Category Archive: Events

Apr 23

Title VII 50th Anniversary Conference – Day Two Overview

The second day of the Symposium was held at New York University School of Law in New York City. Professor
 and 
Director 
of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, Leonard M. Baynes, provided the opening remarks for Day two. After his remarks, Professor Baynes moderated the first panel of the day, which applied the New York experience to Title VII Federalism. The panelists, Allegra A. Chapman Esq., Sandra E. Pullman Esq. and Anjana Samant Esq. are all assistant attorney generals in the
 NYS Office of the Attorney General Civil Rights Bureau.

The panel first explained that as assistant attorney generals they are able to do a lot of work in a variety of ways to defend and protect employees against discrimination through local, state and federal laws. They investigate potential violations of discrimination when employees come to them with a case and there is good faith basis for the claim. The panel was then able to talk about specific groups that are discriminated against, in New York City in particular, and ways in which they can help. They described pregnancy discrimination as tricky to prove because claiming a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) means that the expecting mother has to prove her pregnancy is causing another separate health issue. New York luckily saw this problem and recently passed a law to help women in the workplace during their pregnancy called the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA).

The panel continued to talk about the LGBT community and cited to a 2011 survey results that shows about one half of transgendered employees were not promoted or hired because of their gender. Although Title VII still does not cover gender identity, the panel clarifies that LGBT activists are working with NYC to create city laws for equal discrimination protection. The last group facing discrimination that the panel discussed was employees with criminal records. Like the LGBT community, these employees do not have Title VII protection, but the city is trying to make laws that would help applicants get their foot in the door. The panel mentioned the “ban the box” law in Buffalo, NY, which prevents employers from asking about criminal records on an employment application, as a good example of protecting applicants with criminal records.

In the second panel of the morning, Professor Karen Fernbach ’78, 
Regional director
 of Region 2 
of the National Labor Relations Board, moderated a panel entitled “Unmet Challenges of Title VII: Labor Opportunities.” Fernbach asked a variety of questions to a panel comprised of Paula Clarity ’07,
 Associate at 
Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine, LLP, William B. Gould, IV,
 Charles A. Beardsley Professor of Law Emeritus at Stanford Law School, 
former chairman of the 
National Labor Relations Board
 and chair of The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Jay Jaffe, Esq.
Senior Managing Counsel 
1199 SEIU 
United Healthcare Workers East, Amanda Jaret ’13 2013-2014 Law Fellow at the AFL-CIO, Wilma Liebman, 
visiting Lecturer 
at Cornell University
 School of Industrial and Labor Relations and School of Law and chairman of the NLRB (2009-2011).

After lunch, the final panel of the symposium was comprised of prominent practicing lawyers who provided their perspectives on the Future of Title VII. David R. Marshall, a partner 
at Edwards Wildman Palmer, LLP, led the discussion with practitioners: Paula Clarity ’07, Associate 
at Archer, Byington, Glennon & Levine, LLP, Alfred G. Feliu, Esq. Partner at Vandenberg & Feliu, LLP, William Li ’09,
Associate 
at the Boyd Law Group, PLLC, Michael H. Masri ’95,
Partner 
at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, LLP, Terry O’Neil, ’70,
 Partner
 at Bond, Schoeneck & King, LLP, Robert J. Nobile, ’84, Partner at 
Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, and Michael Starr Esq., Partner at 
Holland and Knight. Much of the panel’s discussion focused on how lawyers are realistically tackling discrimination in the workplace and what the next steps are in continuing the decline of discrimination. Ralph Carter ’14 provided the closing remarks for the symposium, thanking the co-chairs Professor Gregory and Professor Baynes and all the organizations that helped organize the event.

Apr 23

Title VII 50th Anniversary Conference – Day One Overview

On April 4th and April 5th, the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society co-hosted the Title VII at 50 Symposium in conjunction with with NYU Law School, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development. For the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the symposium focused on how far we’ve come in the last 50 years and how far we have to go in the hopes of eliminating employment and racial discrimination altogether.

