Erin Kunze

Erin Kunze Associate

Erin provides representation and legal counsel to Liebert Cassidy Whitmore clients on a variety of employment and education law matters, including retirement, labor relations in the public and private nonprofit sectors, public safety, and safety planning in schools. As a member of the firm’s Business & Facilities Practice, she provides advice and representation on the variety of issues encountered in day to day operations, including reviewing and drafting vendor and service contracts, negotiating contract terms, leases, and other business arrangements. She also helps clients in matters involving real property, including construction matters, project delivery methods, agreements to acquire or sell property, the use and operation of facilities, easements, and related laws. Through the Business & Facilities Practice, Erin assists academic institutions and nonprofit clients in complying with foundation, donation, and exempt organization issues.  She also regularly advises clients on issues specific to community college district foundations, including those with auxiliary organization status.

A member of the Retirement, Health and Disability Practice, Erin regularly advises clients on issues pertaining to retirement and health care benefits.  She has advised clients on pension system member enrollment obligations, employer and employee pension contribution issues, the disability retirement process, retired annuitant issues, and issues pertaining to Public Employees’ Medical & Hospital Care Act (PEMHCA) compliance.  She also advises clients on responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act, including the employer’s status as an applicable large employer under the Act, employee eligibility, and the employer’s year-end reporting obligations.

Erin also provides advice and training to LCW clients in the areas of performance management, harassment and discrimination, and mandated reporting. Erin assists academic institutions with Title IX compliance and brings to her work valuable insight and expertise from her prior work with the Hastings College of Law's Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project. 

Prior to joining the firm, Erin developed diverse legal experience through her work with various philanthropic organizations doing human rights and immigration work, including serving as a Legal Intern in the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Netherlands.

Erin has worked with 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 issues relating to nonprofit incorporation, governance, and development. She remains passionate about human rights issues and now enjoys working through legal issues relating to these subjects with LCW clients.

Erin was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers in 2017. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston University (magna cum laude) and her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School (cum laude).

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.

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. 

Selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers (2017)

Oct 3, 2017

Supreme Court Petition Submitted Regarding Application of U.S. Civil Rights Act to Sexual Orientation Discrimination

 In April, we reported on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, which held that sex-discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act includes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Like the California federal trial court in Videckis v. Pepperdine University, the Seventh Circuit based its holding on the premise that sexual orientation discrimination claims are gender stereotype claims, which constitute sex discrimination claims under current Supreme Court precedent.  

Jul 11, 2017

Legislation to Watch: California Rules on Government Ethics

In the first half of 2017, some two-dozen bills have been introduced in the State Legislature with the potential to impact laws regulating government ethics, transparency, and political activity.  Legislation proposed in the State Assembly and State Senate seeks to repeal portions of existing law, and, at the same time, impose stronger penalties for violating remaining statutes.

Jul 10, 2017 Press Release

Nine LCW Attorneys Selected to the List of 2017 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

We are proud to announce that nine LCW attorneys were recognized by the Super Lawyers for their work in labor and employment law.

May 18, 2017 Business & Facilities

Responding to Requests for Public Records on Behalf of an Auxiliary Foundation.

As public agencies, California community college districts are subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the Act that grants members of the public access to a district’s “public records.”  Under the CPRA, public records include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by a public agency, regardless of physical form or characteristic.  When a member of the public requests these documents, a district must disclose these writings unless a statutory exception applies.  

Apr 25, 2017

Application of the U.S. Civil Rights Act to Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (hereafter “Title VII”) has long prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex in the terms, conditions or privileges of employment. One question of ongoing statutory interpretation has not been definitively answered: what constitutes “sex” for the purposes of employment discrimination? Are the terms “sex” and “gender” interchangeable under the law? And does the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex extend to a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?

Jan 26, 2017

Court Affirms that PEPRA Does Not Limit County’s Right to Repeal COLA Pickup

On December 20, 2016, the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District reaffirmed the purpose and spirit of the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act (“PEPRA”) as a law designed to “limit,” rather than “shield,” public employees’ retirement compensation

19 April 2018
Customized Trainings

Preventing Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation

East Bay Regional Park District Oakland
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12 April 2018
Customized Trainings

Performance Management: Evaluation, Documentation and Discipline

East Bay Regional Park District Oakland
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3 April 2018
Customized Trainings

Preventing Workplace Harassment, Discrimination and Retaliation

East Bay Regional Park District Oakland
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15 March 2018
Consortium Trainings

Moving Into the Future

Bay Area ERC Milpitas
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8 February 2018
Customized Trainings

Retaliation in the Workplace

ERMA San Ramon
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30 November 2017
Consortium Trainings

Moving Into the Future

Gold Country ERC Placerville
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