Public Employment Update

Deborah Edgerly was the former city administrator of the City of Oakland. She brought a lawsuit against the City, alleging retaliatory discharge in retaliation for her refusal to violate charter, code and civil service rules and regulations. She brought her claim under Labor Code 1102.5, a whistle blower protection statute.

The Court of Appeals held that there is nothing in the City Charter, ordinances or rules that even suggests these have the effect of state statutes. Thus, a whistle blower must allege a violation of a state or federal law. In Ms. Edgerly’s case, she argued that she enforced Oakland’s municipal laws when she rejected reimbursement requests.

In another case from across the Bay in San Francisco, a police officer who had suffered a major heart attacked sued the City and County of San Francisco for physical impairment discrimination, alleging he should have been given a desk job to accommodate his medical condition. The court disagreed and held that police departments need all officers to be able to do strenuous work in the event of an emergency. The court held that the department has a legitimate need to be able to deploy officers in the event of emergencies and other mass mobilizations.

Public employment presents procedural challenges and additional opportunities for former employees to challenge their termination. It is imperative that all time lines (see the excellent blog by Sam Wells on government tort claims–there’s a six month deadline to file that) be complied with. We practice employment law in all major California cities and represent public employees in failure to accommodate and discrimination claims.

We’d be honored to review your public or government employment case matter at no charge! Fill out our on-line form at, and lets talk! Steve Danz