Meera H. Bhatt is an Associate in Lozano Smith's Fresno office. Ms. Bhatt is a member of the firm's Labor and Employment Practice Group. Ms. Bhatt advises clients regarding a wide-range of issues affecting public agencies related to labor and employment.
Ms. Bhatt has represented employers in state and federal courts, arbitrations, mediations, and in wide spectrum of administrative proceedings, including before agencies such as the DFEH, EEOC, DIR, Cal OSHA, Workers Compensation Appeals Board, Agricultural Labor Relations Board, and National Labor Relations Board. She has also represented clients at trial and successfully defended employers against alleged violations of FEHA, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, wrongful termination, wage and hour, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. She has experience advising employers regarding collective bargaining obligations, strike activity, investigations, disciplinary hearings, use of performance evaluations, and termination. Ms. Bhatt prides herself on her responsiveness and accessibility to clients.
Ms. Bhatt has regularly provided presentations and training to employers in a variety of labor and employment matters, including investigation into discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, sexual harassment, sick leave, and wage and hour issues. Ms. Bhatt is a long term member of Toastmasters, an international public speaking and leadership organization and has served two terms on the Executive Board.
Ms. Bhatt obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law where she earned the King Hall Pro Bono Award and the U.C. Davis Public Interest Law Certificate. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.
When a public official with responsibility for labor relations sponsors a ballot measure affecting workers' terms and conditions of employment, the duty to meet and confer arises, the California Supreme Court recently ruled. (Boling v. Public Employment Relations Board)
In 2010, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders developed a citizen's initiative to eliminate traditional pensions for new hires. Sanders told the press that his purpose for pursuing pension r...
This news brief is intended for municipalities and special districts. For the Janus news brief intended for public school districts, including community colleges, click here.
In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has held that non-union public employees may no longer be required to pay mandatory agency fees on the grounds that such fees violate the First Amendment. In so holding, Janus v. AFSCME reverses 40 years of legal precedent. Janus may be one o...
In Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Products (9th Cir. 2017) 847 F.3d 678, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently delivered an important opinion regarding public entity employers and what is required for an appropriate response to an employee's complaint of harassment or hostile work environment. In doing so, the Ninth Circuit emphasized that employer liability may exist for negligence, if the employer fails to take effective remedial action in response to such an empl...
In Reynaga v. Roseburg Forest Products (9th Cir. 2017) 847 F.3d 678, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently delivered an important opinion regarding public entity employers and what is required for an appropriate response to an employee's complaint of harassment or hostile work environment. In doing so, the Ninth Circuit emphasized that employer liability may exist for negligence, if the employer fails to take effective remedial action in response to such an employe...
To prove a claim for disability discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employee must establish intent on the part of the employer. Recently, the Court of Appeal for the Fifth District held that the "intent" requirement is satisfied if the employee proves (1) the employer knew the employee had a disability or the employer perceived the employee as disabled, and (2) the employee's actual or perceived disability was a "substantial ...
In Munroe v. Central Bucks School District (E.D. Pa. 2014) 34 F. Supp. 3d 532, 538, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that a teacher's blog disparaging students was not "protected speech" under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Although not binding precedent in California, the decision provides guidance in evaluating what First Amendment protections should be afforded to employees' speech, if any.
Natalie Munroe, a former employee of...