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  1. #1
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    Default Playboy in the firehouse?

    I am just trying to confirm a rumor about adult magazines in the firehouse. Is there precedence set on this as far as allowing these mags in the station as long as it isn't openly displayed?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by truckdog
    I am just trying to confirm a rumor about adult magazines in the firehouse. Is there precedence set on this as far as allowing these mags in the station as long as it isn't openly displayed?

    Thanks
    Work setting in a public service, kind of simple to figure out if it is acceptable or not. Your bunk room is not a personal barricks room.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    I thought there was a case in California that went to the Suprem Court on this. Must keep them in your locker, thats considered private space.

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    I think the boys have them in thier washroom...no big deal to me!! Whatever helps you go..

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    A Captain for LA county FD challenged the depts. rule that no pornographic matterials were permitted at the firehouse. He told the dept. it was a 1st ammendment violation and the case ended up in federal court.

    The judge sided with the Captain saying that his 1st ammendment rights outweighed the fire depts rules and that (even though 2 femele FFs testified that people often commented loudly about the magazines and showed pictures to them unwantingly) the dept failed to proove that him reading the magazine alone, in prvate during rest hours created a hostile work environment (the basis on the depts. ban on the matterials).

    So long story short, case law and precident is on the side of skin mags.

    On a side note, if you cannot go without porn for 24 hours, seek help. Although I am guilty of reading Maxim and Stuff at the firehouse, but those are actually magazines the station subscribes too !

    Lammrover
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    Here is a brief summary of the case in which is refered in prior posts on this thread:

    Workplace display of sexually explicit material-
    -photos, magazines, or posters--may constitute
    hostile work environment harassment, even though
    the private possession, reading, and consensual
    sharing of such materials is protected under the
    Constitution.


    The second half that I have bolded basicly refers to the following case law.
    Johnson v. Los Angeles County Fire Department,
    DC C Calif., CV 93-7589, October 28, 1994.


    In it establishes that during unregulated time at your "defacto" home (aka firehouse) you are permitted to read and share any materials allowed under the 1st Amendment of the Constitution of these United States.

    There is a number of supporting cases which also justifies the courts ruling and it an excelent read as to the rights of all employees especially public sector ones. I highly suggest you read it.

    FTM-PTB

    PS-Lamrover...I think you need to review the case...your inference that they showed these women the publications and made loud comments isn't anywhere in the summary that I have read and it covers all the topics. I think you recieved bad information. The women as I recall attempted to claim that they were concerned about its "presumed presence" and the "thoughts" that it potentially could create in the minds of the coworkers.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-02-2006 at 10:58 PM.

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    Here is a brief question/answer opinion from an on line managerial legal advice site:

    Does a bodybuilding magazine create a hostile environment? 05-07-03
    I am an administrative level officer in a municipal police department. An employee recently left a bodybuilding magazine on a lunch table. The Chief found the cover of a female in a bikini to be offensive in the workplace. Nobody, including females, complained. He now wants to prohibit all reading material in the workplace unless it is a newspaper, or law related book. Is this legal? Is a proposed policy such as this common? Please let me know your opinion.

    Ann Kiernan replies:

    My opinion is that's unconstitutional! More important, that was the opinion of a federal court in California, when it tackled just about the same problem.

    In an effort to prevent sexual harassment, the Los Angeles Fire Department banned Playboy and other sexually-oriented magazines. A fire captain sued, claiming he had a First Amendment right to possess, read, and consensually share his Playboy magazine at his fire station. And the federal court agreed.

    To help him reach his decision, the judge explained, he had to read a Playboy magazine. In his opinion, the judge said:


    "[The fire captain] has offered testimony that Playboy contains articles relating to politics, sports, arts and entertainment. Playboy also contains stories by prominent authors and interviews with public figures. The Court's perusal of the exhibits confirms this testimony....Accordingly, the Court is compelled to find that his reading of Playboy amounts to expression relating to matters of public concern."
    The judge went on to rule in favor of the fire captain:


    "Defendants' desire to eliminate sexual harassment in the fire stations is laudable. Defendants must, however, do so in a constitutionally permissible manner. Defendants may not ban the reading of Playboy simply because they disagree with the manner in which Playboy portrays women."
    "If defendants choose to impose a content-based regulation on employees' speech, they must produce evidence that the speech contributes directly to a sexually harassing environment. In the present case, they have simply failed to show that plaintiff's quiet reading of Playboy contributes to such an environment. ... Accordingly, the Court must find that the County's sexual harassment policy is invalid as applied to plaintiff's quiet possession, reading and sharing of Playboy magazine."

    Johnson v. County of Los Angeles Fire Dep't, 865 F. Supp. 1430 (C.D. Cal. 1994)

    Based on the facts of your case, it doesn't sound like your chief has any evidence that the bodybuilding magazine contributed to a sexually-harassing work environment. You may want to look up the court opinion at a local law library.

    Note - this case applies only to government work places. Employers in the private sector can ban any reading material they wish.

    FTM-PTB

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    Funny story on the subject. The department next door to me is allowed to have porn mags at the station. The department has 2 female Firefighters. The guys decided to give them a little run for thier money and started leaving girl on girl mags all over the place. The following tour the guys came in and found gay porn mags all over the place. (including in the mens room).
    You tell me who won the war. LOL

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    FFFRED,

    Honestly, I never reviewd the case in the first place. My entire grasp of the court battle stems from a section of my "Legal Aspects of the Fire Service" text book and the course instructor at my college.

    But thanks for taking the effort to expunge upon my post and share more information with us all.

    Lammrover
    "Plan for the worst, hope for the best"

    FF/EMT: Nimishillen Township FD
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    hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm learn something new every day .............
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
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    Talking

    Like I say...whatever helps you go.. seen one seen them alll.. isn't that how it goes??

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    Talking Please, miss-I know

    Quote Originally Posted by johnemt76
    Funny story on the subject. The department next door to me is allowed to have porn mags at the station. The department has 2 female Firefighters. The guys decided to give them a little run for thier money and started leaving girl on girl mags all over the place. The following tour the guys came in and found gay porn mags all over the place. (including in the mens room).
    You tell me who won the war. LOL
    Was it the centrefold picture of the Chief in the Gay magazine that clinched it?

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    Cool This is really interesting........

    I never knew that there was a lawsuit filed like this..... I had this battle in one of my Departments. A Captain was offended by what one of our FFs had in his bedroom (we all have seperate bedroom/bunkrooms) when I was approached about it my two cents was, that it is his room..... I don't personally care what he does in there, as long as the public is not able to see.
    Now, reading this I have legal law to back my play.....
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

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    I've heard of career house's that won't allow Firehouse, Fire Engineering, or Fire Chief magazines at their stations.

    Too many times has it created a hostile work environment because the front cover showed vollies working a job!

    Sorry guys, couldn't resist....
    Chris Shields
    Lieutenant / EMT
    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

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    Default LA County - notes from a long ago interview

    I interviewed the captain who initiated the lawsuit.

    He was working in a very remote station in the desert. The lawsuit was in response to a ban of all "adult-oriented" material from all parts of the fire station. As a very senior captain and a former union board member, the lawsuit may have been generated by other issues between him and the fire chief (his words.)

    His issue was that he should be able to read such material in the privacy of the men's bunkroom. It is outside of the public area of the station and neither visitors nor female employees would have access to this area. This matches mikeyboy's response.

    Other large fire departments have successfully banned adult-oriented magazines from every area of the fire station in an effort to reduce one factor that would contribute to a hostile workplace complaint or validate an employee's perception of a work atmosphere that promotes sexual harassment.

    If we are talking about individuals that are employees of a county, city, fire protection district or town - the municipality is empowered to dictate what material or activities are prohibited at the work location.

    The trend is to treat the fire station as a workplace, not a home away from home.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-09-2006 at 05:00 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard
    The trend is to treat the fire station as a workplace, not a home away from home.

    Mike
    Gotta agree with Mike on this one. It doesn't take too much to go one whole day without looking at adult oriented material.

    If it is the articles that appeal to you, copy them and bring them in.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86
    Gotta agree with Mike on this one. It doesn't take too much to go one whole day without looking at adult oriented material.

    If it is the articles that appeal to you, copy them and bring them in.
    Do you have something against the Constitution of these United States?

    It has been found to be an Unconstitutional ban on ones 1st Amendment rights, you did read that part, correct?

    I can say the Communist Manifesto, National Geographic, Time magainze, the NY Times, encyclopedias, certain literary works (no photos mind you), swimsuit Ads or sections in a Eddie Bauer catalogue all could fit under the all encompasing heading of Adult Oriented materials that some departments have used in the past to no avail.

    What if I unilaterally decided a contract provision of yours wasn't important enough in my opinion and lets say forced you to work OT at less than 1 1/2 pay or even pay you at all? Would you be upset? It is against the law to do so...but since I as a manager could disagree with your right to recieve proper pay for work...I figured you'd be fine with it...does that sound appropriate?

    We can't pick and choose the laws we like and the ones we don't...you can take it to court if you like..but you still must live with it until then and to do otherwise undermines our entire legal system and the rights of firemen in general.

    I personally don't care what you read or look at in your down time and I don't expect anyone to care one way or the other on what I'm reading either.

    As for the "successful bans" and "trends"...could you show us the court cases that support your position? I do know for a fact in many including one in which I worked in...when faced with a lawsuit from the ACLU over this issue Depts have dropped their attempts at regulation of reading materials in the firehouse that are used during down times.

    You show me where a Dept won in Federal District Court after this decision and I'll admit I was wrong...however after doing much research on this and listening to the opions of lawyers...I would have to say any bans in effect today under similar terms as those found in the 9th Circut case are only there because they haven't been challenged in court.

    Mike you might have interviewed this guy but you listened to what you wanted to hear...the court case is public record and the location of his firehouse had nothing to do with the decision of the court nor does his personal relationship with the Chief. There are many pages one can read on the subject and it thoroughly supports the rights of public employees...specifically firemen in what they can do during unregulated hours.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-09-2006 at 07:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    Do you have something against the Constitution of these United States?
    Nope

    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    Mike you might have interviewed this guy but you listened to what you wanted to hear. There are many pages one can read on the subject and it thoroughly supports the rights of public employees...specifically firemen in what they can do during unregulated hours.
    I am sorry that adding non-essential details may have obscured my main point - the captain prevailed because he was in ". . . quiet possession, reading and sharing of Playboy magazine while in the bunkroom. He specifically pointed out that the magazines were not in the kitchen, dayroom or areas that were available to the public.

    That was one of the key points that invalidated the chief's sweeping order.

    As far I as I know, it is the only example of this issue to result in a federal court ruling. LA County did not appeal this court decision and the directive was revised to reflect the court's ruling.

    Unfortunately, unless you are in the 9th district, the battle may need to be fought in the other ten federal judicial districts. Just like the FLSA lawsuits, there could be different decisions by different judges in different districts.

    In addition, this plaintiff had nothing to lose in proceeding with the lawsuit. With three decades on the job there was nothing that the department could do to him (officially or unofficially) that would encourage him to drop the lawsuit.

    He also received legal support from a publisher. I state this not to discourage others from pursuing the protection of their first admendment rights, just pointing out that this plantiff enjoyed a good risk-reward equation as he started this process.
    Last edited by MikeWard; 06-09-2006 at 08:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard
    As far I as I know, it is the only example of this issue to result in a federal court ruling. LA County did not appeal this court decision and the directive was revised to reflect the court's ruling.

    Unfortunately, unless you are in the 9th district, the battle may need to be fought in the other ten federal judicial districts. Just like the FLSA lawsuits, there could be different decisions by different judges in different districts.
    Yes most of us are aware there are many courts and as with any law they can be affirmed and they can just as easily be reversed. One can though easily read the many supporting cases in completely unrelated topics and see that the rights of a fireman during un-regulated hours in so much as they really can't tell you what to read or not to read to yourself. Only time will tell.

    In addition, this plaintiff had nothing to lose in proceeding with the lawsuit. With three decades on the job there was nothing that the department could do to him (officially or unofficially) that would encourage him to drop the lawsuit.

    He also received legal support from a publisher. I state this not to discourage others from pursuing the protection of their first admendment rights, just pointing out that this plantiff enjoyed a good risk-reward equation as he started this process.
    Personally I see it as right and wrong...if my rights are being violated I should stand up and protect them...lord knows there are many men who met untimely deaths who risked much much more than I have to protect theirs. Just the same anyone who feels they should allow their rights whether contractual or constitutional, be trampled upon for mere convience..doesn't deserve them in the first place.

    Nothing against you personally...I was a member of a dept where this case was brought up by the ACLU and the city obviously saw they were in the wrong and reveresed their policy. I don't take lightly to persons who insinuate that any employer, government or otherwise can determine what I can or can't read as an adult. Sorry if I was a little harsh.

    FTM-PTM

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnemt76
    Funny story on the subject. The department next door to me is allowed to have porn mags at the station. The department has 2 female Firefighters. The guys decided to give them a little run for thier money and started leaving girl on girl mags all over the place. The following tour the guys came in and found gay porn mags all over the place. (including in the mens room).
    You tell me who won the war. LOL
    Well if you have to have females in the firehouse, then those are the kind of females you want. Not some little feminist cry baby who's going to complain about every little thing that offends her.

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    We have Playboys laying around the bathrooms and Maxim, Edge, Stuff and everything else laying around the rest of the firehouse. I don't mind, I'll read whatever is around. But truth be told, Playboy and any other porn magazine probably don't belong in the firehouse. And porn shouldn't be accessed on the computers either. Besides, porn is better enjoyed in the privacy of your own home.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironmint
    We have Playboys laying around the bathrooms and Maxim, Edge, Stuff and everything else laying around the rest of the firehouse. I don't mind, I'll read whatever is around. But truth be told, Playboy and any other porn magazine probably don't belong in the firehouse. And porn shouldn't be accessed on the computers either. Besides, porn is better enjoyed in the privacy of your own home.
    Truth be told?

