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Selected Cases

Representative Cases

We have found success with all types of employment law cases, including:


Federal Service Hearings

Britt S. v. Department of the Navy
OFO Appeal No. 0120152847

We won an appeal at the EEOC Office of Federal Operations on behalf of a federal government contractor who alleged that the Department of the Navy discriminated against him based on his religious beliefs and obtained a ruling finding that the government acted as a joint employer so that it, along with the contractor, could both be liable for discrimination. The Agency’s EEO office dismissed his complaint on the grounds that our client was not an employee of the Agency. The Office of Federal Operations reversed the dismissal and held that, under a common law agency analysis, the Agency exerted significant control over the contractor’s work functions such that he was considered an employee of the Agency and his complaint was properly before the Agency for adjudication.

David Lott v. Dept. of the Navy and U.S. Dept. of Defense
EEOC No. 531-2013-00110X

After a three-day hearing, an administrative judge ruled in our client’s favor and found that the agency retaliated against our client for pursuing his EEO complaint.

Weller v. GSA
MSPB Docket 0752-12-0519-I-1 (2014)

We won a trial before the MSPB on behalf of former GSA Region 7 Commissioner James Weller.

MSPB ruled in favor of our client, James Weller, former Region 7 Commissioner of the General Services Administration, who lost his job following the Western Regions Las Vegas Conference scandal, cleared him of alleged wrongdoing, reinstated him to his former job and awarded 19 months' back pay, in a decision issued by MSPB administrative judge Ronald Weiss following a trial held last July.

Finding that GSA had failed to prove any of its four contentions that Mr. Weller engaged in conduct unbecoming a federal employee in regards to the planning of the Western Regions Las Vegas conference, MSPB administrative law judge Ronald Weiss reversed GSA's decision to terminate Mr. Weller's employment and ordered that he be returned to work with19 months' back pay.

Jane Doe v. DC Superior Court

We won a trial before a Hearing Officer on behalf of a Superior Court employee who had been fired based on an alleged complaint by a former co-worker. We obtained reinstatement and back pay. We believe that this may be the only time DC Superior Court has not prevailed in a personnel hearing case.

Marcus Bonds v. Dept. of Labor
EEOC Case No. 570-2006-00660X

We won a trial on behalf of our client in a non selection race discrimination case. Our client, an African-American Department of Labor employee, had been told that he would be noncompetitively promoted to a GS-15 position when the employee in that position retired but the agency required Mr. Bonds to interview for the position and then promoted a white female employee who had been supervised by Mr. Bonds. Following a bench trial held before an EEOC Administrative Judge we obtained an award of back pay, front pay, compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Carroll Melton v. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development
EEOC Docket No. 570-2012-00096X

We won a trial held before an EEOC Administrative Judge in a disability discrimination case brought under the Rehabilitation Act and obtained an award restoring our client to work, ordering the agency to allow our client to telecommute as a reasonable accommodation for his disability, ordering payment of compensatory damages, attorney's fees, interest and nearly four years' of lost wages and benefits.

Mary Schiappa v. Office of the Architect of the Capitol
Case No. 11-AC-135/2012

We won a trial held before an Office of Compliance appointed Administrative Hearing Officer in a disability discrimination case brought under the Rehabilitation Act and obtained an order directing the agency to grant our client's request for reasonable accommodations, awarding compensatory damages and awarding attorney's fees.

Bren Lowery v. Office of the Architect of the Capitol
Case No.: 10-AC-14/2011

We won a trial held before an Office of Compliance appointed Administrative Hearing Officer in a hostile work environment racial discrimination case brought under Title VII and obtained an order awarding compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Jeffery Smith v. Dept of the Treasury
EEOC Docket No.l00-2005-00704X

We won a trial held before an EEOC Administrative Judge in a Title VII retaliation case and obtained an order awarding compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Janyce Wiggins v. Dept of Veterans Affairs
EEOC CASE NO. 100-AO-7779X

We won a trial held before an EEOC Administrative Judge in a Title VII retaliation case alleging non-selection and obtained an order awarding compensatory damages and attorneys' fees.


Federal Service Adverse Action Successes

FDA
We represented an FDA employee, a service-related disabled veteran, who received a proposed removal for misconduct, specifically, conduct unbecoming a federal employee when she was allegedly involved in an altercation and then removed from the premises of her employment facility. We argued that our client had not engaged in the alleged altercation, and in fact, that she had been subjected to a hostile work environment with her supervisor unwilling to communicate with her which exacerbated PTSD., and that her lengthy and exceptional career as a federal employee were mitigating factors. Based on our arguments, the Deciding Official reduced her penalty to a 14 day suspension.

Department of Justice
We represented a DOJ employee who received a notice of proposed removal based on alleged poor performance, much of which was attributed to the client’s known medical conditions, and its resulting restrictions.  We submitted a comprehensive written reply to the agency’s proposal, at play.  After reviewing the information we providing during the reply period, the Deciding Official rescinded the proposal, and instead transferred the client to a different division within her commuting area to a position to a lower grade level.

Department of Agriculture
Our client alleged discrimination and retaliation due to his failure to be selected for six positions.  We obtained deposition testimony corroborating our client's claims that his nonelection’s were due to discrimination and retaliation.  As a result, we defeated the agency's summary judgment motion.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
Our client worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) for more than thirty years. The client received a Proposed Removal for failing to report two DUI arrests to his supervisor. We submitted a written reply arguing that the conduct had no nexus to the efficiency of the service, and the Agency mitigated the removal to a 22-day suspension.

