys offer invaluable experience as well as technical expertise critical to public safety management. Our comprehensive services in the area of public safety include: 

  • Advice and Counsel – Our team is skilled in resolving the complex legal issues that arise in the area of public safety, including matters involving the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, Firefighters Bill of Rights Act, California Public Records Act, employee discipline, the Fair Labor Standard Act, Family Medical Leave Act/Reasonable Accommodation/Disability issues, First Amendment/ Freedom of Speech, Whistleblower issues, and public employee retirement benefits. We place significant emphasis on proactive client counseling. Our attorneys develop long-term working relationships with our clients to implement liability reduction techniques, provide practical solutions to difficult problems, provide training, and aggressively defend employers in civil and administrative litigation. As a result of our recognized accomplishments and our commitment to client education, we are frequent speakers before such organizations as Southern California Public Management Association – Human Resources (SCPMA-HR), California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA), Southern California Public Labor Relations Council (SCPLRC), Public Employer Labor Relations Association of California (PELRAC), California Police Chiefs Association (CPCA) and League of California Cities.
  • Disciplinary Matters – Our team has represented clients throughout the entire disciplinary process involving public safety officers. These services include conducting administrative investigations, assessment and strategy regarding proposed disciplinary actions, preparation of disciplinary documentation, and participation in all levels of the disciplinary appeals process, including evidentiary hearings and petitions for writ of mandate in superior court.
  • Collective Bargaining – Our firm has over 40 years of extensive experience representing public agencies and public safety agencies throughout the state in collective bargaining negotiations, labor relations, meet and confer issues, and in grievance arbitrations. Firm members also serve as spokespersons or advisors in negotiations, draft and review proposed contractual language, consult with and advise the administration and governing board regarding the negotiations, and fact-finding, when necessary. Our attorneys also providing strategic behind-the-scenes bargaining and legal advice to numerous clients in labor relations matters.

Noteworthy

Examples of our team’s recent successes representing our public safety clients include:          

  • Defense of agency in five employee appeals of discipline stemming from highly publicized excessive force incident.
  • Sustained termination of employee at disciplinary appeal hearing for dishonesty and poor performance, including providing false information in a police report.
  • Sustained termination of employee at disciplinary appeal hearing and for dishonesty and poor performance, including making false and misleading statements to a supervisor.
  • Sustained suspension of peace officer at disciplinary appeal hearing for use of excessive and unreasonable force during detainment and arrest of suspect.
  • Sustained termination of sheriff’s deputy at disciplinary appeal hearing for gross negligence in the performance of duties, including sleeping on duty and absenting himself from his duties.
  • Sustained termination of sheriff’s deputy at disciplinary appeal hearing for conducting unauthorized warrantless entry into residences of citizens and creating justification for entry after the fact.
  • Sustained demotion of sergeant at disciplinary appeal hearing for alcohol-related off-duty misconduct and conduct unbecoming.
  • Defeat of petition for writ of mandate brought by union challenging cost-sharing provision for disciplinary appeals.
  • Defense of an (FLSA) collective action alleging that the agency improperly excluded cash in lieu of benefits payments from the calculation of the regular rate for purposes of overtime. 
  • Negotiation of successor MOUs involving public safety officer bargaining units for City of Anaheim, City of Long Beach, City of Downey, City of El Segundo, City of Westminster, and City of Pasadena.

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Education Programs

Education Programs

Management, Employee and Command Staff  Education Programs

In order to minimize claims against your agency, we offer various training sessions for management, employees and command staff on specific topics relative to your operations.

Each session provides an overview of the desired topic, including which laws apply and a common-sense approach to reducing liability. Practical case scenarios and short videos are often used to develop awareness of issues and how to handle those situations successfully. Our customized training programs focus on liability reduction techniques and can integrate your specific policies and procedures.  Each interactive and educational session includes comprehensive course materials and most sessions occur in two-hour increments. Fees are determined based on geographic location, number of employees and desired topic(s).  Some of our most requested training sessions include:  

Conducting Effective IA Investigations - A View from All Angles

Our attorney presenters, who have represented police/fire department management and police/fire organizations, will present the nuts and bolts of conducting a thorough and defensible IA investigation and lessons learned from both sides of the aisle. 

FRISK® Leadership Series

The FRISK® Leadership Training Series is a proven communication framework for successfully remediating performance problems. FRISK® lays out, in clear and simple terms, the basic points that evaluators should include in feedback to employees to satisfy just cause requirements, promote positive change, and provide a clear understanding of performance expectations.

Negotiations

What are you entitled to expect from union representatives and what are they entitled to expect from you? This training session will include an overview of the negotiation process, key terms, preparation techniques, and mistakes to avoid.

Sexual Harassment Awareness & Abusive Conduct Prevention Training

Remember that legislation passed under SB1342 requires employers with five or more employees to provide two hours of sexual harassment prevention training to all supervisory employees and one of hour of sexual harassment prevention training to all nonsupervisory employees.

We have developed training that shares our best practices, provides advice, policies & procedures along with our experience to assist your organization to minimize risk associated with harassment claims. The pandemic has created some unique bullying issues and inappropriate behavior (not just blatantly offensive behavior) in both the on-site and virtual workplace that should be addressed. Help your staff understand what sexual harassment is, where it can happen, who it can happen to, and the possible consequences for all involved.

Customized Training:

We would be happy to prepare a customized program which can cover multiple topics or specific issues facing your agency. Please contact our training consultant to develop and schedule a training program customized for your agency.

For more information or to schedule training please contact: Jane Novotny | jnovotny@aalrr.com or 562.653.3409

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