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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

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