The first day was kicked off by Professor David Gregory, co-chair of the Symposium, Vice Emeritus Dean Andrew Simons and the President of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society, May Mansour ’14. The morning panel discussed the Living History of Title VII: Voices of 1964, and passing the torch to a new generation. Paulette Brown, American Bar Association President-Elect, spoke of her ability to go to a newly integrated school because of Title VII, although the new environment was far from encouraging. Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake, Former U.S. Congressman and Senior Pastor for the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York, discussed how racial minority groups are still facing challenges they should not have to face. With graduation rates for African Americans, Latinos and Asians at 32%, 62% and 75% respectively, Rev. Dr. Flake said that these groups should be in a position today to do what they want to do in regards to their careers and to have the lifestyle they hope for. Vice Emeritus Dean Andrew Simons discussed the case New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, as well as Johnson’s address before a joint session of Congress after President John F. Kennedy where he said no eulogy would be better than the earliest possible passage of the Civil Rights bill.

Before lunch, Professor Gregory and Paulette Brown announced Ralph Carter ’14 as the winner of the Inaugural Edwards Wildman Palmer for Best Paper on Fair Employment Law 2013-14 for his paper on an employer’s use of their employee’s social media information and passwords. During lunch, Professor Janai S. Nelson, 
Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship 
and Associate Director of 
The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, introduced her former colleague and mentor Jacqueline A. Berrien as the keynote speaker. Berrien is the current chair 
of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). She recounted her time as Associate Director-Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), where she worked prior to being nominated by President Obama to be chair of the EEOC. Berrien then discussed the initiatives and actions being taken by the EEOC since her appointment to shrink the discrimination seen in the workplace through the charges of discrimination brought forth to the EEOC.

After lunch, an all-female panel presented stories of race, gender, ethnicity, and diversity as well as their roles as scholars and journalists. Rebecca K. Lee, an 
Associate Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, discussed Fisher v. University of Texas, affirmative action and applying strict scrutiny in higher education. Kimani Paul-Emile, 
an Associate Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law, explained her research of employers use of background checks and criminal records in determining whether to hire an applicant as well as if they will terminate an employee if a record is found. Kathleen Wells, a 
Radio Host 
and Multi Media Journalist, discussed research that showed that we still have a long way to go before discrimination is a thing of the past. Sahar F. Aziz, Associate Professor of Law at 
Texas A&M University School of Law, discussed research she conducted that shows the stereotypes facing women, in particular Muslims, and ways in which these women go about trying to remove these stereotypes. Natasha Martin,
 Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and Associate Professor of Law
 at Seattle University School of Law, talked about how there are still echoes of Jim Crowe laws in the workplace. Lastly, Professor Elayne E. Greenberg, 
Assistant Dean of Dispute Resolution Programs, Professor of Legal Practice
 and Director of the 
Hugh L. Carey Center for Dispute Resolution at 
St. John’s, discussed implicit biases and how those biases effect decisions made.

The last roundtable of the day discussed affirmative action through the reflections on Fisher v. University of Texas with Professor Gregory, Professor Rebecca Lee, and Professor Gregory’s research students Brendan A. Bertoli ’14, Courtney Chicvak ‘14 
and Sarah Mannix ’15. Bertoli, Chicvak and Mannix discussed their research regarding the Fisher case and how it starts to show where the Supreme Court is heading in regards to Affirmative Action. In addition, Professor Lee provided a deeper analysis from her previous panel discussion into strict scrutiny. Mannix recalled her experience on the panel as ” a really excellent forum to discuss our research and findings with out practitioners and academics, and a great opportunity for discussion!”

Mar 30

Title VII at 50 Symposium – THIS WEEK!

The Center for Labor and Employment and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society would like to invite any interested students or colleagues to the Title VII at 50 Symposium Conference, which takes place this week on April 4 and 5, 2014.

