James M. Nelson is Chair of the firm's Sacramento Labor & Employment Practice. He represents employers and ERISA plan fiduciaries in matters concerning ERISA compliance, fiduciary responsibility, collective bargaining, wage and hour, employee benefits, safety, discrimination, wrongful termination, and other labor and employment issues. His experience includes complex litigation, class action defense, administrative proceedings and appeals, as well as advice and counseling to ERISA plan fiduciaries of single-employer and multi-employer plans. James has counseled clients in numerous industries, including construction, transportation, health care, hospitality, manufacturing and publishing.
Areas of Concentration
· Labor and employment
· Collective bargaining
· Wage and hour
· Employee benefits litigation
Professional & Community Involvement
· Board of Governors, American College of Employee Benefits Counsel
· Board of Directors, Sacramento Medical Group Managers Association, 1998-Present
· Mediator/Evaluator, Voluntary Dispute Resolution, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1997-Present
· Member, American Bar Association
- Subcommittee Co-Chair, Welfare Plans, Benefit Claims, Labor and Employment Law Section, 2012-2013
- Subcommittee Co-Chair, Welfare Plans, Employee Benefits Committee, Labor and Employment Law Section, 2010-2011
- Outreach Coordinator, Labor Section, University of California at Davis School of Law and McGeorge School of Law, 2009-2010
· Board of Directors, Crossroads, a mental health rehabilitation agency, 1989-1996
- Chairman, 1994-1995
· Chair, Arizona State Board of Education, Math Essentials Skills Advisory Committee, 1986-1987
· Member, California Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
- Vice Chair, Labor Section, Standing Committee on Individual Rights and Employee Benefits, 1989-1990
· Co-Chair, Arizona Bar, Labor Section, FEP/Employment Law Committee, 1986-1987
· Member, Arizona Bar Association, Labor and Employment Law Section
· Member, Century City Bar Association
Awards & Recognition
· Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law - Management, 2012-2014
· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Northern California Super Lawyers, 2013
· Team Member, Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011
· Nominee, Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans, Council established pursuant to 29 U.S.C. §1142, 1988
· Certificate of Appreciation, Arizona Bar Foundation, Center for Law-Related Education, 1986
· American College of Employee Benefits Counsel (Fellow)
· College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (Fellow)
· Listed, Who's Who in American Law
· Listed, Who's Who in the West
· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
· Counsel of Record, Concrete Pipe and Products v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern California, 508 U.S. 602, 124 L.Ed.2d 539 (1993), complex ERISA litigation involving fiduciary responsibility/actuarial disputes resulting from Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act and dispute over constitutionality of various provisions and circumstances under which a collective bargaining relationship has ceased.
· Lynn-Edwards Corp., 290 NLRB No.28 (1988); on remand from NLRB v. Lynn-Edwards Corp., 825 F.2d 413 (9th Cir. 1987), established the status of ESOP as retirement plan governed by ERISA and that employer did not violate LMRA by excluding union employees with collectively bargained retirement benefits from participation in ESOP.
· Kentucky Association of Health Plans Inc. v. Miller, U.S., 155 L.Ed.2d 468 (2003), Amicus counsel for Society of Human Resources Management on ERISA preemption of state "any willing provider" statutes regulating managed health care.
· Wells v. One2One Learning Foundation, 39 C.4th 1164 (2006), applicability of Unfair Competition Law and False Claims Act to charter schools and their chartering school districts.
· Multi-Plaintiff Non-Class Action
- Race and age claims of six plaintiffs in four separate actions arising from same managers in a single facility, Alameda County.
- Seven plaintiff sexual harassment and discrimination claims under California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Sonoma County.
- Four plaintiff coordinated race discrimination and harassment cases, Sacramento County.
- Five plaintiff, gender, age, sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination claims, mediated Sacramento County.
- EEOC pattern and practice gender discrimination claims in hotel restaurant setting, Maricopa County.
- EEOC pattern and practice and separate class action sexual harassment claim involving minor employees, Maricopa County and D. Az.
· Representative Class Action
- WARN/COBRA class action involving plant closure and termination of health plans, E.D. Cal.
- Multiple school district educational B&P Code 17200/False Claims Act class action involving Charter Schools, Sierra County.
- Age Discrimination/ COBRA class action asserting discriminatory benefit structure, E.D. Cal.
- Labor Code §2802 state wide class action and unfair competition action involving independent contractor classifications, Los Angeles County Superior Court.
- ERISA litigation related to ESOP valuation with U.S. Dept. of Labor and assertion of settlement class of participants, E.D. Cal.
- Labor Code 226.7/ Unfair Competition state wide class claim related to breaks and meal periods, Orange County Superior Court.