Department of Commerce
We represented a Department of Commerce employee who was removed from his position based on allegations of misconduct, specifically conduct unbecoming a federal employee, wherein our client was accused of making unsubstantiated inflammatory and derogatory racist statements to another Commerce employee. We filed an appeal with the MSPB, and were able to settle the manner clearing our client’s OPM file of the removal, having his attorney’s fees paid, and obtaining a significant sum of monies for the damages he suffered as a result of the removal.

Department of Defense
We represented a non-appropriated fund (NAF) employee who had received a written reprimand based upon two emails that allegedly contained unprofessional comments.  We appealed the written reprimand through the agency’s grievance system, arguing that the reprimand was unreasonable in light of extenuating circumstances, and it was retaliation for the client’s disclosures of law, rule, or regulation.  Upon receiving our appeal and supporting evidence, the Hearing Officer rescinded the written reprimand in its entirety. 

Department of the Navy
We represented a Department of Navy employee who received a proposed removal for Unacceptable Performance following alleged unsuccessful completion of their PIP.  We argued that the Agency was holding the employee to an unreasonably high standard of performance and that the employee had met the PIP requirements. Based on our arguments, the Deciding Official reversed the proposal and held that our client did perform at an acceptable level during the PIP and returned the employee to their position.

Department of Defense
A federal employee was deployed to Afghanistan with over twenty years of excellent performance. Her deployment was curtailed for alleged insubordination in 2013. She initially retained us to respond to a Proposed Suspension based on the alleged insubordination, which we successfully opposed – it was fully rescinded. We then filed an EEOC complaint alleging hostile work environment based on her sex. Through a FOIA request, we were able to obtain helpful evidence of her damages (lost future deployment opportunities). After the EEOC Judge denied the Agency’s motion for summary judgment, the Agency agreed to settle the case by paying our client $80,000 and expunging negative items from her personnel file.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Our client was removed from federal employment after nearly 30 years of service for alleged issues relating to reporting of time and attendance, misuse of a government cell phone, and failure to report personal travel to the Agency. The Virginia Employment Commission initially found our client ineligible for unemployment benefits because the Agency contended that he was discharged for misconduct. We successfully argued at a hearing that the time and attendance discrepancies were related to medical absences, which were timely reported to the Agency, and that the other alleged misconduct was not willful. The hearing officer reversed the initial decision and found our client eligible for unemployment benefits.

Department of Defense

We represented a DoD employee who received a proposed 14 day suspension for Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Employee when he allegedly made lewd comments and told off-color jokes to a group of colleagues and shared inappropriate images. We argued that the comments and images were not as offensive as alleged and that our client’s long history of exemplary service (over 13 years) and other mitigating factors supported a lower penalty. Based on our arguments, the Deciding Official reduced the penalty to the lowest penalty recommended by the Table of Penalties, a 5 day suspension.

The Federal Aviation Administration

We represented a federal employee who was charged with Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Employee and faced a proposed a 20-day suspension. Our client was the second-line supervisor to an employee who filed inconsistent official documents, including time and attendance records and travel documents. We argued that the Agency's use of the general "Conduct Unbecoming" charge required that the Agency prove the essence of the charged behavior, here, "Failure to Supervise." We argued that, as second-line supervisor, our client was only responsible for supervising the employee's first-line supervisor and that he did so properly. The Deciding Official mitigated the discipline to a 14-day suspension. We then filed an internal administrative grievance where the Grievance Official fully rescinded the 14-day suspension.

The Coast Guard

We represented a federal employee who admitted to violating Agency policy by manipulating documents, misplacing files, and granting extensions to deadlines without approval. The Agency proposed a three-day suspension and a demotion from GS-9 to GS-7. We submitted a detailed written response to the charges. We argued that two specifications by the Agency were unsupported and also that recent traumatic events in our client’s personal life should serve to mitigate the penalty. The Agency accepted our arguments and mitigated the discipline to a letter of reprimand.

Department of Veterans Affairs

A federal employee with more than 25 years of service contacted us after the Agency proposed to demote her for conduct unbecoming. The Agency alleged that the employee made inappropriate comments and used profane and condescending language with her subordinates and contractors. We submitted both written and oral replies, arguing that the employee did not engage in all of the alleged misconduct, that demotion was unreasonably harsh, and that the employee was being discriminated against. The deciding official sustained only four of the six specifications and gave the employee a written reprimand.

Department of Defense

A federal employee with over 30 years of service contacted us after he was proposed for a 30-day suspension for failing to follow established procedures and a lack of candor. The facts involved the employee’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. After a thorough review of the documents relied upon by the proposing official, we submitted a written reply to the proposed 30-day suspension arguing that the agency had not proven all of its specifications under the charge of failure to follow established procedures and that the agency had not proven by the letter of the law, that the employee demonstrated a lack of candor. Our legal argument coupled with our demonstration that the applicable Douglas factors necessitated mitigation of the proposed 30-day penalty, resulted in a reduced penalty of a 14-day suspension.

The Library of Congress

Following two rounds of extensive research and briefing focusing on Due Process and harmful error concerns and factual inaccuracies, we successfully defended a senior employee at The Library of Congress against a Notice of Proposed Adverse Action. Facing five (5) specifications and a job demotion from his GS-15 position, we convinced the Deciding Official not to reduce our client's pay grade and to limit the penalty to an official reprimand which potentially may be removed from his personnel file in the future.

Department of Veteran Affairs

We represented a physician employed by the VA who was presented with a proposal to revoke her clinical privileges and remove her from her position and federal service based on alleged poor performance and failure to satisfactorily complete a Focused Practitioners Performance Evaluation (FPPE). We worked with our client to submit a lengthy written defense and participated in her oral presentation, pointing out procedural defects in the way the FPPE was conducted and presenting mitigating circumstances personal to our client. After receiving and reviewing these responses, the Deciding Official denied the proposal to revoke our client’s privileges and remove her, based on the totality of the circumstances we had argued. Our client was fully restored to her clinical privileges and position.