This program is presented in conjunction with the St. John’s Law Review, the Journal for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the St. John’s Journal of International and Comparative Law, the NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, and the St. John’s Center of International and Comparative Law.

This two-day symposium commemorates Title VII and featuring panelists and speakers who will assess the past, present and future of Title VII. Please see the attached program for the events schedule and speakers.

This is an amazing learning and networking opportunity for those interested in labor or employment law, and we encourage any interested party to attend. Please feel free to distribute the program and this email to any groups you are a member of. Scholarships and prizes will be awarded at this event.

The conference is free of charge and open to all, but please RSVP to Paula Edwards at (718) 990-6653 or clel@stjohns.edu.

We hope to see you in attendance at one or both days of the conference.

More Information: http://www.stjohns.edu/about/events/school-law-title-vii-50-two-day-symposium
Program – Title VII at 50 Symposium – 3-27-14

Mar 03

Events and Photo’s – Distinguished Speaker Series

On February 19, 2014, the Center for Labor and Employment Law hosted a Distinguished Speaker Series event- A Conversation with Harry I. Johnson, III, member of the National Labor Relations Board. This
event was held in the Mattone Family Atrium, where Mr. Johnson was joined by students, alumni and friends to tell about his experience and perspective on his role at the National Labor Relations Board. Mr. Johnson was introduced by alumni and former co-presidents of the LRELS, Sean Conroy ’95 and Michael Masri ’95. Students at the event felt that this was one of the best events and most engaging speaker series that they have attended in law school. Mr. Johnson spoke about recent decisions including cases on social media and employee handbook, and the tremendous workload of cases for the agency. Law student Josephine McGrath ’15 said, “the content and presentation of the speech was fascinating and gave an inside view of the challenges that the NLRB navigates.” Dinner at Alberto’s followed the event and the students in attendance were able to speak with Mr. Johnson and other alumni guests.

The next morning, Mr. Johnson addressed Professor Gregory’s labor law class, which started with the presentation of Professor Gregory’s labor law book. Mr. Johnson taught the class before returning to his busy schedule in Washington DC. Overall, this visit was a great learning opportunity and an amazing chance for students to get an inside view of the workings of the NLRB. Thank you to Mr. Johnson and Mr. Conroy for visiting us and we hope to have you back soon!

Click through the photo gallery to view photos from the event.

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Feb 18

Special Event Tomorrow! A Conversation with Harry I. Johnson, III, member of the National Labor Relations Board

Join the Center for Labor and Employment and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society for a special event tomorrow, February 19, at 5:00pm for, A Conversation with Harry I. Johnson, III, member of the National Labor Relations Board. This event will be part of the Distinguished Speaker Series and will be held in the Mattone Family Atrium. Along with Mr. Johnson, we will be hosting Sean Conroy ’95, and Michael Masri ’95. The event will be a conversation with Mr. Johnson and an opportunity for students and attendees to ask questions.

This event is open to any student and all are encouraged to attend.

Add this event to your calendar.

Dec 27

Title VII at 50 Symposium – Save the Date

2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that fundamentally altered the landscape of employment relations by prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also barred discrimination in public accommodations, public facilities and voting. By its enactment, notions of equality were more deeply embedded in United States public law.

On April 4-5, 2014, the St. John’s Law Review, the Journal for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the St. John’s Journal of International and Comparative Law, in conjunction with NYU Center for Labor and Employment Law, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, the St. John’s Center for Labor and Employment Law, and the St. John’s Center of International and Comparative Law, will host a two-day symposium commemorating this important milestone, which will feature panelists and speakers who will assess the past, present and future of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.The symposium invites scholars and practitioners to participate in a multi-disciplinary evaluation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

If you would like information about attending this event, please fill out the form below! We will keep your information and contact you with more information in the near future!