- "Off the Clock" wages, failure to pay overtime and call back time class claim, Sacramento County Superior Court.
- Rest and meal period/failure to pay overtime, failure to provide tools/incorrect payday statement unfair competition claim, San Bernardino County Superior Court.
Some of the above representations were handled by Mr. Nelson prior to his joining Greenberg Traurig, LLP.
Publications & Presentations
Articles, Lectures & Publications
· Author, Health and Welfare Benefit Plans: A Legal Guide to Planning and Management, Juris Publishing, Third Edition, 2009
· Contributing Author, "Employee Benefits Law," ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Bureau of National Affairs, Cumulative Supplements and Second and Third Edition, 1989-2008
· Editor, Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, 2003-Present
· Chapter Author, Arizona Employment Law Handbook, Arizona Bar Labor Section, 1996, and Second Edition, 2003
· Contributor, Employment Law Compliance for New Businesses, California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1998
· Author, "The CA Minimum Wage Increase and the Resulting 12.9% Salary Increase for Many Exempt Employees," GT LE Blog, October 9, 2013
· Author, "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, ERISA § 510 and the Next Generation of Benefits Litigation Concerns," American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter, Spring 2013
· Author, "Silence Can Be a Good Thing for Employers - Another Installment in the Saga of Wage and Hour Class Actions and Arbitration in California," GT LE Blog, April 26, 2012
· Co-Author, "Notable California Legislative Changes and Case Law Updates - and Actions to Consider in Response," GT Alert, March 28, 2012
· Author, "The 2010 California Legislative Session Limps to an End; An Update on Employment-Related Bills Awaiting a Decision by the Governor," GT LE Blog, September 1, 2010
· Author, "Justice John Paul Stevens and the Development of Employee Benefits Law," American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter, Summer 2010
· Author, "Does HIRE Really Mean It's Time to Hire?" Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 12, 2010
· Quoted, "New Federal Law Prohibits Use of Genetic Information by Employers," Sacramento Business Journal, November 20, 2009
· Author, "The ERISA Legacy of Justice David H. Souter," American Bar Association Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter, Fall 2009
· Author, "Avoiding the Boomerang Dooce," GT Sacramento Newsletter, July 2009
· Quoted, "Job Discrimination Claims on the Rise: Sacramento-Area Claims Increase 19%," Sacramento Business Journal, April 17, 2009
· Author, "Employee Life Insurance and Retirement Benefits After the Divorce," GT Sacramento Newsletter, March 2009
· Author, "The Case for Bonuses," Los Angeles Daily Journal; Insight Column, April 3, 2009
· Author, "When Family Ties Come Undone," Los Angeles Daily Journal; Insight Column, March 6, 2009
· Speaker, "An Affordable Care Act Update" and "Employment and Labor Law Developments," Employer Aid 2013: A Year in Review and a Look Forward, GT Labor & Employment Seminar, Phoenix, AZ, October 2, 2013
· Speaker, "Alternative Workforces: Minimizing Liability for Joint Employment and Contractor Misclassification - Mitigating Risks when Using Subcontractors, Temp Agencies, Leased Employees, Interns and Independent Contractors," Strafford Publications Webinar, August 28, 2013
· Speaker, "California Labor Law: Contract Labor in Warehouses and AB 1855 - What 3PLs Must Know About California Labor Rules and Regulations," International Warehouse Logistics Association, Webinar, February 26, 2013
· Speaker, "525,600 Minutes (But How Much Do I Have to Pay In Overtime for That?)" and "Just As If We Never Said Goodbye: Disability Law After the ADA Amendments Act And Managing Employee Health Issues," Greenberg Traurig's 12th Annual Labor and Employment Seminar (GT on Broadway), Phoenix, AZ, October 24, 2012
· Co-Presenter, "A Financial Analysis of Government Subsidies for Individual Coverage: Can Sponsors Afford Not to Drop Group Coverage?" ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Employee Benefits 2012 Midwinter Meeting, Coronado, CA, February 17, 2012
· Presenter, "The Real Impact of Health Care Reform on IWLA Members," International Warehouse Logistics Association, The Marriott, Long Beach, CA, September 29, 2011
· Co-Presenter, "Alternative Workforce and Employee Benefit Liability Issues for the CA Employer," GT Webinar, Helping Companies Move Forward in Uncertain Times, 2011 California Labor & Employment Strategies and Updates - Part II, March 9, 2011
· Co-Presenter, "Legislative and Administrative Developments Worthy of Notice: Strategies to Minimize Liability While Maintaining Maximum Compliance," GT Webinar, Helping Companies Move Forward in Uncertain Times, 2011 California Labor & Employment Strategies and Updates - Part I, February 9, 2011