Defense Contract Management Agency

We represented a federal employee who was accused by a colleague of threatening to "split [his supervisor] in half with a machete." He was charged with Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Employee for threatening a supervisor. The Agency proposed to issue our client a letter of reprimand. Although our client admitted to saying the word "machete," we argued that it was not directed at his supervisor and was simply a comment muttered in frustration. We pointed out that the accuser was not credible because both the alleged witnesses contradicted his accusation. We also emphasized our client's distinguished career and spotless disciplinary record. The Agency accepted our arguments and rescinded the formal discipline, instead only verbally counsel the client on avoiding saying things that might be misinterpreted.

John Doe v. US Marshal's Service

In a recent case of ours, a federal employee was accused of misconduct by the Agency for allegedly "directing profanity and a slur at an employee". The Agency proposed to suspend him without pay. We argued in response that there was a lack of evidence that any profanity used was specifically directed at any employee or that the employee used any sort of slur. Instead, we contended that this was simply a case of momentary workplace frustration without any malicious intent whatsoever. We also stressed the employee's history of valuable contributions and exemplary performance, as well as his spotless disciplinary record. The Agency accepted our arguments and rescinded the proposed suspension.

Veterans Administration

We represented a professional in the Behavioral Health department of a VA medical center. The Agency proposed our client's removal due to alleged Failure to Follow Instructions, Unauthorized Disclosure of Protected Health Information, and Conduct Unbecoming a Supervisor or Clinician. We represented our client by submitting a written response to the allegations and participating in his oral response in which the Deciding Official questioned him on the events and circumstances. Although the Deciding Official sustained the charges in this case, he reduced the penalty to a 14-day suspension based on the mitigating factors present.

Defense Intelligence Agency

We represented a federal employee with 5 years of civilian federal service following 26 years of military service who was accused of insubordination. She came to us when she received a proposal for a 5 day suspension based on Conduct Unbecoming a Federal Employee. We submitted a written response and participated in the client's oral response, arguing that the employee had, in fact, acted in an exemplary manner under difficult conditions and in a crisis situation and that the charges were based on her supervisor's insecurity and leadership weaknesses. Based on our arguments, the proposed suspension was rescinded in its entirety.

Veterans Administration

We represented a physician with four years federal experience against a number of charges related to a failure to follow procedures, being Absent Without Leave, and delaying patient care. The Agency had proposed her removal from her position and federal service. We provided a written response to the charges and participated in the employee's oral response, explaining that the charges were based on a misunderstanding and that the proposal was unreasonable. We also argued that the prior disciplinary action imposed upon her for an earlier incident should not be used to enhance any discipline imposed in this case. Based on our response, the Agency rescinded the proposed removal in its entirety.

Transportation Security Administration

We represented a federal employee with over 12 years federal experience and 11 years of active duty military and National Guard service when the Agency proposed that she be suspended for five days. The bases for the charges related to an alleged failure to follow procedures and failure to exercise due diligence during events that had occurred months before. Although the client denied that she had acted improperly, she had already requested that she be reassigned from a supervisory position to a non-supervisory one shortly after the incidents, based on her personal preference. When the Agency proposed her suspension anyway, the client came to us for assistance. We provided a written response defending the client's actions and detailing subsequent events. We also requested that she be given the opportunity to respond orally. However, before the oral response was held, the Agency cancelled the oral reply and rescinded the proposed suspension in its entirety, based on the written response.

Bureau of Prisons

We represented a federal employee who faced a proposed demotion based on several events in which he allegedly failed to follow BOP policy regarding inmate management, engaged in unprofessional conduct towards his co-workers, and was AWOL. We provided a written response in which we pointed out the charges were retaliatory for the client's protected EEO activity and were fabricated and exaggerated in order to shift blame from the responsible parties on to our client. In fact, our client had acted admirably and with good judgment during the difficult situations described. Based on our response, the Agency reduced the proposed penalty from a demotion to a 10 day suspension.

Department of the Treasury

A federal employee with over six years of federal service contacted us after her supervisor proposed to remove her for allegedly unacceptable performance. The employee had received outstanding performance ratings and had no prior discipline. However, the employee had objected to her supervisor's racist comments and efforts to prevent minorities from being promoted. Shortly thereafter, the supervisor placed the employee on a performance improvement plan. We submitted a written response and attended the oral reply, explaining that the PIP was technically deficient, the allegations of poor performance were false, and the proposal was issued in retaliation for whistle-blowing. The Agency decided to rescind the notice of proposal in its entirety.

Department of Justice

A federal employee with nearly 30 years of service contacted us after the agency proposed to remove her for alleged false statements and conduct unbecoming. Specifically, the Agency alleged that the employee failed to provide complete and truthful information about a family member's legal issues. The alleged infractions did not occur during the performance of the employee's job duties. We submitted a written response and provided an oral reply, explaining that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charges, that the issues were unrelated to the employee's job duties, and that the Agency failed to consider the special circumstances of the case. The Agency decided not to sustain the false statement charge and reduced the punishment to a 14-day suspension.

Veterans Administration

We represented a VA employee who received a proposal to remove based on the allegations of a subordinate employee. After providing evidence that the proposing official and the agency failed to exercise due diligence in investigating the allegations against our client, the deciding official notified us that an oral response was unnecessary as he was cancelling the proposal action and would not be issuing any disciplinary action against our client.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

A federal employee with over almost nine years of federal service contacted us after she received a proposal to remove her from her position and the federal service under the procedures set forth in 5 USC Section 4303 and 5 CFR Part 432 due to alleged unacceptable performance in one of the critical elements of her position description.

