Gabriela D. Flowers

Partner | Sacramento

Attorney Insights

gflowers@lozanosmith.com
Tel: 916.329.7433
Fax: 916.329.9050
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Overview

Gabriela D. Flowers is a partner in Lozano Smith's Sacramento office and is co-chair of the firm's Labor and Employment Practice Group. Ms. Flowers also specializes in the Student and Litigation aspects of education law. Ms. Flowers routinely assists clients through both Certificated and Classified discipline and dismissal procedures, as well as defending unfair labor practice charges. Her Labor & Employment practice also includes grievance processing, contract interpretation, labor negotiations, employee leaves and responding to claims of discrimination filed with the DFEH, EEOC and DIR.

Ms. Flowers supports administrators and boards with matters concerning conflicts of interest, the Brown Act and the Public Records Act. In addition, she gives presentations on a variety of topics, including conflicts of interest, Form 700, the Brown Act and Board Governance.

Additional Experience

Prior to joining Lozano Smith, Ms. Flowers worked as an attorney at a public entity law firm, where she gained experience in labor and employment issues facing school districts and county offices of education, including: employee discipline, collective bargaining, contract interpretation, grievance processing and unfair labor practices. Ms. Flowers also has experience in a variety of matters that affect the provision of public education, including: governance and litigation.

Education

Ms. Flowers earned her J.D. from University of California at Davis in 2010 and was recognized as a Public Service Law Program scholar. She received her B.A. in English from Santa Clara University (cum laude) and her B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Philosophy from Santa Clara University (cum laude), both in 2007. Ms. Flowers has received certification through ATIXA as a participant in Level 1 and Level 3 ATIXA Civil Rights Investigator Trainings.

California Expands Definition Of Domestic Partners To Include Opposite Sex Couples

By: Gabriela FlowersCarolyn Gemma-

October 2019Number 63In California, registered domestic partners have "the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under the law" as spouses. (Fam. Code § 297.5, subd. (a).) Existing law limits domestic partnerships, among other requirements, to two groups of individuals: (1) couples of the same sex or (2) couples of the opposite sex, one or both of whom are over the age of 62 and eligible for social security bene...

Final Rule Increases Minimum Salary Threshold For FLSA Overtime Exemptions

By: Gabriela FlowersNiki Nabavi NouriJanae Castellani-

October 2019Number 59On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced its Final Rule, updating the minimum salary necessary for an executive, administrative or professional employee to be exempt from overtime pay requirements. Based on these revisions to the federal overtime rules, the DOL anticipates 1.3 million more employees will now be entitled to overtime pay.The DOL previously published updates to federal overtime regulations, effective December 1, 2016 (See 2016 Clie...

PERB Articulates Duties Of Employer When Faced With Internal Union Strife

By: Gabriela FlowersAngela Okamura-

October 2019Number 56In City of Arcadia (2019) PERB Dec. No. 2648-M, the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) grappled with a variety of issues surrounding a public employer's duties in the face of warring factions within one of its unions, as well as the propriety of "exploding" offers-an offer or proposal that expires on a given date-in the context of labor negotiations.PERB held that the City unlawfully interfered with internal union affairs when its police chief encouraged a union rep...

Department Of Labor Opinion Says Family Medical Leave Allowed For Parental Attendance At IEP Meetings At School

By: Gabriela FlowersMichelle Sliwa-

October 2019Number 50On August 8, 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor issued an opinion letter (Opinion Letter) stating that the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) covers intermittent leave to attend a child's Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting, so long as the child suffers from a qualifying "serious health condition" under the FMLA. Special education IEP meetings are convened to develop, review, and revise the written document created and implemented to meet the educational needs of a ch...

New Law Clarifies Anti-Discrimination Laws Include Hair Discrimination

By: Gabriela FlowersJoshua Whiteside-

August 2019Number 38The California Legislature recently passed Senate Bill (SB) 188, known as the CROWN Act, which amends the definition of "race" contained in state anti-discrimination laws under both the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Education Code to include "hair texture and protective hairstyles." The new law does not mean that public agencies have to change their dress codes unless specific hair texture and hairstyles are specified in their policy. Rather, the new law clarifie...