    Ever seen the Macy's Bra and panty Ad in the Times? Or what of the Victorias Secret Ads? What do you think of at least 1/3rd of the usual content of the NY POST? How about National Geographic?

    Should we make any of you the Grand Inquisitor who can tell us what we may read?

    The above are equivilant or more risque' than the items listed...are those also banned fom the reading list?

    Who cares what guys read at the firehouse? Everyone of us will be dead in 100years...is any of this going to matter? Is what you or I do during our down time at the firehouse really matter? Enjoy life now brothers...it is very, very short.

    I took an oath to uphold the constitution of these United States, that of the State of New York and the Laws of the City of New York. I didn't take some oath of sainthood or righeousness that requires me to conform to someone elses desires of what I may or may not read while working for the city, employment doesn't equate to me surendering my inalienable rights. (some of you would benefit by looking up the definition of "inalienable")

    Not refering at you directly Ironmint but It is truely amazing to me how much some on here take their rights for granted? Does anyone remember how many men gave their lives so some of you could just **** away your rights without so much as a second thought?

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 06-23-2006 at 09:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    Truth be told?

    Ever seen the Macy's Bra and panty Ad in the Times? Or what of the Victorias Secret Ads? What do you think of at least 1/3rd of the usual content of the NY POST? How about National Geographic?

    Should we make any of you the Grand Inquisitor who can tell us what we may read?

    The above are equivilant or more risque' than the items listed...are those also banned fom the reading list?

    Who cares what guys read at the firehouse? Everyone of us will be dead in 100years...is any of this going to matter? Is what you or I do during our down time at the firehouse really matter? Enjoy life now brothers...it is very, very short.

    I took an oath to uphold the constitution of these United States, that of the State of New York and the Laws of the City of New York. I didn't take some oath of sainthood or righeousness that requires me to conform to someone elses desires of what I may or may not read while working for the city, employment doesn't equate to me surendering my inalienable rights. (some of you would benefit by looking up the definition of "inalienable")

    Not refering at you directly Ironmint but It is truely amazing to me how much some on here take their rights for granted? Does anyone remember how many men gave their lives so some of you could just **** away your rights without so much as a second thought?

    FTM-PTB
    Fred, you sound like a volunteer here. You're a professional fireman, act like it. I guarantee you that none of the citizens you serve would be very pleased to hear that you sit around the firehouse reading porno magazines. And there is a clear difference between a Playboy and the New York Post. To even compare the two is asinine. If the city wants to come to you and tell you what you're not allowed to read when you're on shift, they have every right to. They're paying you, so you have to abide by their rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironmint
    Fred, you sound like a volunteer here. You're a professional fireman, act like it.
    That is a seriously low blow and a completley biased statement. A career firefighter is no more a professional firefighter than a dedicated volunteer. YEs there are some bad apples but such a sweeping generazlization is completley uncalled for. I hate to bring it up but such a statement sounds like somthing JonnyBoyCan ( sorry to mention him) would say.


    Sorry to hijack this thread, just thought that this was something that needed to be said.
    Do a little dance, make a little rum, Italian Ice! Italian Ice!

    Actual lyric: Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight.
    (KC & The Sunshine Band "Do A Little Dance")

    My thoughts are mine alone and do not represent the thoughts of any Organization to which I am affiliated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ironmint
    Fred, you sound like a volunteer here. You're a professional fireman, act like it. I guarantee you that none of the citizens you serve would be very pleased to hear that you sit around the firehouse reading porno magazines. And there is a clear difference between a Playboy and the New York Post. To even compare the two is asinine. If the city wants to come to you and tell you what you're not allowed to read when you're on shift, they have every right to. They're paying you, so you have to abide by their rules.
    Listen kid,

    Your ignorance of this subject matter is probably larger than you think. First review what the policies that Departments develop, then review the case law that deals with the situation (some of which I posted earlier) and tell us again that a city has the right to determine what you do and don't read privately during your down time.

    When you read the policies regarding publications one may not read...most often they define the material in such a manner that also would include the very publications you said are perfectly fine...however who says you can decide which publications I can read? Could I read a book on Renisance paintings, some of which are nudes?

    If you have a relevant point backed up with facts...then lets hear it...we are all waiting. You are entitled to your opinion...however it doesn't jive with case law or the Constitution of these United States.

    FTM-PTB

    PS-For the record employment for the city doesn't equate to one surrendering their inalienable rights..check it out.

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