In a performance-based action taken under the cited statutory authority, the agency needed to prove all elements of its case by "substantial evidence," which is a lower evidentiary standard than a "preponderance of the evidence," used in other removal actions. In addition to a lesser burden of proof, the agency needed to show only that: (1) our client knew the standards against which her performance would be measured; (2) she was adequately instructed how to perform her duties; and (3) she had a reasonable time to improve her performance.

In this case, our client had successfully completed a prior PIP but she was required to maintain a certain percentage rate under her Critical Element of Timeliness for one-year or she could face removal. Our client's percentage fell below the minimum requirements and the agency issued the proposed removal.

After our initial consultation, it was clear that the job performance issues were related to her disability and that she had informally asked for reasonable accommodations on numerous occasions but her supervisors never engaged her in an interactive dialogue, as required by the law.

We prepared a written response and presented an oral reply where we argued that the proposed removal was based on failure to accommodate. The agency offered a Last Chance Agreement and granted our client's request for a transfer as a reasonable accommodation.

Department of Veterans Affairs

A federal employee with over four years of federal service contacted us after she received a proposal to remove her from her position and the federal service and a proposed revocation of privileges due to allegations that she had failed to complete medical assessments and patient screenings in a timely manner and that she had failed to properly document patient records.

We disputed the allegations, established that her past performance ratings had been Excellent and Fully Successful, and contended that she had previously alerted the Agency to persistent issues and concerns with her inability to complete all duties necessary due to time constraints and understaffing. Due to our client's dissatisfaction with her work environment, she took the initiative to look for another position and was selected for reassignment to another position at a different VA location, contingent on her retaining employee status.

Our client's responses to the proposed adverse actions were due one week prior to her start date in her new position. Understanding that there was a possibility the Agency could issue an adverse determination sustaining the removal prior to our client's start date which would result in revocation of the reassignment, we quickly reached out to the Agency's representatives.

We successfully negotiated terms with the Agency to permit our client to change her reassignment start date to begin prior to the deadline for her responses, which effectively rendered the Agency's proposed removal and proposed revocation of privileges moot and it allowed our client to be reassigned without a determination on her record.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A federal employee with over 8-years of federal service contacted us after she received a proposal to remove her from her position and the federal service due to a negative suitability determination based on allegations that she had engaged in misconduct/negligence in employment and dishonest conduct relating to her disclosures in her job application. We submitted a written response demonstrating that she had in fact provided honest disclosures and many of the cited incidents were verbal warnings and did not require disclosure. Based on this submission, the agency determined that our client had illustrated that she did not commit the infractions as alleged and all of her conditions of employment were reinstated.

Defense Intelligence Agency

A decorated veteran with 20-years of military service and over nine years of federal service contacted us after he received a proposal to revoke his eligibility for access to sensitive compartmented information which would result in losing his top secret security clearance. Shortly after retaining our firm, he received a proposed indefinite suspension from his position for failure to satisfy a condition of employment (top secret security clearance) due to the first pending proposal to revoke his access to information. We submitted written responses to both proposals demonstrating that the conduct in question did not pose a security threat, identifying applicable mitigating factors, and submitted two supervisor's statements in support of the employee's continued service, in addition to providing an oral reply. Based on these submissions and oral reply, the agency rescinded their proposed revocation and indefinite suspension, reinstated the employee's access to information, and reinstated the employee to his position.

Homeland Security

A federal employee contacted us after he received a proposal to indefinitely suspend him after his access to classified information was suspended. We submitted a response to the proposal and appealed his suspension to the MSPB alleging that he was suspended without due process and the agency reinstated the employee's access to classified information.

Transportation Security Agency

A federal employee with over six years of federal service, no prior discipline, and satisfactory performance evaluations contacted us after he was removed due to his alleged conduct unbecoming and lack of candor. We appealed his removal to the OPR Appellate Board disputing the charges against him. The Board granted his appeal and ordered the Agency to reinstate him to his prior position with back pay.

Peace Corps

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a proposal to terminate his employment as a result of an adverse suitability determination based on allegations that he made material, intentional false statements on his declaration for federal employment. The employee had only been employed with the Peace Corps for eight months, however, had exceptional performance. We submitted a response to the proposal demonstrating that the employee misunderstood a particular question and believed that he had responded truthfully on his declaration for employment and included statements from the employee's supervisors in support of his continued service. The agency overturned the adverse suitability determination and cancelled his proposed removal.

NIH

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a notice of proposal to remove him from his position for alleged inappropriate behavior directed at his supervisor. We submitted a written response to the proposal, pointing out that this employee was a veteran of war; he had suffered post traumatic stress disorder, combat trauma related disability, and various other disabilities; he had repeatedly told his supervisor and management about these medical conditions and requested reasonable accommodations that were denied; and he believed that the proposed removal was discriminatory based on his disabilities. After review of our submission, the Agency withdrew the proposed removal.

DOT

A federal employee contacted us after the agency proposed to suspend her for 14 days for alleged careless work performance and improper conduct. The employee had a stellar performance record with no previous disciplinary actions. However, she had recently filed an EEO complaint regarding the agency's failure to reasonably accommodate her. We submitted a written response to the proposal alleging that the agency was retaliating against the employee for filing an EEO complaint. The agency reduced the penalty from a 14-day suspension to an admonishment.

