Category Archive: News

Feb 11

Step Backwards for Kansas: Governor Rescinds Order Protecting Gay State Workers

On Tuesday, February 10th, Republican Governor Sam Brownback rescinded a 2007 executive order that prohibited employment discrimination against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered in state government jobs. Over 7 years ago, Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, passed the executive order, which required government agencies to have programs that prevents harassment against any member of the LGBT community that is looking to work or who currently works in a government agency. Many groups are condemning this behavior from Governor Brownback including national gay-rights group, Human Rights Campaign, and the state’s leading gay-rights group, Equality Kansas. Check out this article from The New York Times to learn more!

Jan 20

New York State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section Writing and Service Award Winners!

For the first time in the history of the NY State Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Section’s annual writing competition for law students, this year all three prizes (the Stein Memorial Scholarships) have been won by law students at one law school–St. John’s.

Anthony Holesworth ’16 won first prize for his paper, “Student-Athletes or Athlete-Students? The Slippery Slope Presented by College Athletes as Employees;” Cynthia Vella ’16 won second prize for her paper “Student Athletes and the Public Sector: The NLRB’s Northwestern Decision and the Potential Effects on Public Universities;” and, Samantha Kimmel ’15 won third prize.

In addition, Sarah Mannix ’15 has won third prize in the Section’s Law Student Leadership category (the Sam Kaynard Memorial Scholarship).

In the past three years St John’s law students have won ten of the eighteen prizes awarded for Research papers and or Student Leadership service.

The winning students will be officially recognized at the NYSBA Labor and Employment Section lunch on Friday, January 30, 2015.

Again, congratulations to all.

Dave Gregory

Dec 22

Office Hours with Professor Gregory

Dear Students of Professor Gregory’s Employment Law and Employment Discrimination,

Professor Gregory will be available to meet with anyone wishing to review fall semester 2014 exams, beginning Wednesday January 28.

Please contact Janet Kroll, 4th floor front desk, for an appointment after 2 pm on Jan 28, Feb 2 and 4. C grades and lower have priority until Monday Feb 9.

Sep 16

Professor David Gregory weighs in on N.F.L. and Ray Rice Scandal in The New York Times

Check out Professor Gregory’s comments on the N.F.L. commissioner’s handling of the Ray Rice scandal in The New York Times here!

Sep 08

Fall 2014 Upcoming Events

September 9th
Fall Fest 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm Great Lawn
The Labor Relations and Employment Law Society E-board and members, will have various program information available.

September 16th
Mr. Jack Newhouse, Class of 2012, an Attorney with Virginia and Ambinder, will discuss wage and hour compensation claims from the plaintiff employee rights perspective. Room 2-12, 1:40 pm – 3:50 pm. This is a very compelling dimension in Labor and Employment Law. See, for example, Steven Greenhouse, More Workers are Claiming Wage Theft, Monday, Labor Day, The New York Times, September 1, page 1.

September 16th
General Meeting of the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society, 530 pm—630 pm, Room TBD/TBA. Employment search Information—bring your cover letters and resumes

September 18th
The Honorable Jacqueline Berrien, the Chair of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, will discuss the strategic initiatives of the Obama Administration. Room 2-12, 6:15 pm — 7:50 pm.

October 24th
Triple Alumnus Dr. Charles Russo, Law School Class of 1983, and Panzer Chair at the University of Dayton School of Education, and Adjunct Professor of Law, will discuss education as a global human right. In addition to being the primary author of the leading text book on Education Law, Dr. Russo is the author of hundreds of professional and academic articles informed by his academic and professional presentations in more than 30 nations. This event will be at the Catholic Worker Mary House, 55 East 3rd Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues in Manhattan, commencing at 7:30 pm.

October 27th, Monday, Room and Time TBD
Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York (ret.), will reflect on his half century of work to enhance Human Rights, ranging from his work as a newly ordained priest through his many years of friendship with Pope Francis.

Note Regarding Annual Management Lawyers Colloquium

The Annual Management Lawyers Colloquium and dinner, and the conferral of the Cesar Chavez Memorial Prize upon the Class of 2015 student with the highest GPA in the most labor and employment law courses at the beginning of the senior year, have been deferred indefinitely. The Jackson Lewis Scholarship, normally awarded at the Colloquium, has been deferred. to the Spring Semester 2015. The scholarship application and selection process, as well as the election of the Labor Society’s executive officers for 2015-16, will commence in January 2015.

Jul 11

Many Thanks to Ms. Paula Edwards and Mr. James Conlon!

The entire St. John’s Labor and Employment Law community would like to thank Ms. Paula Edwards and Mr. James Conlon for their hard work and dedication during their time at St. John’s. James Conlon has not only supported the Labor and Employment Law community in the classroom but he has been instrumental in finding many students interested in Labor and Employment summer internships and employment. His dedication and passion for helping the Labor and Employment Law community grow will be truly missed.

Ms. Paula Edwards is the perfect example of an administrator who has a passion for helping anyone that approaches her. Students, faculty, alumni and professionals have all come to her for guidance and assistance and she always has a solution or game plan for tackling any question or event that may come her way. Paula has been indispensable in building and expanding the Center for Labor and Employment Law and has supported the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society in its day to day operations in so many ways. Over the course of the past few years, Paula Edwards has been instrumental in our highly successful conferences sponsored and hosted by our Center. We will all miss Paula dearly, not only for the work that she has done for our community, but also for the devoted, outgoing and extraordinary person that she is.

Below, please find an invitation on behalf of Professor David Gregory to a dinner honoring Both Paula Edwards and James Conlon.

