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U.S. Senate Votes to Pass Employment Non-Discrimination Act

On November 7, 2013, the United States Senate approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)—proposed legislation that would extend federal employment discrimination protections currently provided based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability to sexual orientation and gender identity. ENDA, which is closely modeled on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the American with Disabilities Act, prohibits certain private and public employers from using an individual’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity as the basis for employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, promotion, or compensation. While some states prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual identity and/or gender identity, this vital piece of federal legislation will provide consistent protection for the LGBT community. All eyes are now on the House of Representatives to see if ENDA will make it to the floor to be put to a vote.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentFederal Law
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

WSH Labor & Employment Attorneys Win Appeal For City of Lauderhill

On October 23, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirmed an award of summary judgment in favor of the City of Lauderhill in a seven count complaint filed against the City by Piertus Aristyld, a former City maintenance worker. In his complaint, the Plaintiff had alleged that the City: (1) discriminated against him on the basis of his age and national origin by failing to promote him; (2) retaliated against him for complaining that the failure to promote him was based on discriminatory animus by issuing unwarranted discipline; and (3) terminated his employment in retaliation for his complaint and because of his age and national origin.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationAppellate Law & Practice
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysEleventh Circuit Court of AppealsFamily Medical Leave ActProtected ActivityFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

DOL Issues Clarification on Applicability of FLSA to Unpaid Internships

On September 12, the Department of Labor issued a clarification regarding its statement that law students may work as unpaid interns on pro bono matters at private law firms. Unpaid internships have become a hot button issue; in June, a federal judge for the Southern District of New York held that a major motion picture studio violated federal and State minimum wage laws when it failed to pay two interns for work they completed on the film “Black Swan” in 2009 and 2010. In a letter penned to the American Bar Association Immediate Past President Laurel G. Bellows, Solicitor of Labor M. Patricia Smith explained that a law school student who performs work for his or her own educational benefit would not be considered an employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) where the following criteria are met:

  1. The internship is similar to training that would have been given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under the supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to waves for the time spent in the internship.

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Brett J. SchneiderNational Labor Relations BoardFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Environmental LawFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment LawyersFair Labor Standards Act
Author(s): Brett J.Schneider & Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Obtains Significant Arbitration Victory for the City of Homestead

On August 22, 2013, the firm obtained a significant arbitration victory for the City of Homestead, in a case involving a former police officer who was terminated for committing numerous policy violations. Alison F. Smith defended the City against the employee’s claim that he was terminated without just cause in violation of the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the union that represents its police officers, and argued that the City had just cause for the employee’s termination based on numerous policy violations he had committed while conducting an investigatory stop (some of which could have resulted in harm to himself and the public). In particular, the City contended that just cause existed for the former police officer’s termination because he: (1) failed to notify Dispatch of his correct location and did not call in the stop; (2) failed to call for backup; (3) failed to advise dispatch of his delay in responding to another call to which he had been dispatched while conducting the investigatory stop; and (4) disclosed confidential information from a database that is restricted to law enforcement use and access to that individual. In denying the employee’s grievance, the arbitrator ruled that the evidence presented by the City established that it had just cause for the employee’s termination because the employee’s actions, including his failure to advise dispatch of his correct location while conducting an investigatory stop (which could have compromised his safety and by itself warranted his summary discharge), constituted “extremely serious/major offenses.”

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersBrett J. SchneiderAlison F. SmithFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

EEOC Files Title VII Disparate Impact Discrimination Suits Against Two Large U.S. Corporations

On June 11, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced that it had filed two lawsuits against two companies, BMW and Dolgencorp, in which it alleged that the companies violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by adopting criminal background checks that have a disparate impact on African American applicants.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationAdministrative Law
Tags: Employee MisconductFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Employment LawyersEqual Employment Opportunity Commission
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

Supreme Court Tightens Definition of “Supervisor” in Title VII Employment Discrimination Claims

On June 24, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that limits the definition of a “supervisor” as it relates to employer liability in harassment claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). Title VII protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, and national origin. Under Title VII, an employer is only liable for the harassment of a co-worker if the employer was negligent in controlling workplace conditions. However, an employer may be liable for workplace harassment for the conduct of a supervisor if the harassment culminates in a tangible employment action, such as a significant change in employment status or a decision causing a significant change in benefits. In Vance v. Ball State University, 2013 WL 3155228 (U.S. Jun. 24, 2013), the Supreme Court held that an employee is a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment action against the victim. The ruling has met with significant support from the business community, while opponents lament that it will make it harder for plaintiffs to advance harassment claims against their employers under Title VII.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationFederal Law
Tags: Jamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