VA

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a proposal to remove. She told us that before she received the proposal, she had been offered another position with the same agency but with a different organization and at a different location. After we explained the circumstances to agency counsel, the agency agreed not to pursue the proposed removal and to release the employee so that she could transition to her new position.

DOD

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a notice of proposal to remove her from her position. The employee believed that contract employees made complaints about her because she told her supervisors that the contract employees' services were no longer needed. After we submitted a written response to the proposal and represented her during her oral response, the agency decided not to remove her but instead, offered her a different position at the same grade and pay.

DOD

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a proposal to remove her from her position. Although the employee had committed the offenses alleged in the proposal, the employee had a mental health disability and had made several requests for accommodations that the agency had ignored. After we submitted a written response to the proposal pointing out to the agency that our client should have been accommodated, the agency agreed and did not remove the employee.

National Guard Bureau

We represented an employee with over 28 years of federal service. After many years of successful performance evaluations, she began working for a new supervisor who placed her on a Performance Improvement Plan, denied her a within grade increase and proposed her removal. Because of her age and number of years with the federal government, she was able to apply for discontinued service retirement. We were able to negotiate a settlement agreement with the agency that included payment of all of her attorney's fees and approximately two months of administrative leave with pay.

NIH

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a notice of proposal to remove him from his position for allegedly failing to maintain a regular full time schedule and for alleged medical inability to perform his job duties. We submitted a written response to the proposal pointing out that this employee suffered from gastrointestinal problems; he had verbally advised his supervisor of his medical problems and submitted medical documentation identifying his disorders and requesting the reasonable accommodation of a flexible schedule; and he believed that the proposed removal was discriminatory based on his disability. After review of our submission, the Agency withdrew the proposed removal.

Department of Defense

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a proposal to remove him from his position. The employee had engaged in some of the alleged infractions but so had several of his coworkers, who were not similarly subjected to the same discipline. We reviewed the Agency's Handbooks, Policies, and evidence it submitted to substantiate its allegations against the employee and found several inconsistencies with its' argument. After submitting a written response highlighting those inconsistencies, the employee's past satisfactory job performance for over 25-years in the federal service, and providing an oral reply, the Agency agreed and did not remove the employee.

Department of Homeland Security (TSA)

A federal employee with over 10-years of service contacted us after receiving a proposal to remove him from his position. The employee had committed the alleged infractions; however, there were discrepancies regarding the correct dates and procedures the Agency required of him. We prepared a written response to the Agency's allegations, participated in an oral reply, and the Agency agreed to not remove the employee.

Defense Logistics Agency

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a proposal to remove him after his supervisor alleged he had threatened him. The employee had excellent performance ratings and no prior disciplinary actions in his nine year federal career. He had, however, filed several EEO complaints alleging his supervisor was discriminating against him based on his national origin. We submitted a written response to the proposal alleging that the agency was retaliating against the employee for his prior EEO complaints. The agency reduced the penalty from a removal to a 14-day suspension.


Federal Employee Discrimination Lawsuits

Kim Ellison v. Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
Civil Action No. 11-01386

We represented a federal employee who was placed on a performance improvement plan and terminated after she requested a reasonable accommodation. Following the termination, our client's medical condition worsened to the point that she could no longer work even with an accommodation. After we filed a complaint in federal court, the agency agreed to settle the case by paying our client $95,000.00.

Stephanie Riddick v. Tom Vilsack, Secretary, Department of Agriculture (D.D.C.)
Civil Action No. 07-1819

We represented a former federal employee who claimed she was terminated because of her race and in retaliation for filing an EEO complaint. When we deposed the agency employees, we learned that the agency's practice was to transfer employees who were not performing well to other departments. In addition, a former supervisor of our client testified that he had an open position and had offered to take her back in his department. Despite this, the agency terminated our client. Shortly after these disclosures, we were able to settle the case for $330,000.00.


DC Office of Employee Appeals

Regina Ogwuegbu v. DC Dep't of Behavioral Health

Click here to read a copy of the decision.

Our client was employed as a psychiatric nurse/team lead at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital for 22 years. In 2014, she sustained injuries following a physical altercation with a patient that was videotaped and witnessed by co-workers. Despite evidence supporting a finding that our client acted appropriately, the hospital proposed to terminate our client's employment in spite of her many years of excellent service. We opposed the proposal and persuaded a hearing officer to find in our client's favor. However, the hospital did not agree with the hearing officer and decided to terminate our client's employment despite the decision. We appealed the decision to the OEA and, following a hearing on the merits, obtained a decision from Judge Dohnji reversing the hospital's decision to terminate her employment, ordering that our client be reinstated to her job, and awarding all of her back pay and benefits lost as a result of her removal.

DC Department of Corrections

A Correctional Officer with almost 23-years of service with the DC Department of Corrections contacted us after he was removed from his employment, filed his appeal with OEA 8-months after the deadline, and the Judge issued a Show Cause Order directing him to file a Brief in Support of Jurisdiction due to his untimely filing. We submitted a brief identifying that DC had failed to follow all of the procedural requirements in violation of the applicable statutes which denied our client due process and resulted in harmful error and his untimely filing of his appeal. The Judge ruled in our favor and reinstated our client's appeal to be assigned a judge where his removal can be determined on the merits of his case.

Jackson v. DC Department of Health

Our client was employed as a driver and was terminated from his employment as part of a Reduction In Force; however, he had seniority over one other person employed as a driver and that person retained their job. The District argued that the other person was paid from a federal grant rather than from regular operating funds and so was not in the same competitive area. The Administrative Judge agreed and upheld the termination without regard to the existence of the other, less senior driver. However, on appeal, the OEA reversed and remanded the case to the Administrative Judge to determine whether in fact there was a less senior person who should have been included in the RIF rather than Mr. Jackson.


MSPB Successes

Kamietra Williams v. Department of Defense
MSPB Docket No. PH-0752-17-0130-I-1
We responded to a Department of Defense employee’s Proposed Removal. Her agency was proposing her removal for lack of candor because she misunderstood the authenticity of a training certificate she received. She had no prior discipline and excellent performance reviews. The Agency sustained the removal, but on appeal to the MSPB, we successfully mitigated her penalty to a suspension. As the prevailing party, we filed a motion to recover her attorney’s fees.

Department of Defense

The Agency placed our client on indefinite suspension without pay based on the suspension of his security clearance. We appealed to MSPB and argued that the indefinite suspension should be reversed because the agency failed to provide our client with sufficient notice of the allegations against him, required under 5 U.S.C. § 7513. The agency declined to engage in any settlement discussions leaving our client no alternative other than to proceed to a hearing. The testimony and evidence adduced at the hearing established the agency considered documents that were never provided to our client which is prohibited under the regulations. This evidence, combined with our legal arguments, led to a favorable resolution.

Zygmunt v. Department of the Navy
MSPB Docket Number PH-0752-15-0292-I-1

Beginning our representation at the appellate stage, we drafted a Petition for Review, resulting in an MSPB Remand Order, in a protected disclosure and hostile work environment case against the Department of the Navy. Focusing on the hearing record, this Firm successfully contrasted record exhibits against inconsistent testimony presented by the Agency to the Administrative Judge, reasoned that the three (3) specific disclosures constituted contributing factors to the proposed suspension pursuant to the "knowledge/timing test," and argued that the Agency had failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same personnel action absent the protected disclosure.

Beverly Schwab v. Sally Jewell, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, Agency
No. DOI BIA-13-0019

We represented a federal employee who received a reassignment from her position in Washington, DC to a position in Colorado. Our client did not want to move to Colorado and believed the real reason for the reassignment was retaliation for having requested a reasonable accommodation. After advising the agency of our intention to file an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board, the agency agreed to settle the case by reinstating our client to a position in Washington, DC and paying her $175,000.00.

Weller v. GSA
MSPB Docket 0752-12-0519-I-1 (2014)

We won a trial at MSPB where the Administrative Judge exonerated former GSA Region 7 Commissioner James Weller for his alleged role in GSA's Western Regions Conference.

Smithsonian

A federal employee contacted us after receiving notice that he had been terminated from his position as a security guard in a federal building. After appealing the termination to the MSPB, the agency agreed to change the termination to a resignation, pay the employee $18,000.00, and place the employee on administrative leave until he was able to retire from the federal government.

VA

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a notice that she had been terminated from her position. The employee believed the removal was in retaliation for EEO complaints that she had filed against her supervisor. After appealing the termination to the MSPB, the agency agreed to reinstate the employee to a new position with back pay and benefits and pay all of her attorney's fees.

Department of the Interior

A federal employee contacted us after receiving a proposal to demote him and transfer him to a location hundreds of miles from his residence. After we submitted a written response to the proposal, the agency demoted the employee but did not make him transfer to a new location. After we filed an appeal with the MSPB we learned that the agency had not demoted another employee who had committed an offense far greater than the offense committed by our client. When we pointed this out to the agency, the agency rescinded the demotion, reinstated the employee to his former position and restored all of his back pay.


Security Clearance Successes

Department of Energy

Our client, a contract electrician, received a denial of access to classified information based on his submission of an EQIP improperly referencing an arrest from 23 years prior. We submitted a written response and then conducted a hearing before the Department of Energy Office of Hearings and Appeals. At the hearing, we demonstrated that our client never intended to deceive the government regarding his arrest and that his conduct did not create a danger or threat to national security. After receiving an unfavorable ruling from the Administrative Judge, we appealed and filed for review to the Appeal Panel at the Department of Energy Office of Departmental Personnel Security, and we persuaded the Appeal Panel to overturn the unfavorable ruling, find in our client’s favor, and held that our client's behavior did not constitute a threat to national security. As a result, our client was granted access to classified information, and was able to keep his job which required the security clearance.

Department of the Navy

Our client received a letter of intent to revoke his security clearance based on allegations that he had mishandled sensitive information and had a disqualifying psychological condition because he suffered from anxiety and depression. We contested the proposal and filed a response demonstrating that the alleged mishandling of sensitive information occurred under unusual circumstances when the employee was tasked with an unfair workload by a hostile supervisor. We also established that the allegations regarding the employee's psychological condition did not amount to a security concern. The Department of Defense Central Adjudication Facility agreed and restored the employee's clearance.

USCIS

We represented a client whose security clearance (access to classified and Sensitive Compartmented Information) was suspended and then revoked due to his personal use of a government laptop in ways that violated policy and resulted in malware invading the laptop. We appealed the revocation, arguing that most of the client’s personal use of the computer did not violate policy, that he did not intend to violate policy or cause harm to the government, and that his understanding of the seriousness of his actions combined with his long history of exemplary government service indicated that he would never allow such a mistake to reoccur. The Deciding Official agreed that the violation was minimal, most of the violation was unintentional, and that the client was unlikely to ever allow recurrence. Thus, the Deciding Official reversed the revocation of our client’s security clearance and restored his access.

Department of Homeland Security

A federal employee with more than 30 years of service contacted us after his security clearance was revoked for unauthorized use of government equipment and misuse of information technology systems. We filed a request for reconsideration, explaining that the alleged misconduct was an isolated incident in an otherwise exemplary career, that no harm resulted, and that the employee was treated more harshly than his peers. Based on the legal argument and evidence we submitted, the employee’s clearance was reinstated, and he was returned to work.

