Liebert Cassidy Whitmore provides representation, advice, and counsel to employers on public employee retirement plans, health and welfare benefits, the Affordable Care Act, and issues related to employee disabilities, including disability retirement, the interactive process, reasonable accommodations, and employees on extended leave.
We also represent agencies in all aspects of administrative enforcement and appeals related to retirement benefits. Our firm responds to determination letters, prepares responses to draft audit findings, and appeals adverse determinations. Our firm also represents agencies at administrative hearings before hearing officers and administrative law judges, in court proceedings, and in writ proceedings.
We have successfully advocated for agencies in court proceedings and in administrative hearings. Issues are firm has litigated include:
Our firm provides a number of trainings to help agencies stay current on retirement, health, and disability laws and administrative interpretations. Our training and proactive services include:
The firm advises employers on all aspects of employee health and welfare benefits, including the complex and evolving Affordable Care Act ("ACA"). We also advise employers on compliance with the PEMHCA (a.k.a. CalPERS medical), health reimbursement accounts, health and welfare benefits for elected officials, vesting of retiree health benefits, and structuring and modifying benefits for retirees, current employees, and future employees in order to manage the cost of benefits.
Our firm is at the forefront of advising employers on their duties under the ACA and related health care laws. The firm routinely advises clients on the following issues:
Our firm works with local agencies on every facet of the disability accommodation process, including identifying disabilities, requesting medical documentation and evaluation, ensuring leave rights of disabled employees, engaging in the interactive process, identifying possible reasonable accommodations, complying with applicable disability laws, and, when necessary, disability retirements.
We have also defended clients in state and federal court from disability discrimination suits brought by employees. Our firm also guides public agencies through the entire disability retirement application process from filing the application to representing agencies in administrative and court proceedings.
Our firm provides comprehensive leave review to address employees who are out on an extended leave of absence. We will work with your agency to develop a tailored, proactive approach to manage your employees on extended leaves. We will provide specific advice and strategies to address each employee’s circumstances and ensure the agency remains in compliance with all applicable laws. Our leave review includes an analysis of the medical documentation supporting the leave, the duration of the leave, return to work solutions, and assistance in separation and disability retirement where necessary.
Retirement and employee health care issues have major impacts on agency labor relations, as well as on long-term financial stability. The firm acts as chief negotiator for our clients, providing strategy and direction during labor negotiations on retirement and health benefits, and all other matters subject to negotiations. We review agency policies, collective bargaining agreements/memoranda of understanding to ensure that they comply with applicable law. We also advise agencies on the issue of modifying vested and non-vested benefits. We also assist agencies in navigating negotiations to comply with administrative and court decisions.
We advise agencies on public employee retirement plans, including the California Public Employees' Retirement System ("CalPERS"), the County Employees Retirement Law of 1937 ("37 Act"), the California State Teachers' Retirement System ("CalSTRS"), and local agency retirement systems.
Our firm offers retirement system audits to review compliance with public retirement statutes, regulations, administrative interpretations, and charter provisions, and regularly provides advice and opinions on retirement system obligations, including enrollment, independent contractor status, retirement formulas, optional contract and statutory benefits, disability retirement eligibility and procedures, reportable compensation, unfunded liabilities, elected official benefits and post-retirement work restriction compliance.
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore (“LCW”) has attorneys well-versed in the nuances of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), a firm-wide “ACA Strike Team” that stays up to date on legal developments and advises private schools and colleges on the ACA compliance daily.see more