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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

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

Eleventh Circuit Expands FLSA Protection for Undocumented Workers

On March 6, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that permits undocumented workers to recover back pay from their employers for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In Lamonica v. Safe Hurricane Shutters, Inc., --- F. 3d ----, 2013 WL 811906 (11th Cir. Mar. 6, 2013), the Eleventh Circuit upheld a District Court decision awarding unpaid wages and liquidated damages to former employees, including one worker who was not authorized to work in the United States, who alleged that they were owed overtime wages under the FLSA. This was not a case of first impression for the Eleventh Circuit; the Court had previously held that undocumented workers could state a cause of action under the FLSA in Patel v. Quality Inn S., 846 F. 2d 700 (11th Cir. 1988). However, Hurricane Shutters, Inc. argued that Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137, 122 S. Ct. 1275, 152 L. Ed. 271 (2002), a Supreme Court case which held that the National Labor Relations Board could not award back pay to undocumented workers who are terminated for union activity, effectively overruled Patel. The Eleventh Circuit disagreed, stating that the case was not controlling authority because it involved a different statute and different issues; whereas the employees in Hoffman alleged they were owed back pay for being deprived a job, the employees in Lamonica claimed they were owed back pay for work already performed.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationFederal Law
Tags: Collective BargainingMiami 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 AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysEleventh Circuit Court of AppealsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Brooke P. Dolara

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

Florida Division of Retirement Letters Signal Changes to Interpretation Regarding Use of Tax Revenues to Fund Pensions

Recently, the Florida Division of Retirement (the “Division”) issued letters to the Cities of Naples and Hollywood concerning those Cities’ eligibility for and use of future premium tax revenues to fund their respective police and fire pension obligations under Chapters 175 and 185, Florida Statutes. These letters reflect an important change to the Division’s previous position concerning a municipality’s eligibility for and use of premium tax revenues.

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingRaquel ElejabarrietaBrett J. SchneiderFlorida LegislatureFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Raquel Elejabarrieta

WSH Achieves Significant Victory in Arbitration for Public Employer

On August 10, 2012, the firm obtained a significant arbitration victory for the City of Miramar in a case involving a former police officer who was terminated after he had been found to be psychologically unfit for duty by a City-appointed psychologist.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentAlternative Dispute Resolution
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 AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment Attorney
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider

EEOC Placing Greater Focus on Remedying "Systemic" Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") recently announced its strategic plan for fiscal years 2012-2016 where it indicated that it will focus more on remedying systemic discrimination.    The EEOC describes systemic cases as those “that address pattern or practice, policy or class cases where the alleged discrimination has a broad impact on an industry, occupation, business or geographic area.” The crux of a systemic case is that the alleged discrimination affects a group of individuals rather than one individual.  According to the strategic plan, by the end of fiscal year 2016 a percent (yet to be determined) of cases in the EEOC’s docket will be systemic cases.  This, according to the strategic plan, will provide the EEOC with an incentive to conduct systemic investigations. 

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationFederal LawFederal CourtsAdministrative Law
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingJamie A. ColeRaquel ElejabarrietaEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaEmployee MisconductMatthew 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 AttorneysMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Raquel Elejabarrieta

Founding Member Richard Jay Weiss to Speak at Good Government Initiative

On March 22, Founding Member Richard Jay Weiss will be speaking at the Good Government Initiative as part of a four member panel discussing “The Tension over Pensions: Good Public Policy or Obsolete Extravagance?” The Good Government Initiative is a program that provides early-career elected and appointed officials with leadership training and community conversations with the public to consider issues important to governance in the community. The Good Government Initiative was founded by former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, who will serve as the moderator for the upcoming panel.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentContracts
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingSunshine LawGovernmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentEthicsSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentAwards & RecognitionsMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinUnemployment CompensationEmployee MisconductNational Labor Relations BoardFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysMatthew 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 LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara