Court dismisses civil rights case brought by City employees with tampered water meters
Eight employees of the City of Lincoln Park were terminated after an investigation. According to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, City officials were confused by their loss of water revenue. After an investigation that started with employees of the Department of Public Services, the officials concluded that many city residents--and in particular City employees--were tampering with water meters and failing to pay for actual consumption. They decided to follow-up by further investigating the employees whose record consumption was far below average.
Ultimately, the City determined that eight or more DPS employees with low water usage were served by meters that showed signs of tampering. The involved employees were discharged, and these eight plaintiffs filed a civil action, alleging they had been fired after an unconstitutional search or in retaliation for exercising their civil right to object to an improper search. The Court examined the facts of the investigation and documented that City employees were uniformly terminated for undocumented water usage and not for any exercise of civil rights.