Jani K. Rachelson and Marcelle J. Henry participate in the faculty for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ course on Essentials of Multiemployer Trust Fund Administration in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

June 5-9, 2017

Jani K. Rachelson and Marcelle J. Henry will participate in the faculty for the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ course on Essentials of Multiemployer Trust Fund Administration in Brookfield, Wisconsin on June 5-9, 2017. They will give presentations on the “Legal and Regulatory Environment” and “Overview of Insurance for Funds, Trustees and Administrators”.

Susan Davis speaks at the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Section’s Committee on Practice & Procedure Under the NLRA’s 2017 Midwinter Meeting in Rancho Mirage, CA

March 1-4, 2017

Susan Davis will speak on a panel at the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Section’s Committee on Practice & Procedure Under the NLRA’s 2017 Midwinter meeting in Rancho Mirage, CA on March 1, 2017.  The panel, Election Post-Mortem: What Does this Mean for the Board, will discuss the impact of the recent Presidential election on the current Board’s composition and decisions.

Jani K. Rachelson, Lisa M. Gomez and Marcelle J. Henry appear on panels at the American Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting in Austin, TX

February 8-12, 2017

Jani K. RachelsonLisa M. Gomez and Marcelle J. Henry appeared  on panels at the American Bar Association Labor & Employment Section Employee Benefits Committee Midwinter Meeting in Austin, TX on February 8-12, 2017. Jani participated on a panel for a session titled “The Impact of New IRS Rules on Severance Agreements,” which discussed the key requirements of Sections 409A and 457 of the Internal Revenue Code and the steps parties should take to ensure compliance with new IRS rules, as well as best practices for reviewing nonqualified deferred compensation plans, employment agreements and other severance agreements.  Lisa participated on a panel for a session titled “Litigating an Individual Health Clam,” which discussed each phase of litigation of a denied health benefit, including best practices for settlement and dealing with subrogation issues.  Marcelle participated on a panel for a session titled “Mental Health Parity Litigation and Design Issues”, which focused on the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and similar state parity laws and examined issues including standing, the propriety of class actions, the interaction of state and federal laws, and plan design.  Marcelle also helped organize a diversity luncheon and visited a nearby law school to network with minority students seeking information about employee benefits law.

Wendy M. LaManque speaks at the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section Annual Meeting in New York, NY.

January 27, 2017

Wendy M. LaManque will present at the New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section Annual Meeting on January 27, 2017 in New York, NY.  Ms. LaManque will appear on a panel entitled “What Can Practitioners Expect From a Trump Board?” This panel will re-examine National Labor Relations Board rulings under President Obama’s administration on issues such as the joint employer standard, new representation election procedures, and the employee status of graduate students under the National Labor Relations Act, and address how these issues may be confronted under a Trump NLRB.

Lisa M. Gomez presents at the American Bar Association Taxation Section 2017 Midwinter Meeting in Orlando, FL

January 19-21, 2017

Lisa M. Gomez  will present at the American Bar Association Taxation Section 2017 Midwinter Meeting on January 19-21, 2017 in Orlando FL.  Ms. Gomez will participate on a panel for a session titled “Ethical Issues Involved when Expanding Health Care Coverage for LGBTI Participants and Beneficiaries”, which will focus on the recent ABA model non-discrimination rule and its effect on LGBTI issues, as well as a general background regarding laws involved in health care coverage for LGBTI individuals.

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Hear Constitutional Challenge to Railway Labor Act’s Union Security Provision

January 13, 2017

On January 6, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in Serna, et al. v. Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO, Case No. 16-484, declining to hear a constitutional challenge to the Railway Labor Act’s union security provision.  Under the RLA’s union security provision, collective bargaining agreements may require all represented employees, whether members of the union or not, to pay their share of the costs of union representation.

In Serna, a class action suit handled by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, a group of airline employees represented by, but not members of, the Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO (TWU), claimed that the RLA’s union security provision violated their First Amendment rights.  They also claimed that TWU violated the First Amendment rights of nonmembers by requiring them to file an objection with the union if they opposed paying for union expenses beyond the expenses germane to collective bargaining.

A federal district court in Texas rejected the Serna plaintiffs’ claims, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed.  In asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, the plaintiffs argued that the Supreme Court should overturn longstanding precedent holding the RLA’s union security clause to be constitutional and allowing unions to require dissenting nonmembers to file objections.  By denying plaintiffs’ petition, the Supreme Court left undisturbed the lower court rulings in Serna that rejected plaintiffs’ claims.

Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP partners Michael Winston and Peter DeChiara prepared TWU’s opposition to the Serna plaintiffs’ Supreme Court petition.

New York Court Orders $212,601 in Back Pay for Wrongfully Terminated Employee of the New York City Housing Authority

December 21, 2016

On December 21, 2016, the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan ordered the New York City Housing Authority to pay $216,601 in back pay to a former employee that it wrongfully terminated.  In Wilson v. New York City Housing Authority, 116992/2009, the petitioner, who worked as a Housing Authority caretaker, claimed back pay for wages he would have earned since he was fired in 2009.  The court rejected the Authority’s contention that he fell outside the category of workers entitled to the back pay protections of New York’s civil service law.  The court also rejected the Housing Authority’s argument that the back pay should run only to 2012, when the petitioner stopped seeking alternative employment.   Finally, in calculating the back pay award, the court assumed the former employee, if not fired, would have continued to earn overtime at the same rate he did while employed, rejecting the Authority’s argument that such overtime calculation was “speculative.”

 

Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP partner Joshua Ellison handled the back pay phase of the litigation.

Wendy M. LaManque speaks at the Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations 14th Annual Labor Roundtable in Ithaca, NY.

November 18. 2016

Wendy M. LaManque was a featured guest speaker at the Cornell University School of Industrial & Labor Relations 14th Annual Labor Roundtable event on Friday, November 18th, 2016 in Ithaca, NY.  The ILR Labor Roundtable brought together labor leaders with students, student activist groups, and labor organizations at Cornell University, to provide information and insight to students who are interested in understanding labor and workplace issues and gaining exposure to labor and social justice careers.

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