Erin Kunze

Erin Kunze Associate

Erin provides advice and counsel to Liebert Cassidy Whitmore’s public sector and nonprofit organization clients in the areas of labor relations, governance, and employee pension and health benefits.  She regularly advises clients on a broad spectrum of employment law issues, including workplace policies, disability accommodations, unlawful harassment, workplace investigations, and employee discipline. 

In the area of labor relations, Erin regularly audits collective bargaining agreements and employee relations rules to advise clients on current legal standards and best practices.  She additionally represents clients in negotiations and labor disputes, providing legal counsel through mediation, arbitration and before administrative agencies.  

As a member of the Retirement, Health and Disability Practice, Erin advises clients on CalPERS enrollment and retired annuitant issues, as well as issues pertaining to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Public Employees' Medical   Hospital Care Act (PEMHCA) compliance. 

As a member of the firm's Business & Facilities Practice, Erin assists academic institutions and nonprofit clients in complying with foundation, donation, and exempt organization requirements.  She provides advice and counsel on contractual obligations and vendor agreements, and she regularly advises clients on issues specific to community college district foundations, including those with auxiliary organization status.

Prior to joining the firm, Erin developed diverse legal experience through her work with various criminal justice and human rights organizations, including the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands; Hastings College of Law’s Center for Gender and Refugee Studies; and the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR).  Erin has also worked with a number of nonprofit arts organizations including California Lawyers for the Arts, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts of Massachusetts, and the New England Foundation for the Arts. With those agencies, Erin worked on programmatic matters as well as issues relating to nonprofit incorporation, governance, and development.

Recognitions

Erin was selected as a Nothern California Super Lawyers' Rising Star in 2017-2020.

ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS

BART v. BART POA (2013) - Represented BART Police Department as first-chair in a final and binding arbitration proceeding. Successfully upheld the termination of a police officer who had been terminated by the police chief after it was discovered he had been drinking while on duty, had recreationally used drugs with a neighbor, and was subsequently accused of rape by the neighbor the same evening he used drugs with her.

NEGOTIATIONS

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District - Fire and Administrative Units.

Escuela Bilingue Internacional - Teacher and Non-teaching Units.

LITIGATION

SEIU v. County of Mendocino (2016) - Represented the County in a bench trial and secured a judgment on the claims before the court wherein SEIU alleged that the County had illegally contracted out for mental health services with private providers. The court found that the County was legally authorized to contract out with private providers for mental health services in an attempt to provide such services to a vulnerable sector of the community, and denied SEIU's request for a writ of mandate and injunctive relief.

Dennis Wallace v. Stanislaus County, Jury Trial #2 (2013) - Represented the County in a 4-week long jury trial and obtained a unanimous defense verdict on both claims before the jury: failure to accommodate a disability and failure to engage in the interactive process. Deputy Wallace, who had filed 15 workers' compensation claims while on duty, had a list of physical restrictions that were established by his doctor, and as a result was re-assigned to "light duty" as a bailiff. Wallace refused the re-assignment, and after saying that he did not agree with doctor's restrictions, asked for a different assignment.  When his request was denied, he sued the County. 

Sep 18, 2020

Supporting Candidates and Propositions on California’s November 2020 Ballot – Tips for California Community College District Employees

The following was authored for the Community College League of California.

As Election Day draws closer, we wanted to send out a reminder of some basic rules about political and election activity on campus and during work hours. The law protects everyone’s right to vote, right to voice their opinions, and right to support candidates and initiatives.  Community college district employees have some restrictions and prohibitions on their involvement in political and election activities.

Sep 18, 2020

Supporting Propositions on California’s November 2020 Ballot – Tips for California Community College District Trustees

The following was authored for the Community College League of California.

As Election Day draws closer, we wanted to send out a reminder of some basic rules about political and election activity using district resources. The law protects everyone’s right to vote, right to voice their opinions, and right to support candidates and initiatives.  Community college districts have some restrictions and prohibitions on their involvement in political and election activities.

Dec 18, 2018

Court Confirms Commute Time in Company Vehicle is Non-Compensatory

Last month, the Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District of California found that an employee’s time traveling between home and a job site in an employer’s vehicle was not compensable, despite the employer restricting the employee’s activities during the commute time at issue.  Notably, this case analyzed a California wage and hour law on travel time that applies to public sector employers other than counties or charter cities.

Jun 27, 2018

Top 10 Questions about Senate Bill 866 – New State Legislation Impacting How Public Employers Communicate with Employees and Manage Employee Organization / Union Membership Dues

On June 27, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law the Final State Budget, along with budget trailer bill, Senate Bill 866. In brief, though there is little comment in the Bill’s legislative analysis, it is clear that Senate Bill 866 is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s anticipated, and now adopted, holding in Janus v. AFSCME.  As noted in our related Special Bulletin, the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME overturned forty-plus years of case law that authorized agency shop – or mandatory union service fees – in public sector employment.  The Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME means that public agency employers and unions that represent public employees can no longer mandate as a condition of employment that employees pay a service fee (or comparable religious objector charitable contribution) for the portion of union dues attributable to activities the union claims are “germane to [the union’s] duties as collective bargaining representative.”

Mar 20, 2018

Agency Policy Bars Lawsuit: Employee Must First Exhaust Internal Agency Process

In 2009, Santa Barbara County, like many public agencies in California, faced a budget shortfall for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. In response, the County determined the need to lay off 35 employees, including employee Shawn Terris.   Terris endeavored to exercise bumping rights, but it was determined that she did not possess the special skills needed to exercise bumping.   Terris, who was then laid off, filed a complaint with the County’s Civil Service Commission.  She alleged the termination violated her seniority rights, and that it was discriminatory based on her exercising rights as a County employee, on her exercising her rights as an elected County Employees’ Retirement Board Trustee, and on her filing a claim against a public entity.

Jan 4, 2018

ACA Reporting Relief – Written Statement to Covered Individuals Now Due March 2, 2018; Good Faith Penalty Relief Extended

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued an automatic, 30-day extension for applicable large employers to furnish IRS Forms 1095-B and 1095-C to covered individuals.  For the 2017 reporting period, these forms are now due to individuals on March 2, 2018, rather than January 31, 2018

25 February 2021
Consortium Trainings

Managing the Marginal Employee

San Mateo County ERC Webinar
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16 December 2020
Consortium Trainings

Moving Into The Future

Gold Country ERC Webinar
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16 December 2020
Consortium Trainings

Moving Into The Future

Napa/Solano/Yolo ERC Webinar
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18 November 2020
18 November 2020
10 November 2020
Customized Trainings

Creating an Ethical Mindset and Embracing Diversity

Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Webinar
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