• Posts by Nate Kowalski
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    Nate Kowalski is Chair of the firm’s Public Entity Labor and Employment Practice Group. He is an accomplished litigator who represents employers in both the private and public sectors. Mr. Kowalski has litigated hundreds of ...

On June 3, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a rare unanimous decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in Fort Bend County, Texas v. Davis (2019) — S.Ct. —, 2019 WL 2331306.  The Court held the charge-filing requirements specified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are not jurisdictional.  If a requirement is jurisdictional, courts may not adjudicate a claim unless the requirement has been met.  Challenges to a court’s subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by a defendant at any time during litigation.  On the other hand, if a claim-filing requirement is simply a procedural prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, a defendant employer must timely object based on the plaintiff’s failure to comply, or forfeit the objection. 

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein rocked California’s Public Employees Retirement System (“CalPERS”) on October 1, 2014, verbally ruling that the City of Stockton may reduce pension payments in bankruptcy like its other debts. However, Judge Klein declined to issue a final ruling on Stockton’s bankruptcy plan, preferring to “reflect more carefully” until the parties’ next scheduled ...

The California Supreme Court recently upheld the Governor's unilaterially-implemented mandatory furloughs of represented state employees.  Professional Engineers in California Government, et al. v. Arnold Schwarzenegger, et al., California Supreme Court Case NO. S183411, October 4, 2010. The Court determined that the Budget Act of 2008 "reasonably included the furlough plan that was then in existence," therefore the Legislature approved the Governor's furlough plan as required by law. The Court's ruling was premised on state law that specifically requires the Legislature to approve provisions of memoranda of understanding requiring the expenditure of state funds in the annual Budget Act.  

On June 17, 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a city audit of an employee’s text messages on a city-owned device did not violate the Fourth Amendment.  In City of Ontario v. Quon, the Supreme Court determined that the City of Ontario’s search was reasonable under the narrow factual circumstances of this case. Significantly, however, the Supreme Court declined to address the broader issue of to what extent does an employee have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his electronic communications on employer provided devices.

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