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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

Federal Judge Holds Florida Executive Order Requiring Drug Testing for State Workers Unconstitutional

Today U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that Governor Rick Scott’s Executive Order 11-58 providing for pre-employment drug testing and random drug testing of state employees violates the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. See American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 79 v. Rick Scott, Case No. 11-civ-21976-UU. “To be reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, a search ordinarily must be based on individualized suspicion of wrongdoing,” Judge Ungaro wrote in her order, citing previous U.S. Supreme Court orders that ruled that urine tests are considered government searches.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationGovernment AffairsFederal LawFederal Courts
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersGovernmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentJamie A. ColeRaquel ElejabarrietaEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth 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 LawyersMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Raquel Elejabarrieta

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

Mandatory Contribution by Public Employees of 3% Earnings to FRS Declared Unconstitutional

In a long awaited opinion, Judge Jackie Fulford issued a decision on March 6, 2012, in which shedeclared unconstitutional a requirement that government employees in Florida contribute 3% of their earnings to a state retirement fund (i.e., the Florida Retirement System). Judge Fulford wrote in her opinion that the Legislature committed “an unconstitutional impairment of plaintiff’s contract with the State of Florida, an unconstitutional taking of private property without full compensation, and an abridgement of the rights of public employees to collectively bargain over conditions of employment.” This ruling could cost the state more than $1 billion a year. The ruling does not impact the 3% contribution to the state retirement fund from employees hired after July 1, 2011, when the law went into place.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationConstitutional LawContracts
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersCollective BargainingGovernmental LitigationSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentFlorida Supreme CourtJamie A. ColeRaquel ElejabarrietaEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaFlorida LegislatureMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth 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): Brett J. Schneider & Raquel Elejabarrieta

DBR Recognizes WSH as One of the Ten Most Diverse Law Firms in South Florida

On January 23, the Daily Business Review released the names of the 25 most diverse law firms in South Florida.  This year, WSH was named the 10th most diverse firm, coming ahead of large law firms such as Greenberg Traurig, Akerman Senterfitt, and Becker & Poliakoff. 

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Categories: Awards & Recognitions
Tags: Awards & RecognitionsDaniel L. AbbottLillian M. ArangoSara E. AulisioMitchell A. BiermanNina L. BoniskeGary L. BrownMitchell J. BurnsteinJonathan CohenJamie A. ColeJeffrey DeCarloIgnacio G. Del ValleBrooke P. DolaraRaquel ElejabarrietaChad S. FriedmanAlan L. GabrielDouglas R. GonzalesEdward G. GuedesStephen J. HelfmanEric P. HockmanHarlene Silvern KennedyJoshua D. KrutKathryn M. MehaffeyAleida Martinez MolinaAlexander L. Palenzuela-MauriGilberto PastorizaMatthew J. PearlMichael S. PopokTimothy M. RavichAnthony L. RecioAmy J. SantiagoBrett J. SchneiderClifford A. SchulmanDaniel A. SeigelGail D. SerotaJoseph H. SerotaJonathan C. ShamresEstrellita S. SibilaAlison F. SmithAnthony C. SorokaEduardo M. SotoJoanna D. ThomsonSusan L. TrevarthenPeter D. WaldmanRichard Jay WeissLaura K. WendellJames E. WhiteDavid M. WolpinSamuel 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 Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawMiami Aviation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Condominium Association AttorneysMiami Condominium Association AttorneysSouth Florida Condominium Association AttorneysFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Airport LawSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation LawyersSouth Florida Private Transactions AttorneysSouth Florida Private Transactions LawyersFort Lauderdale Private Transactions AttorneysMiami Private Transactions AttorneysSouth Florida Public Transactions LawFort Lauderdale Public Transactions LawMiami Public Transactions Law Matthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale Eminent Domain AttorneysMiami Eminent Domain AttorneysSourth Florida Eminent Domain AttorneysScope of the Project RuleFort Lauderdale Homeowners' Association AttorneysMiami Homeowners' Association AttorneysSouth Florida Homeowners' Association AttorneysFort Lauderdale Bankruptcy AttorneysMiami Bankruptcy AttorneysSouth Florida Bankruptcy 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 Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysFort 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 AttorneysRobert MeyersAdrian J. AlvarezAlternative Dispute ResolutionJohanna M. LundgrenFlorida 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 LawyerFort Lauderdale Tax AttorneyMiami Construction LawyerMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Eminent Domain AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneyMiami Real Estate LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

WSHPC&B's Alison Smith Is the New Secretary of the Caribbean Bar Association in South Florida

Alison F. Smith, an associate in our Broward office, has been elected as the Secretary of the Caribbean Bar Association, a voluntary bar association in South Florida with more than 150 lawyers in both the private and public sector that has partnered with numerous international powerhouse organizations to call attention to Caribbean-American issues.  In addition to her new position, Alison provides a substantial amount of her time to the Stephen R. Booher American Inn of Court, a program devoted to improving professionalism and ethics for both the bar and bench. Alison also served as the President of the Student Bar Association at Nova Southeastern University Law School, where she graduated magna cum laude and also served on the NSU Law Review.

You can read more about the Caribbean Bar Association and its mission here.

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Categories: Awards & Recognitions
Tags: Awards & RecognitionsJamie A. ColeRaquel ElejabarrietaEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaAlison F. SmithFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute 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 AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law Attorneys
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

Changes to Florida Statutes Place Greater Restrictions on Public Employee Bonuses and Severance Pay

On June 17, 2011, Governor Scott signed Senate Bill 88 (the “Bill”) into law, which amends Section 215.425, Florida Statutes, in two material ways. As summarized below, the Bill contains significant restrictions on bonuses and severance pay for public employees.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentGovernment AffairsLocal Government
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersSenate Bill 88Mitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeRaquel ElejabarrietaChad S. FriedmanBrett J. SchneiderRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation Lawyers
Author(s): Raquel Elejabarrieta

PERC Victory for WSHPC&B Attorneys Brett J. Schneider and Raquel Elejabarrieta

The Florida Public Employees Relations Commission ("PERC") issued a Final Order yesterday dismissing an International Union of Painters and Allied Trades' unfair labor practice charge against the City of Deerfield Beach. Brett J. Schneider and Raquel Elejabarrieta represented the City in the unfair labor practice proceeding before PERC.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLocal Government
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentRaquel ElejabarrietaBrett J. Schneider
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Brooke P. Dolara

Brett J. Schneider and Raquel Elejabarrieta Win Arbitration For City Of Deerfield Beach

On August 2, the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission issued a Final Order in favor of the City of Deerfield Beach in a claim filed against the City by a former City mechanic alleging that his layoff from city employment violated state veterans' preference law. Brett J. Schneider and Raquel Elejabarrieta represented the City in this matter. The Commission upheld the Hearing Officer's recommendations on procedural and substantive issues, all of which were favorable to the City.

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersCollective BargainingRaquel ElejabarrietaBrett J. Schneider
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara