Mercedes M. Maldonado
Attorney at Law

Mercedes Maldonado was born and raised in the Bronx. She attended Long Island University on a full tuition scholarship awarded by District Council 37. After graduating Long Island University, cum laude, she earned her juris doctor from the Boston University School of Law in 1992.

Early in her career, Ms. Maldonado represented the concerns of employers at Burke Horan & Macri, a boutique labor and employment law firm that represented many hospitals, nursing homes and ARC’s affiliated with the New York Catholic Archdiocese. She switched to Union representation in 1995 when she joined O’Donnell Schwartz, Glanstein & Rosen to represent the labor interests of New York City correction officers under their newly elected President, Norman Seabrook, along with members of Local 100 of the Transport Worker’s Union and the American Maritime Officers, to name a few. There, Ms. Maldonado worked under the tutelage of Carl Rachlin, a preeminent civil rights lawyer. In 1999, Ms. Maldonado and Mr. Rachlin moved to the firm of Koehler & Isaacs where they continued to promote the interests of correction officers and other public and private employees in the work force. Representing unions has been a privilege that Ms. Maldonado intends to continue for many years to come.

Ms. Maldonado has extensive experience in Article 78 litigation, state and federal trial and appellate courts, labor arbitration, collective bargaining negotiations, as well as proceedings before the Public Employment Relations Board and the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining.

In April, 1996 the New York Law Journal published Quaranta v. Jacobson, a decision she won which challenged the Department of Correction’s effort to invoke the Public Officer’s Law, to justify their “automatic” termination of a correction officer without any charges or a hearing. Not long thereafter, BNA’s Labor & Employment Law Newsletter featured a decision she won for COBA in federal court, Laboy v. Seabrook, involving the efforts of a member to invalidate a dues increase. In 1999, the Chief Leader featured an arbitration award that she and Mr. Rachlin won, in which the arbitrator interpreted the Military Leave clause in COBA’s collective bargaining agreement to entitle members to eight more days of miliary leave than the New York State Military Leave Law provides. The arbitrator rejected the Department’s claim that the contract was intended to provide the same number of days as the statute. In 2004, Ms. Maldonado steered Reynolds v. Fraser to victory, the first case to be decided under the “victims of domestic violence” amendment to the New York City Human Rights law, bringing attention to this little known provision and paving the way for other victims to assert their rights. In 2006, Ms. Maldonado handed retirees a huge victory in McGarrigle v. NYCERS by putting a stop to unlawful pension deductions. The Court of Appeals agreed that correction officers who retired with 20 years of credited service are entitled to have their longevity earnings treated as pensionable. The Court rejected NYCERS’ argument that it could deduct longevity earnings from a correction officer’s pension calculation if any part of the officer’s 20 years of service consisted of non-correction officer service. For example, NYCERS deducted longevity in McGarrigle because the officer retired with 3 years of military service credit and 17 years of correction officer service. Unhappy with our victory, the City undertook limited compliance, forcing Ms. Maldonado to re-litigate the issue in DeBlasio v. NYCERS and, of course, prevail in 2009. Subsequent to DeBlasio decision, NYCERS recalculated and increased over 2,000 correction officer and captain pensions retroactive to each individual’s date of retirement.

Notable Cases Covered in the Media

Matter of Tchodie v. Brann, DOC Violated Lawful Procedure Terminating Corrections Officer; Termination Vacated, N.Y.L.J. Decisions of Interest (September 9, 2019).

Chelsia Rose Marcius, Jail Guard Axed After Injury Wins Suit, is Back to Work, NY Daily News (July 14, 2019).

Ellen Moynihan, Wrongfully fired Rikers Island correction officer wins legal fight to regain her job, collect back pay. NY Daily News (June 30, 2019).

Andrew Denney, Rikers Guard’s Allergies Are Disabilities, Judge Says, N.Y.L.J. (March 31, 2016).

Julia Marsh, Guard Fired for Being ‘Allergic’ to Rikers Can Sue His Bosses, NY Post (March 29, 2016).

Mark Toor, Rule Correction Dept. Wrongly Fired CO Who was Domestic-Abuse Victim, Chief Leader (August 17, 2015).

Joel Stashenko, Domestic Violence Victim Wins Reinstatement to Prison Agency, N.Y.L.J. (August 07, 2015).

Reuven Blau, Jude Orders NY correction Dept. To Reinstate Domestic Violence Victim, NY Daily News (August 6, 2015).

Chelsia Rose Marcius, Rikers Island Correction Officer Shot in the Face by Her Husband is Fighting to Get Her Job Back, NY Daily News (April 24, 2015).

Matter of Kaslow v. NYC, N.Y.L.J. (April 4, 2014).

Mark Toor, Arbitrator Orders More Heat for COs at Court, Chief Leader (September 30, 2011).

Mark Toor, Jail Union: Westchester Resists Awards from Arbitrators, Chief Leader (July 15, 2011).

Mark Toor, Westchester Wrongly Denied CO Time Off, Arbitrator Decides, Chief Leader (June 10, 2011).

Mark Toor, Unkind Cut Heals as Probie Fired Over Surgery is Rehired, Chief Leader (February 18, 2011).

Mark Toor, Westchester Sanctioned For Docking Injured COs= Pay, Chief Leader (November 19, 2010).

Matter of Stevens v. Schriro, N.Y.L.J. (October 7, 2010).

Mayo v. Personnel Review Bd. of Health Hosps. Corp., N.Y.L.J. (August 18, 2009).

Matter of DeBlasio v. The City of New York, N.Y.L.J. (May 27, 2009).

Matter of Horn v. New York City Civ. Serv. Commn., N.Y.L.J. (September 25, 2007).

Reuven Blau, Rule CO Longevity Pay Pensionable, Chief Leader (November 25, 2005).

David McGarrigle v. City of New York, N.Y.L.J. (November 3, 2005).

Reuven Blau, Firing Battered CO Illegal, Judge Rules, Chief Leader (October 8, 2004).

Jennifer Medina, Victim of Domestic Abuse Gets City Job Back, NY Times (September 29, 2004).

Robert F. Moore, Rehired After Jails Bungle, NY Daily News (September 29, 2004).

Mark Fass, Fired Domestic Abuse Victim Wins Under City Rights Law, N.Y.L.J. (September 27, 2004).

Bill Farrell, Pension Ruling May Have Wide Impact, NY Daily News (July 14, 2004).

Richard Steier, Rule CO=s Longevity Pay is Pensionable, Chief Leader (July 9, 2004).

Whitfield v. Fraser, N.Y.L.J. (August 1, 2003).

Reuven Blau, COs Get Benefits Restored, Chief Leader (June 27, 2003).

Quaranta v. Jacobson, N.Y.L.J. (April, 1996).