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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

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

Supreme Court Justices Hold Plaintiff’s Claim Moot in Collective Action Under FLSA, Dismissing Case

On April 16, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion that may limit the availability of collective action suits under the Fair Labor Standards Act. By way of background, the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) establishes federal minimum wage and overtime pay requirements that cannot be modified by contract. Section 16(b) of FLSA permits employees to bring a private cause of action on their own behalf and on behalf of “other employees similarly situated” for specific violations of the FLSA. A suit brought on behalf of other employees is known as a “collective action.” The issue before the Court was whether a collective action is justiciable when the lone plaintiff’s individual claim becomes moot.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationFederal LawFederal CourtsClass ActionsCivil Procedure
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 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
Author(s): Brett J. Schneider & Brooke P. Dolara

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

Broward County Implements Wage Payment Law

In January 2013, Broward County implemented an ordinance that makes it easier for employees to take legal action against their employers for non-payment of earned wages. Under Broward County Ordinance 2012-32, if an employee has performed work in Broward County and his/her employer has failed to pay or has underpaid the wage rate applicable for the work performed within a reasonable amount of time from the date on which the employee performed the work, the employee may file a complaint with the Broward County Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Professional Standards (“OIAPS”) to recover those lost wages. Section 20½-2(f) defines a “reasonable time” as no later than 14 calendar days from the date that the work is performed, unless the employer has established a pay schedule whereby employees earn and are consistently paid according to regular pay periods, in which case that pay schedule controls. A complaint will be heard by a hearing officer if:

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentAdministrative Law
Tags: Employment AgreementsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerSouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

Employers Must Exercise Caution in Developing Social Media Policies Aimed at Preventing Criticism of their Companies

With the recent widespread use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is not surprising that most employees have a social media account. In response, many employers have implemented policies which expressly limit what activities employees are allowed to engage in on social media.

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Categories: Labor and Employment
Tags: Employment AgreementsBrett J. SchneiderAlison F. SmithEmployee MisconductFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneySouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Alison F. Smith