Oct 26

15th Annual Worker’s Rights Conference

On October 25th and 26th, I had the privilege of attending the Peggy Browning Fund’s 15th Annual National Law Students Worker’s Rights Conference in Linthicum Heights, Maryland.  The event brought together law students across the country interested in the future of workers’ rights. The conference gave a greater understanding of the issues facing American workers, and was an opportunity to network with fellow students, and top practitioners in the field.

On Friday evening, conference attendees were treated to a showing of Trash Dance.  The film explored an artist’s organization of sanitation workers in Austin, Texas for a performance piece.  After the film, students offered opinions about the film’s metaphors for worker organization.

On Saturday morning, AFL-CIO General Counsel and former NLRB Member Craig Becker delivered the conference’s keynote address.  Mr. Becker reflected on his own experiences when speaking about unions’ future challenges.  He also offered insights into labor cases on the Supreme Court’s current docket and organized labor’s reception of the Affordable Care Act.

Students then participated in workshops that covered various salient issues. I attended three different workshops, all led by prominent figures in organized labor. Dennis Walsh, Regional Director of Region 4 of the NLRB, discussed the NLRA’s nuances in “Introduction to Basic Labor Law”. Fred Feinstein, former General Counsel to the NLRB, detailed how anti-union consultants grew from cottage industry to well-oiled machine in “Future of Worker Mobilization”. Baldwin Robertson, partner of Woodley & McGillivary, summarized issues facing state and municipal union members in “Public Sector Labor Law”.

In the plenary session on Saturday afternoon, panelists Leon Dayan, Jessica Robinson, and Peggy Shorey summarized new assaults on collective bargaining rights in the states, including new right-to-work initiatives and movements to end dues check-offs.  In closing remarks, Dennis Walsh, Marley Weiss and Joe Lurie thanked all conference organizers for their hard work in putting together the engaging and educational programming. It was my pleasure to represent St. John’s University School of Law at the conference.  The Peggy Browning Fund’s programs contribute greatly to the labor law community, and I was fortunate to be a part of this year’s conference.

Panelists (L to R): Peggy Shorey, Leon Dayan, Jessica Robinson, and Matthew Ginsburg.

Panelists (L to R): Peggy Shorey, Leon Dayan, Jessica Robinson, and Matthew Ginsburg.

Oct 09

LERA Event Recap – “The Affordable Care Act on Collective Bargaining”

The Labor and Employment Relations Association sponsored a reception and panel discussion on “The Affordable Care Act on Collective Bargaining.” Many distinguished panelists participated, including: Jeff Stein, Alyson Mathews, and Frank Moss.

The discussion began with an analysis of the main characteristics of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”); first, universal coverage; second, the requirements on insurance companies covering everyone and third, the government subsidies given to those who cannot afford coverage. The panel also discussed the penalties employers will receive when they does not provide their employees adequate coverage. Jeff Stein addressed a potential issue that may arise, if people who are covered by insurance companies are also trying to receive subsidies.

Other issues that may arise when the ACA comes into effect will involve collective bargaining agreements. The question of who to cover remains unanswered because of eligibility. Children are not eligible under the Act and spouses do not have to be offered care. Another potential issue arises with part time employees who work thirty hours a week. Employers are concerned with increased costs from the Act while unions are concerned that the Act does not provide sufficient compensation.

Alyson Matthews noted that, “the regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act change on an almost daily basis, which makes it difficult for employers and unions to develop collective bargaining strategies. The law will likely result in a lot of creative solutions as employers and unions navigate the impact of it on the overall collective bargaining framework.”

As each panelist expressed his or her predictions on the long-term effects of the ACA, it became clear that much of the Act’s effect on employer, union, and employee relationships remains answered. This event was an excellent exploration of the possible ramifications of the Affordable Care Act and it was educational for students and practitioners alike.