Supreme Court Holds Claim Of Unlawful Retaliation Held to Higher Standard of Causation than Discrimination In Title VII Cases

On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court (the “Court”) held that retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act must be proven under the traditional principles of “but-for” causation, requiring proof that the unlawful retaliation would not have occurred in the absence of the alleged wrongful action or actions of the employer. In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 2013 WL 2155234 (U.S. Jun. 24, 2013), the Court rejected the Government and Respondent’s argument that a plaintiff could prevail on a claim of unlawful retaliation if he or she could show that the plaintiff’s protected activity was a “motivating” or “substantial” factor in the employer’s alleged wrongful action, a lessened causation standard. The employer-friendly decision makes it harder for plaintiffs to present a prima facie case of unlawful retaliation under Title VII.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationFederal LawFederal Courts
Tags: Jamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysProtected ActivityFlorida Labor LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

U.S. District Court Judge Holds Interns Working At Motion Picture Studio “Employees” Entitled to FLSA Protections

Earlier this month, a federal district court judge for the Southern District of New York ruled that Fox Searchlight Pictures violated federal and State minimum wage laws when it failed to pay two unpaid interns who worked on the film “Black Swan” from 2009 to 2010. In Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., ----F. Supp. 2d ----, 2013 WL 2495140 (S.D.N.Y. Jun. 11, 2013), Judge William H. Pauley III held that plaintiffs Eric Glatt and Alexander Footman were improperly classified as “unpaid interns” and were actually “employees” protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”).

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationFederal Law
Tags: Employment AgreementsJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Employment LawyersFair Labor Standards Act
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Attorneys Recognized as Florida SuperLawyers

Florida SuperLawyers recently revealed its list of "SuperLawyers" and "Rising Stars" for 2013; each year, the magazine rates outstanding attorneys from more than seventy practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process for SuperLawyers includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations. This year, SuperLawyers recognized twenty WSH attorneys. 

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)Environmental/SustainabilityLitigationCondominium AssociationsLocal GovernmentHomeowners' AssociationsAppellate Law & PracticeAwards & RecognitionsLand Use & Zoning (Private)Construction LawReal Estate
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentGary L. BrownJonathan CohenJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesStephen J. HelfmanEric P. HockmanJoshua D. KrutGilberto PastorizaMatthew J. PearlMichael S. PopokAnthony L. RecioBrett J. SchneiderClifford A. SchulmanJoseph H. SerotaAlison F. SmithSusan L. TrevarthenRichard Jay WeissSamuel I. ZeskindFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerFort Lauderdale Condominium Association AttorneysMiami Condominium Association AttorneysSouth Florida Condominium Association AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale Homeowners' Association AttorneysMiami Homeowners' Association AttorneysSouth Florida Homeowners' Association AttorneysFort Lauderdale Real Estate AttorneysMiami Real Estate AttorneysSouth Florida Real Estate AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Real Estate AttorneysMiami Commercial Real Estate AttorneysSouth Florida Commercial Real Estate AttorneysFort Lauderdale Appellate Law AttorneysMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Environmental Law AttorneysMiami Environmental Law AttorneysSouth Florida Environmental Law Attorneys South Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Community Association LawFlorida Condo Association LawFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Environmental LawFlorida Labor LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Construction LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Real Estate LawyerMiami Construction LawyerMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneyMiami Real Estate LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Labor Partner Wins Arbitration for Town of Golden Beach

On June 10, 2013, WSH Partner Brett J. Schneider obtained an arbitration victory for the Town of Golden Beach (the “Town”) in a dispute with the Fraternal Order of Police (“FOP”) over a 2012 increase in pay to a Town police officer during a time when officer and sergeant salaries were frozen under the collective bargaining agreement. The FOP alleged that the Town increased the officer’s pay from Step 2 ($46,786.00 per year) to Step 5 ($54,160.00 per year) in violation of a contractual salary freeze. The Town responded that it did not provide the officer with a pay increase; rather, it implemented a previously agreed-upon pay increase that had been deferred since 2009. Specifically, the Town asserted that it hired the officer with the expectation that it would pay him at a higher rate due to his prior experience, and entered into a verbal agreement with the officer to defer the implementation of the higher rate. Therefore, because the higher pay rate had already been in place (albeit deferred) prior to the freeze, the Arbitrator concluded that the Town did not violate the pay freeze language in the collective bargaining agreement.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentContractsAlternative Dispute Resolution
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersCollective BargainingBrett J. SchneiderFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Brooke P. Dolara