Department of Treasury

We represented an employee of the Department of Treasury who had received notification that a determination was made to deny his eligibility for access to classified information. After providing a written and oral response demonstrating that most of the conduct at issue had occurred years before as well as evidence showing that the conduct would not be repeated, the agency rescinded its determination and restored our client's access to classified information.

Previous Use of Recreational Drugs

A federal employee contacted us after receiving notice of proposal to find her unsuitable for employment because she had previously used recreational drugs. After we submitted a written response to the proposal pointing out that the recreational drug use occurred more than 10 years earlier and that she subsequently obtained a secret clearance, the agency changed its mind and withdrew its proposal.


EEOC OFO Appeals

Connie Daniels v. Department of the Navy
OFO Appeal No. 0120171254
Our client worked for Department of the Navy as a Human Resources Specialist. During her probationary period, our client initiated EEO activity against one of her supervisors. The same day her supervisor was notified of our client’s EEO complaint, our client was fired for alleged performance issues. After filing an appeal with the Office of Federal Operations, we settled with the Agency for back pay, attorney’s fees, and a clean file.

Emiko S. v. Penny Pritzker, Secretary, Department of Commerce
Appeal No. 0120170543
We represented an employee who filed an EEO complaint alleging discrimination and retaliation. The agency issued a final agency decision finding no discrimination or retaliation.  Following our appeal of that decision, in which we alleged that the agency conducted an inadequate investigation, the Office of Federal Operations remanded the complaint back to the agency for a supplemental investigation.  

Sharon Walker, Martha Larry, Merriom Hashim, Antoinette Clark, Sherry Mosley v. John M. McHugh, Secretary, Department of the Army
OFO Appeal Nos. 0120123054, 0120123055, 0120123056, 0120123057, 0120123058

We represent five African American nurses employed by the federal government who claimed they were discriminated against on the basis of their race when they were not considered for promotion to team lead positions. The agency selected two Caucasian employees who were less qualified. The agency claimed that they initially offered one of the two positions to another African-American nurse. The agency also claimed that it had to use its direct hire authority instead of interviewing our clients for the positions because the positions had to be filled right away. The agency issued a decision finding that no discrimination had occurred. We appealed the agency decision to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations. The OFO overturned the agency's decision finding that the reasons the agency gave for failing to consider our clients for the positions were false and pretext for discrimination. The OFO ordered the agency to determine which of the five complainants would have been selected for the two lead nurse consultant positions but for the discrimination and directed the agency to award retroactive placement and back pay with interest to those two individuals. The OFO further found that all five Complainants are entitled to consideration for compensatory damages and ordered the agency to complete an investigation regarding compensatory damages. The OFO also ordered the agency to conduct EEO training for the management officials involved in the discrimination. Finally the OFO ordered the agency to post a notice in the facility stating that the facility was found to have discriminated based on race in a promotion action.

Breen Peck v. Department of Transportation-FAA
OFO Appeal # 0120111950

We represent a federal employee who claimed the agency retaliated against him for filing a prior EEO complaint when it attributed an error to him even though another employee was at fault. The administrative judge agreed with the agency and dismissed our client's EEO complaint. We appealed the administrative judge's decision to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations. The OFO overturned the administrative judge's decision and ordered that the case be scheduled for a hearing.

Jane Doe v. Dep't of State

A federal employee contacted us after the Department of State dismissed her complaint alleging she was retaliated against when she was not offered an extended professional associates position through a program designed to create employment opportunities for eligible employee family members because it found she was not an employee or applicant for a position. We successfully appealed the agency's decision to the EEOC and the Office of Federal Operation reinstated her claim.

David Harris v. Dep't of the Army

We won an appeal before the EEOC Office of Federal Operations on behalf of our client reversing dismissal of his EEO complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of his association with his disabled son.

Michelle Eby v. DHHS

We won an appeal before the EEOC Office of Federal Operations on behalf of our client finding that the agency breached its settlement agreement by failing to provide the reference required.


Contract/Non-Competition/Trade Secret Trials

Renee Stiles v. Central Truck Center, Inc.
Civil Action No.: CAL10-18531/2011 (Circuit Court, Prince George's County)

We won a jury trial on behalf of a former sales person who alleged that she was denied commissions for landing a large account and obtained an order awarding unpaid wages.

Healthcare Strategies, Inc. v. The WellNet Healthcare Plan, Inc.
Case No. 13-C-07-70195 (Circuit Court, Howard County, Maryland, 2007)

We obtained a decision defeating a motion for preliminary injunction following a hearing in a case where the plaintiff alleged that the defendant misappropriated trade secrets and customers.

Robinson v. East Capitol View Community Development Corporation, Inc.
Case No. 04CA 5416 (DC Superior Court, 2006)

We won a jury trial finding breach of an employment contract on behalf of a former employee of the defendant.

Concept & Strategies v. Lombard
Superior Court, DC, 2013

We defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction in a case where a former employer of our client accused her of breaching her non compete, confidentiality and non solicitation agreement.


Sexual Harassment Trials

Faraci v. CACI
464 F.Supp.2d 527 (AAA arbitration award confirmed by US District Court, ED VA 2006)

We won a trial in arbitration of a sexual harassment and retaliation claim brought on behalf of an employee of a government contractor who was stationed overseas and obtained an order awarding payment of compensatory damages and attorney's fees. .

Figueroa v. Savanar
2002 WL 83667 (US District Court, SDNY 2002)

We won a jury trial in a sexual harassment case and obtained a $200,000 verdict.