· Presenter, "Welcome to 2010! Identifying and Managing the Risks Taken in 2008/2009," 28th Annual Tulane Law School Multi-State Labor & Employment Law Seminar, Don Cesar Beach Resort, St. Pete Beach, FL, May 21, 2010
· Presenter, "Welcome to 2010: Challenges and Opportunities," California Fashion Association, Los Angeles, CA, April 8, 2010
· Presenter, "Welcome to 2010: Challenges and Opportunities," California Bottled Water Association 2010 Convention, The Island Palms Hotel and Marina, San Diego, CA, March 22, 2010
· Presenter, "Temporary Employees: Benefits and Challenges," Sacramento Employers Advisory Council, Sacramento, CA, March 10, 2010
· Presenter, "Owning and Operating an Urban Winery or Brewery: 1. The Top Ten Most Effective Ways to Manage the Risk of Being a California Employer, While Improving Morale and Operating Efficiency 2. The Top Five Completely Avoidable Ways to Blow it All Up in the Blink of an Eye 3. Lore vs. Law," San Diego, CA, November 12, 2009
· Co-Presenter, "What? Did I Say Something Wrong? Developing Effective Harassment Training Programs for the Construction Industry," Associated General Contractors - Arizona Chapter, Phoenix, AZ, November 10, 2009
· Presenter, "Independent Contractor or Employee: Guidelines to Ensure Compliance," Webinar: Employee vs. Independent Contractor: Legal & Tax Issues You Need to Know, National Constitution Center, October 22, 2009
· Presenter, "Age Discrimination & Employee Benefits - A New Ballgame," American Conference Institute's Premier Forum on Defending and Managing ERISA Litigation, Union League, Philadelphia, PA October 20,2009
· Presenter, "Dr. Vader Will See You Now: Adapting to the New Cal-OSHA Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standards," Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Society of Medical Group Managers, October 14, 2009
· Presenter, "Whose Employee is it Anyway? Employee Status in Troubled Times," 27th Annual Tulane Law School Multi-State Labor & Employment Law Seminar, Westin La Cantera Resort, San Antonio, TX, May 16, 2009
· Moderator, "Employment Law Recent Developments" and "Employee or Independent Contractor: Pros and Con's," Continuing Education of the Bar, Sacramento Hilton Arden West Hotel, March 7, 2009
· Co-Presenter with Magan Ray & Ian Herbert, "New COBRA Rules: Implementing them Without Getting Bitten," GT Webinar, March 4, 2009
· Presenter, "I've Been Sued for What?" Managing Employment Risk in Difficult Times, Sacramento Valley Chapter of the Society of Medical Group Managers, February 11, 2009
· Moderator, "Recent Developments in Employment Law," California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1991-Present
· Faculty and Planning Committee Member, Annual Multi-State Labor and Employment Seminar, 1987-Present
· Moderator, "Employee or Independent Contractor? Pros and Cons," California Continuing Education of the Bar, 2005, 2009
· Faculty, "Americans With Disabilities Act Litigation." Defense Research Institute, Inc., 1996
· Faculty, "Current Issues in Employment Law," California Continuing Education of the Bar, 1990-1992
· Faculty, "Labor Relations and the Financially Distressed Employer," Arizona Bar Labor Section, 1990
· Faculty, Arizona Bar Association Annual Convention, Labor Section Seminar, 1986, 1988
· Program Chair, "ERISA and Employee Benefits Litigation," Continuing Legal Education Series, Arizona Bar, 1986
· Faculty, "Beyond the Prima Facie Case," Arizona Bar Labor Section Seminar Series, 1986
· Co-Author, "Obama Administration Announces Delays for the Reporting and Penalty Requirements for Employers," GT Alert, July 11, 2013
· Co-Author, "Employer Mandate Delay," GT Alert, July 3, 2013
· Co-Author, "What Businesses With California Employees Should Consider Before January 1, 2013," GT Alert, December 2012
· Co-Author, "Notable California Legislative Changes and Case Law Updates - and Actions to Consider in Response," GT Alert, March 2012
· Author, "What the California Election Means to Employers and What They Can Do," GT Alert, November 2010
· Co-Author, "Parting Gifts from the Governator - California's Significant New Employment Laws," GT Alert, October 2010
· Author, "2010 California Legislative Session Limps to an End - An Update on Employment-Related Bills Awaiting a Decision by the Governor," GT Alert, September 2010
· Co-Author, "Cal-OSHA Adopts Airborne Transmissible Disease Safety Standards with an Employer Provided Respirator Requirement - Effective August 5, 2009," GT Alert, July 2009
· Author, "Employee Life Insurance and Retirement Benefits After the Divorce," GT Alert, March 2009
(Also at Los Angeles and Phoenix, Arizona Offices)