Oct 03

With Courage We Shall Fight – Distinguished Speaker Series at St. John’s

Ralph S. Berger and Albert S. Berger sign copies of their book, With Courage We Shall Fight, a memoir of their parent's lives as Jewish  Resistance Fighters

Ralph S. Berger and Albert S. Berger sign copies of their book, With Courage We Shall Fight, a memoir of their parent’s lives as Jewish Resistance Fighters

On October 2, 2013, the Distinguished Speaker Series at St. John’s welcomed Ralph S. Berger and Albert S. Berger, editors of the book With Courage We Shall Fight, a primary source about the incredible survival story and fight against the Nazis by their parents, Murray “Motke” and Frances “Fruma” Berger. The event was sponsored by the Jewish Law Students Association (and co-sponsored by: The Catholic Law Students Association, The Center for Labor & Employment Law, The Journal OF Civil Rights and Economic Devlopment and the Student Bar Association).

The brothers lectured on the incredible story of their parents, Motke and Fruma, before, during and after World War II. Motke and Fruma met as members of the “Bielski Brigade” a group of Jewish resistance fighters who saved over 1200 Jews from Nazi concentration camps. The Bielski Brigade was depicted in the movie “Defiance” with Daniel Craig. With Courage We shall Fight is a memoir written in prose and poetry which tells the story of Motke and Fruma and those that they met during their time with the Partisans.

As Ralph Berger said, their parent’s mission was to pass on the story of those who had died during the war, because the only way to remember them would be to share their story with others. The stories told by the brothers left the audience with chills. The title of the book came from a line of Fruma’s poems. Another of Fruma’s poems, “The Little Orphan” was read during the presentation by Josephine McGrath ’15.

Hearing the brothers speak about their parents and their experiences was a powerful history lesson and way to make sure that their bravery will never be forgotten. Ralph Berger recounted the story of a woman who came up to the brothers at a Bar Mitzvah, years after the war in California. She had recognized Murray Berger’s sons and told them that their father had carried her and her son out of ghetto during the war. The impact that the Partisans had would never be forgotten by those they had saved; and the brothers learned part of their father’s history that they had never heard before. Those in attendance were privileged to hear about the Partisans and this important chapter in history.

The book is a primary account of the Holocaust and the Jewish Partisan’s fight for vengeance against the Nazis. Copies of With Courage Shall We Fight are available from the publisher, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and from Amazon.com. All proceeds are donated to support Holocaust education.

Thank you to all who joined us for this great event!

Samantha Kimmel '15 speaks with Ralph S. Berger

Samantha Kimmel ’15 speaks with Ralph S. Berger

Sep 17

Management Lawyer’s Colloquium

A distinguished panel of alumni and guests joined the CLEL and the LRELS for a spirited and engaging panel on current issues in management-side employment law. Scholarships winners were announced. Congratulations to May Mansour ’14 and Eugene Ubawike ’15 for taking home the Cesar Chavez Memorial Prize and the Alan C. Becker Memorial Prize from Jackson Lewis LLP. The panelists included: Daniel Costello ’99, Vanessa Delaney ’12, Christopher Kurtz ’03, Craig Roberts ’97, Ana Shields ’03, Richard Zuckerman, Natalia Torres, Robert Lafferty, and David Marshall.

The panel discussion ranged from career advice to privacy rights and the implications of the Affordable Care Act.

The panelists spoke about their career paths and what has made them successful in the field. The panelists viewed integrity as a key attribute in building trust and effective relationships; and creating this relationship with clients is a major part of the job.

On the issue of privacy, Richard Zuckerman discussed how employers must balance the need to keep track of employees while making sure not to violate any constitutional protections, such as against unreasonable searches and seizures. Other panelists discussed the right to monitor employee phone calls, GPS tracking, bag searches, and taping phone calls without the person’s consent.

The topic of social media and technology was explored. Several panelists shared their views on how Facebook and other social networking websites have opened up new possibilities as well as problems with privacy.

Overall, the event was extremely informative and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society would like to thank the panelists, all who were able to attend and congratulate May and Eugene on their accomplishments!

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