Chadwick v. D.C.
56 F.Supp.2d 69 (US District Court, D.C. 1999)

We won a jury trial in a sexual harassment case and obtained a $400,000 verdict on behalf of a former employee of the District of Columbia's Oak Hill Youth center who alleged that she was sexually harassed by her former supervisor.


Disability Discrimination Trials

Hope E. Lee-Thomas v. Prince George’s County Public Schools;
Board of Education of Prince George’s County
Our client works as a paraprofessional with the Prince George’s County Public Schools system. She suffers from a hearing impairment, chronic vertigo, and carpal tunnel syndrome. She requested reasonable accommodations for months but was consistently either denied or ignored. The Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, but we convinced the Judge to deny their motion by showing that the few accommodations that were granted were broken, ineffective, or otherwise unreasonable.

Grullon v. South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.
Supreme Court NY County, 712 N.Y. Co. 2000

We won a jury trial and obtained a $125,804.89 verdict in disability discrimination case brought on behalf of a former case manager of a work training center who alleged that he was fired because he was a recovering alcoholic. The jury awarded him 25,000 in compensatory damages, 50,804.89 in lost wages and 50,000 in punitive damages, following a three day trial.


Assault And Battery/Civil Rights Trials

Yousif v. Safeway
97-CV-200 (US District Court, D.Md. 1999)

We won a jury trial and obtained a verdict of $422,500 on behalf of a night stocker who alleged he was fired because of his national origin and other civil rights violations. The jury awarded him $22,500 in compensatory damages and $400,000 in punitive damages following a five day trial.


Race Discrimination Trials

Juliette Johnson v. Reliable Mail Service, Inc.
Case No. 99 Civ. 5877 (US District Court SDNY McKenna, J., 2002)

We won a jury trial and obtained a $30,000 jury verdict on behalf of a former employee who had been with the company for little more than one week and earned about $300 before she was fired. The Judge awarded her attorney's fees as well.


Retaliation Trials

Reginald Fortune v. Joseph Smith & Sons, Inc.
CAL06-15017 (Circuit Court, Prince George's County, 2008)

We won a jury trial verdict finding unlawful employment discrimination retaliation on behalf of a warehouse employee who alleged he was fired for complaining about discrimination and obtained an order awarding compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Linwood Jackson v. HABC
Civ. No. 03-86 (BG)(JKB), (US District Court, D. Md., 2004)

We won a jury trial on behalf of a painter who alleged that he was fired because he complained about what he believed to be unlawful discrimination at work and obtained an order awarding compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Taylor v. ARE, Inc.
Case No. 01-7204 (DC Superior Court Blackburne-Rigsby, J., 2005)

We won a jury trial finding unlawful employment discrimination retaliation in violation of the DC Human Rights Act on behalf of three former employees of a restaurant who alleged that they were fired because the opposed and complained about discrimination at work and obtained an order awarding compensatory damages and attorney's fees.


Unpaid Wage Trials

Petree v. Car-Life Enterprises, Inc.
08-C-10-002208/2009 (Circuit Court, Charles County)

We won a jury trial and obtained an order awarding our client unpaid overtime wages.

McFarlane v. Gremillon
Case No. 242492-V (Circuit Court, Mont. Co., Md.)

We won a jury trial and verdict fining a violation of the Md. Wage Payment Act on behalf of a household employee.

Goldstein v. Washington Promotions & Printing, Inc.
American Arbitration Association, 2012

We won a trial of an arbitration case on behalf of a former employee who alleged that his employer failed to pay wages and obtained an award equal to three times the unpaid wages, plus attorney's fees and costs. Our client's claim arose after the company decided to cut his pay and then wouldn't pay his accrued but unpaid benefits after he quit. The arbitrator found that the contract required an agreement by both parties in order for the company to cut his pay and found that the wages were not withheld as a result of a bona fide dispute.


Public Policy Termination Trials

Sandra Brown v. Noyes Air Conditioning Contractors, Inc.
Case No. 279648 (Circuit Court, Montgomery County, Md., 2007)

We won a jury trial and obtained a verdict finding that the defendant violated the public policy of the State of Maryland by terminating our client's employment because she filed a claim for worker compensation benefits.


Defamation Trials

Powell v. Berrisford
District Court, Montgomery County, MD, 2013

We won a trial on behalf of a defendant federal employee where our client's former agency supervisor sued her alleging defamation because she identified him as a possible suspect in a break-in of her home. Our client had previously filed several EEOC complaints against her supervisor and considered the lawsuit as further retaliation and harassment. The trial spanned 3-days with numerous witnesses and closing briefs and the Judge ruled in our favor finding our client not guilty of defaming her former supervisor.


Due Process

Campbell v. District of Columbia
Case 1:12-cv-01769-RC (United States District Court for the District of Columbia)

On December 11, 2015, a federal jury awarded $555,000 in back pay and other damages to our client, Jennifer B. Campbell, former Chief Operating Officer of the D.C. Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). We proved that the DHCF violated Ms. Campbell's due process rights by reporting negative allegations to the media before discussing these issues with her.

Arbitration

Our client was required to sign an agreement requiring that he forego litigation and arbitrate any disputes arising from his employment. After a dispute arose over payment of severance, our client filed for arbitration and his former employer argued that the agreement and rules require that he split the cost of arbitration, which is substantial, with his former employer. We successfully persuaded the American Arbitration Association that the agreement was not "individually negotiated" and obtained a ruling that required the employer to pay for the costs associated with the arbitration, despite the employment contract's contrary provision.

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  • AVVO | Newsweek
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  • Washingtonian | abc7 | The Washington Post
  • Lead Counsel Rated
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