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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

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

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

Divided Supreme Court Upholds Maryland DNA Collection Act

On Monday, a divided Supreme Court upheld the Maryland DNA Collection Act and ruled that police officers may take DNA samples from arrestees as part of a routine arrest booking procedure for serious crimes. In a 5-4 split, the Court likened swabbing of an arrestee’s inner cheek with a “Q-Tip-like” swab to that of taking fingerprints from an arrestee and held: “When officers make an arrest supported by probable cause to hold for a serious offense and they bring the suspect to the station to be detained in custody, taking and analyzing a cheek swab of the arrestee's DNA is, like fingerprinting and photographing, a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”

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Categories: LitigationFederal LawFederal CourtsConstitutional Law
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersGovernmental LitigationSara E. AulisioJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Sara E. Aulisio

WSH Labor and Employment Lawyers Obtain Summary Judgment for City in Discriminatory Discharge Case

On April 23, WSH attorneys Brett J. Schneider and Alison F. Smith obtained summary judgment in favor of the City of Lauderhill in a federal lawsuit brought by a former City maintenance worker. The Plaintiff alleged, among other things, that the City discriminated against him on the basis of his age and national origin, retaliated against him for making a discrimination complaint, and ultimately terminated his employment because of his age and national origin. Judge Robin Rosenbaum, in a 30 page written order, adopted many of the arguments made by Brett and Alison and granted summary judgment as to all seven counts in the Complaint.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigation
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingGovernmental LitigationJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaAlison F. SmithFort 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 Lawyers

WSH Labor Attorneys Win Arbitration For City of Lauderhill

On April 11, 2013, attorneys Brett J. Schneider and Alison F. Smith obtained a significant arbitration victory for the City of Lauderhill, in a case involving a former City police officer who was terminated because he admitted to engaging in criminal activity while on duty as a Lauderhill police officer while underdoing polygraph examinations in connection with jobs he was seeking with two other Florida law enforcement agencies. In his defense, the employee claimed that he fabricated stories about engaging in criminal activity during those polygraph examinations because he wanted to fail the polygraph examinations, as he was no longer interested in working for those agencies. The City argued that it had just cause to terminate the employee because, whether he had in fact engaged in criminal activity on duty or had lied about doing so, neither lying nor engaging in criminal activity is a trait that any law enforcement officer should possess. The arbitrator agreed and denied the employee’s grievance in its entirety, holding that, as a law enforcement officer, the employee was required to demonstrate honesty and integrity and, failing that, could not have his employment salvaged by the City.

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingBrett 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

WSH Labor Attorneys Achieve Arbitration Victory for Bay Harbor Islands

On February 1, 2013, the firm obtained an arbitration victory for the Town of Bay Harbor Islands in a case involving a claim by the Dade County Police Benevolent Association (the “Union”) that the Town violated its collective bargaining agreement with the Union when it unilaterally implemented a policy requiring all Town police officers and sergeants to wear bullet proof vests while on duty. Brett J. Schneider and Mia R. Martin defended the Town against the Union’s claim. The Town successfully argued that the Union had waived its right to challenge the policy by not timely filing a grievance regarding the implementation of the policy and that the Town’s implementation of that policy did not violate any provision of the parties’ agreement and was an extension of the Town’s management rights.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentAlternative Dispute Resolution
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingAwards & RecognitionsBrett 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 LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMia R. Martin
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

Florida Supreme Court Upholds Mandatory 3% Contributions to Pension Plan by Public Employees

In a much anticipated ruling, the Florida Supreme Court ruled (4-3) against government employees by upholding a 2011 law requiring government employees in Florida to contribute 3% of their earnings to a state retirement fund (i.e., the Florida Retirement System (“FRS”)). The ruling reverses County Circuit Court Judge Jackie Fulford’s ruling that the pension changes were unconstitutional because they impaired the obligation of contracts, took private property without full compensation and impaired the right of government employees to bargain collectively.

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersCollective BargainingGovernmental LitigationFlorida Supreme CourtRaquel ElejabarrietaBrett J. SchneiderFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor Lawyer
Author(s): Raquel Elejabarrieta

WSH Achieves Dismissal of High-Profile Case for City of Homestead

Last week, WSH Founding Member Joseph H. Serota and Partner Matthew H. Mandel achieved a significant victory for the City of Homestead in a high-profile case brought by a former city employee. Circuit Court Judge Jorge E. Cueto dismissed former city administrator Johanna Faddis’ lawsuit against the city and its elected officials finding that Faddis lied under oath multiple times and thereby forfeited her right to seek relief from the court.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationTorts
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersGovernmental LitigationSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Matthew H. Mandel & Brooke P. Dolara