Dinner Invitation in Honor of Ms. Paula Marie Edwards and Mr. James Conlon

Apr 21

Overtime Wages Executive Order by President Obama

On March 13th, President Obama declared an executive order to update and modernize the “white collar” exemption of the federal overtime rules that currently exist. These changes ordered to the Labor Department will allow extra pay for millions of workers when they work over 40 hours a week. The Fair Labor Standards Act states that non-exempt workers must be paid 1.5 times their pay rate when they work more than 40 hours per week. However, “white collar” employees, who at the time were considered to be high-salary employees, were exempt from this wage protection. According to The New York Times, this no longer the case because today the salary cap that prevents employees from receiving “time and a half” is about $24,000 a year. Subsequently about 88% of workers in the United States, including executive, administrative and professional employees, are exempt from overtime pay. Unfortunately this order from President Obama does not mean that these exempt employees will start receiving overtime pay right away. Instead, the Secretary of Labor will develop a plan to expand the number of workers that will be considered non-exempt and make it easier for both employees and employers to receive and provide this wage protection.

For the official release of the Presidential Memorandum from the Office of the Press Secretary click here!

Do you think this a proper step towards the President’s goal of shrinking economic inequality?

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Apr 10

France to Ban Work Email After Work Hours

A new labor union agreement in France mandates that employees must ignore their bosses’ work emails once they are out of the office and relaxing at home – even on their smartphones. The Guardian reports that France has outlawed employees from reading or responding to “work-related material on their computers or smartphones” after they clock out for the day. This regulation is in response to workers in the tech industry complaining about feeling pressured to be constantly available outside of their 35 hour workweek. According to The Guardian, this will mainly affect over a million employees in the technology and consultancy sectors, including the French outposts of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

If you read french, click here to read a discussion of this and the regulation. If you prefer to read about it in English and after 6pm, click here.

In today’s global economy, is it realistic to ban work email after-hours? Does “after-hours” even exist? These questions are all an outgrowth of this legislation, and while the thought of disconnecting and shutting down is appealing, do you think this regulation is a good idea?

Update: the labor agreement actually does not actually prevent checking emails after 6pm, because the class of workers covered by the agreement are paid based on days worked, not hours. So, the “obligation to disconnect communications tools”, applies only after an employee has worked a 13-hour day. Still, we wonder if this is the best way to help worker’s create a work life balance. More from The Economist here.

Mar 14

Workers sue McDonald’s for wage theft

McDonald'sYesterday, McDonald’s workers filed seven class-action lawsuits in New York, California and Michigan Thursday. The suits allege that McDonald’s has forced employees to work off the clock, not paid them overtime and struck hours off their time cards, and those discrepancies resulted in wage theft.

The suits varied by state. In New York, worker’s claimed that their wage was driven below the federal minimum wage because of unreimbursed expenses. In California, the workers alleges meal and break violations. In Michigan, workers claimed they would only start getting paid only when customers walked into the restaurants, even if they had been at work for hours.
All of these claims violate the federal Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and In all of these cases, the relationship between the franchises and the corporate parent company will be examined.

The suit comes in the midst of a long public relations campaign by fast-food workers demanding higher wages.The workers are represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, which specializes in representing plaintiffs in class actions. This case will surely be a fascinating case to watch unfold. Click over to the New York Times for more on the beginnings of this case.

Feb 20

What’s New With the CLEL – Spring Update

The Center for Labor and Employment works closely with the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society at St. John’s. The LRELS is the student-run arm of the Center and is headed by President May Mansour ‘14, Co-Vice Presidents Sarah Mannix ‘15 and Rich Berrios ‘14, Treasurer Monica Hincken ’14 and Secretary Samantha Kimmel ‘15. Next year, Cynthia Vella ’16 and Stephen Halouvas ’15 will join the board. In addition to the many opportunities offered by he LRELS and the Center for Labor and Employment, there are several exciting events taking place this semester.

The first event was a Distinguished Speaker Series, A Conversation with Harry I. Johnson III, a former partner at Arent Fox and a current NLRB Member appointed by President Obama. This event took place on February 19 and Mr. Johnson joined Professor Gregory’s labor law class on February 20 as well to give a speech about recent NLRB decisions, the decision making process and how the agency operates. Mr. Johnson graciously spoke to the attendees and provided fascinating and entertaining insights into the NRLB. (Stay tuned for pictures of the event!)

Next up, he Center for Labor and Employment will co-host a symposium entitled Title VII at 50, with NYU Law School, The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development and the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, on April 4-5, 2014. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the programs will celebrate the evolution of Title VII over the years and the current state of the law. In attendance will be some of our most distinguished alumni as well as very prominent academics and practicing attorneys in the field. Some of the presenters will include: Paulette Brown, President-Elect of the ABA; Amanda Jaret ’13, Law Fellow AFL-CIO; Samuel Estreicher, Director of the Center for Labor and Employment Law at New York University; as well as other NLRB directors, and Professors. Over Friday and Saturday there will be roundtables and panel discussions covering a variety of topics including Professor Gregory’s forthcoming paper, “Past as Prologue in the Affirmative Action Jurisprudence of the Supreme Court: Reflections on Fisher v. University of Texas.” The conference will be an exploration of the living history of Title VII while looking ahead to what the next fifty years will bring. The winners of the inaugural Edwards Wildman Palmer Prize and the 2014 Coca-Cola Refreshments Scholar will be announced at the conference.

There are many opportunities to get involved with the Center for Labor and Employment and the Labor Relations and Employment Law Society. Please follow the TWEN page or visit to stay updated on the happenings and scholarship opportunities.

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