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Private Sector and Federal Employee Law Blog

The new overtime rule may go up in smoke


December was the original target for overtime changes

In May, we posted a YouTube clip published by the U.S. Dept. of Labor entitled "Overtime: It's About Time," in which Secretary Thomas Perez explains the new federal law that raised the overtime threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, allowing workers the chance to earn overtime without having to make less than $23,660.

But now, legal limbo

On its face, the new rule would seem to adjust for the fact that $23,660 doesn't stretch quite as far as it may have back when the threshold was originally set. Despite this, a number of states and organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have since challenged the rule. In Texas, a federal court has issued a temporary halt, locking the pending overtime change in legal limbo.

And an incoming Trump administration isn't likely to put up much of a fight, as the Washington Post opines, meaning that the overtime change may never come to be.

NBIB director's focus in 2017 will be timeliness of security clearance investigations

In September, we wrote about changes coming to the federal security clearance system, namely the new National Background Investigations Bureau, which replaces Federal Investigative Services, and how for many federal employees and contractors, getting (and keeping) the proper security clearance is necessary to doing their jobs.

The argument for and against non-compete clauses

President Obama's final term is coming to a close, and we find an article in Fortune about his October pitch to ban non-compete agreements, which the author says would "make the rich richer."

The author primarily focuses on low-wage workers:

"Low-wage workers are precisely the group that will benefit from signing agreements not to compete, because they are the ones most in need of the training and life skills that a first job can provide."

The author's case assumes a direct tie from training and life skills to the existence of non-compete clauses in employment contracts.

Alan Lescht interviewed in Washington Lawyer Magazine on litigating complex cases

"When it comes to taking risks," writes Tracy Schorn with Washington Lawyer, "nobody bets larger than the lawyers who work on a contingency-fee basis for clients."

In the Nov. 2016 edition of Washington Lawyer (a magazine published by the D.C. bar), Schorn interviewed managing partner Alan Lescht, of Alan Lescht & Associates, P.C.

In the interview, Lescht shared his insights and experiences on how to manage the risk of working on a contingency fee basis.

Advice for federal employees about to file a discrimination complaint

Discrimination can be defined as prejudicial or unfair treatment of a person based on their race, religion, age, sex or healthcare status. Federal employees are protected by law against any such treatment. If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination; as a federal employee there are specific steps that need to be taken before you can file a formal complaint. They are as follows:

You're a federal employee who is facing disciplinary action. What now?

Federal employees who are facing disciplinary actions play by a different set of rules than non-federal employees. Disciplinary actions are typically proposed in the form of suspension or removal based on misconduct or unachieved performance goals (failure to comply with a Performance Improvement Plan [PIP]). If you've been proposed with a disciplinary action, it's likely you have questions about what steps to take next. Some of those might include:

What should you do before signing an employment contract?

Many Washington, D.C., residents, at some point in their lives, will be asked to sign an employment contract. For example, it could be a non-compete agreement, a severance package, a commission plan, a non-disclosure agreement or many other types of employment contracts. However, what workers may not know is that these contracts are often drawn up in a way that protects the employer's interests, not the employee's. Moreover, these contracts could have provisions that can negatively impact a worker's future.

Therefore, it can help to have an attorney review any employment contracts presented to you before signing. An attorney can help negotiate a contract or could help draft one. This way, the contract can reflect the employee's rights and interests, not just the employers.

Can employment contracts like non-competes be made more fair?

Washington, D.C., residents may be interested to hear that recently, based on a joint report by the White House and the Treasury Department, the White House called on states to reform non-compete agreements. Why do so?

Well, first of all, non-compete agreements give workers fewer job options, affecting approximately one in five employees across the nation. This could potentially lead to an increase in unemployment and a slow-down in our nation's job growth.

FMLA protects federal employee rights in Washington, D.C.

Certain life events may lead to a person in Washington, D.C., from being unable to work for a period of time, particularly situations involving pregnancy, childbirth or an extended illness. People should be able to take the time off from work to care for themselves in these situations, without fear of being fired. Some people have employment contracts that address such situations, but is there any protection for those who do not? Actually, federal law has addressed this issue in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

FMLA gives certain covered employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave annually, although the leave need not be paid. In addition, FMLA requires that the employee's health insurance be maintained during while the employee is off work.

SEC combined whistleblower awards top $100 million

Employees in Washington, D.C., need to know that if their employer is engaging in unethical or illegal behavior, they have the right to report such actions to the appropriate authorities without fear of losing their jobs. In fact, the amount of money the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has awarded to whistleblowers has risen above $100 million, with some whistleblowers receiving as much as $30 million.

In 2011, the SEC began its whistleblower program. To date, more than $111 million has been awarded to 34 employees who blew the whistle on their employers' unlawful activities. Whistleblowers can be awarded anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the money the SEC collects when an employer is fined more than $1 million.

I have been a litigator for close to 20 years and Alan is most certainly one of the best attorneys I have ever come across.
Mr. Lescht is an excellent Trial Lawyer, He is calm, cool, and collected.
I also appreciated Alan's frankness and his ability to identify what is important and what is not when going through a case like this.
I would highly recommend Alan to anyone who needs an exceptional and incredibly talented Employment Attorney.
Mr. Lescht is an extraordinarily responsive attorney, returning my emails and phone calls within minutes. I would absolutely recommend him to anyone who thinks they may need a lawyer. Definitely incredible work.
I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.

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