California Recognizes “Nonbinary” Gender Category And Requires Certain State Agencies To Collect Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Data

By: Gabriela FlowersCourtney de Groof-

April 2019Number 22The California Legislature recently passed legislation, taking effect in 2018 and 2019, making it easier for individuals to change their gender identity on official documents, adding a new gender identity option to certain forms of identification and vital records, and requiring certain state and local agencies to change data collection practices so that gender identity is more accurately accounted for in demographic data.Assembly Bill (AB) 677: Sexual Orientation and Gende...

Legislature Further Limits the Ability to Consider Expunged, Dismissed, or Sealed Convictions in Hiring Decisions

By: Gabriela FlowersBenjamin Brown-

December 2018 Number 84 Senate Bill (SB) 1412, which takes effect on January 1, 2019, builds on prior law limiting consideration of expunged, dismissed, or sealed convictions in hiring decisions. SB 1412 prevents employers from requiring job applicants to disclose certain criminal convictions that have been expunged, dismissed, sealed, or statutorily eradicated. SB 1412 also provides that employers may only consider particular expunged convictions that are enumerated in the law when makin...

New Law Expands the Four-Year Evidentiary Window in Permanent Certificated Discipline Cases Involving Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

By: Gabriela FlowersJayme Duque-

October 2018Number 62Assembly Bill (AB) 2128, effective January 1, 2019, will allow evidence and testimony outside the current four-year time window when a certificated employee is accused of sexual misconduct with a student or minor.Generally, Education Code section 44944 prohibits testimony, evidence, or a dismissal or suspension decision relating to matters that occurred more than four years before the date a permanent certificated employee is served with a notice of disciplinary action. W...

Legislature Enhances Minor Witness Protections in Employee Discipline Proceedings

By: Gabriela FlowersJayme Duque-

October 2018Number 63Assembly Bill (AB) 2234, which becomes effective January 1, 2019, provides a comprehensive set of requirements for the presentation of testimony by minor witnesses at administrative disciplinary proceedings initiated under the egregious misconduct hearing process for permanent certificated employees, and for discipline hearings involving allegations of egregious misconduct for permanent classified employees of merit or non-merit system school districts. As a reminder, in ...

Lawmakers Okay Budget Bill Addressing Union Dues Collection and Communications about Membership Rights

By: Dulcinea GranthamGabriela Flowers-

June 2018Number 29California lawmakers have approved a budget trailer bill that imposes new obligations on public sector employers related to deducting union dues and fees from workers' paychecks. Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 866 on the same day the United States Supreme Court barred the collection of mandatory agency fees that cover unions' cost of providing services, which the Court deemed a violation of workers' First Amendment free speech rights. (See 2018 CNB No. 27.)The ...

Supreme Court Rules Public Sector Union Agency Fees Are Unlawful

By: Dulcinea GranthamErin HamorGabriela Flowers-

This news brief is intended for public school districts, including community colleges. For the Janus news brief intended for municipalities and special districts, click here.June 2018Number 27Overturning a longstanding precedent, the United States Supreme Court has held in Janus v. AFSCME that public employees may not be compelled to pay mandatory agency fees, or "fair share" fees, to public-sector unions, because such fees violate the First Amendment.The Janus decision will have a sweeping, ...

When Politics and Walkouts Come to the Workplace: Considerations for Teachers, Superintendents, and Governing Boards

By: Dulcinea GranthamGabriela FlowersTilman Heyer-

March 2018 Number 8 The February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has inspired a groundswell of political activism at K-12 schools across the country. Lozano Smith previously reported on considerations and implications of student activism surrounding this issue. (See 2018 Client News Brief No. 7.) School districts must also consider if and how to regulate and respond to employee speech surrounding the gun control debate and other controversial topics. Additionally,...

Federal Court Holds Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation is Prohibited under Title VII

By: Gabriela FlowersJanae Castellani-

April 2017 Number 18 In Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (7th Cir., April 14, 2017, No. 15-1720) ___ F.3d ___ < http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit =Display&Path=Y2017/ D04-04/C:15-1720:J:Wood:aut:T:fnOp:N:1942256:S:0>, a federal appeals court evaluated whether federal antidiscrimination laws protect an individual against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)). In a landmark decision, t...