Tueth Keeney shareholders Margaret Hesse, Celynda Brasher, Pete Yelkovac, and Melanie Keeney each gave presentations on April 22, 2009, at the MOASBO Spring Conference at The Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. Margaret’s presentation addressed the “Provisional COBRA Requirements under the ARRA.” Melanie provided the conference attendees with an “E-Verify Update.” Pete spoke on “Everything but the Kitchen Sink.” Celynda addressed “Collective Bargaining – Current Issues.”
Melanie, Pete, Celynda, and Margaret were invited to present at this conference for public school business administrators based on their experience in providing legal advice to school districts regarding labor and employment matters (including insurance benefits, immigration, and collective bargaining), as well as general school issues – and based on their successful defense of school districts that have experienced threatened or actual litigation arising out of these matters. The presentations addressed the legal issues associated with (1) the new requirements under COBRA for employees that have been involuntarily terminated (as well as other relevant provisions) (2) the E-Verify requirements imposed under state and federal law to ensure that employees are legally authorized to work in the United States; (3) how public school districts should bargain with employees and what should and should not be included in collective bargaining agreements; and (4) the variety of questions that arise pertaining to students, employees, programming, and operations in public school districts. The presentations focused on planning for and preventing legal issues that arise in connection with all of the topics – especially the role of training and affirmative interventions to help reduce the threat of litigation.
Minimizing legal risk is an essential element of the Tueth Keeney practice. Firm attorneys are often asked to participate in seminars focused on educating clients, as well as business and other community organizations, with the purpose of preventing avoidable litigation. This presentation was consistent with that purpose.
Margaret A. Hesse practices in the areas of school litigation, education law and labor and employment law. Margaret is an experienced and successful trial attorney who has represented many Illinois and Missouri school districts in litigation matters. She has prevailed on behalf of educational institutions in numerous jury and non-jury trials in federal and state courts. In addition to her litigation practice, Margaret represents school districts in employment and student matters, including Title VII, the Safe Schools Act, Title IX, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Equal Pay Act. She also regularly assists Illinois and Missouri school districts with wage-hour compliance under the Fair Labor Standards Act, with Workers’ Compensation issues and with health care plan and HIPAA issues.
Celynda L. Brasher is a founding Shareholder of Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt P.C. She practices in the areas of education, litigation and labor and employment law. Celynda represents numerous school districts throughout Missouri. She regularly advises boards of education and administrators on matters involving employee hiring, evaluation, remediation, and termination; student rights and discipline; special education; Section 504; school finance; civil rights; employment and business contracts; the Open Meetings Act; church/state issues; and other constitutional matters. Celynda also represents public, private, and non-profit employers in discrimination defense, collective bargaining, union organization, unemployment compensation, wage/hour compliance and terminations, as well as a variety of other employment law areas. Celynda has extensive litigation experience in federal and state courts and before federal and state administrative agencies.
Peter G. Yelkovac is a founding shareholder of the firm. Pete concentrates his practice on the representation of Missouri school districts of all sizes. Pete’s school law and school litigation practice extends to all corners of the State, and he presently serves as lead counsel for dozens of Missouri school districts. Over his career, Pete has successfully defended many school districts in federal and state lawsuits. He also regularly represents school districts in administrative proceedings and during investigations by federal and state agencies. Educational organizations and institutions regularly invite Pete to deliver speeches and presentations on a variety of school and employment law issues. Peter earned his B.S. summa cum laude from Indiana State University, where he graduated from the University Honors Program. Pete received his J.D. summa cum laude from Valparaiso University, where he was executive managing editor of the Law Review. Pete is also a prolific author on school law topics. Pete writes a regular column on school law for the MoASBO Journal. He served as editor and as a co-author of the First Edition of the Missouri Bar’s School Law Deskbook.
Melanie Gurley Keeney practices in the areas of school, higher education, labor and employment, and immigration law. Her experience in education law includes representing numerous Missouri school districts and institutions of higher education regarding a wide range of personnel and student matters. Melanie also specializes in First Amendment issues, ranging from free speech to religion in the schools, and she regularly advises school districts on these issues. She also serves as an invited speaker in the local and national level. Melanie has extensive experience litigating both federal and state cases. Melanie is a past board member of the National School Board Association’s Council of School Attorneys and is past Chairman of the Missouri Council of School Attorneys.