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Washington D.C. Employment Law Blog

Fourth Circuit affirms trial court that instructed jury to follow "a motivating factor" standard of proof rather than "but for" in retaliation case.

In A.C. Widenhouse, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 1:11-cv-00498-TDS-JEP (4th Cir. June 24, 2014).

District of Columbia Office of Employee Appeals

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.

How to spot instances of discrimination

The face of workplace discrimination has evolved in America over the past several decades. It used to be relatively easy to spot discrimination and harassment. Companies simply would fail to either hire or promote certain individuals based on their age, sex, religion, ethnicity or other protected classification. Occasionally, this kind of blatant workplace discrimination continues to occur. However, present-day instances of discrimination tend to be more subtle.

The subtlety of many forms of discrimination often leaves workers wondering if they have actually been treated in an illegal manner. It is therefore important to speak with an experienced attorney if you believe that you may be the victim of workplace discrimination. An attorney will likely be able to give you a good sense of your legal options given your particular set of circumstances. But what if you are questioning whether the behavior you are experiencing is actually discrimination?

White collar workers are being affected by wage theft

There is an economic argument popular with conservatives concerning why the government should not set minimum wages or otherwise interfere with pay structures. The argument insists that without government interference, each employee's true economic value will become apparent because "the market" will determine what their work is worth.

However, this argument is based on the assumption that no other entities or individuals are tampering with market forces in an effort to deprive workers of the wages they deserve. Unfortunately, that assumption is false. In recent years, wage and hour disputes have become commonplace because an increasing number of employers are engaging in wage theft.

What to do if you receive a cease and desist letter from your former employer?

Ten years ago very few people were asked to sign contracts that included non compete, non solicitation and confidentiality provisions. Today, that practice seems commonplace. And in today's economy, we see people nearly every week who, after leaving a job on their own or by firing, receive a letter from their former employer threatening a lawsuit and/or demanding that the person either inform the new employer about the restrictive covenants, quit or stop working in their chosen field.

What if a company makes its hiring and firing decisions based on a background check?

Companies that use background checks when making hiring and firing decisions are required to comply with federal and state due process laws to protect people who are fired or rejected in case the information contained in the report is false.

EEOC wins appeal in ADA case regarding telecommuting

The Americans with Disabilities Act lays out a number of protections for individuals who are disabled, including protection from employment discrimination. One of the most cited provisions in the ADA is one requiring that employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities except when doing so would cause "undue hardship."

American workplaces continue to change in ways that make it easier for employers to offer accommodations to all employees, regardless of whether or not they have a disability. Telecommuting in particular allows many workers to do their jobs without ever leaving the comfort of their own homes. As such, it may be getting harder for employers to argue that they cannot make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Fired GSA Exec Exonerated, Restored With Back Pay

James Weller, the Region 7 administrator of the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service who was forced out after the scandal over lavish spending on a 2010 Las Vegas, Nev. training conference, has been exonerated.

On March 6, Merit Systems Protection Board Administrative Law Judge Ronald Weiss reversed GSA's 2012 decision to terminate Weller and restored him to his job with 19 months' back pay, according to his attorney.

"The evidence at trial showed that Mr. Weller was not responsible for planning the Western Regions Conference" at which the overspending took place in October 2010, said attorney Alan Lescht in a statement. "Those decisions were made by Region 9. .... Mr. Weller has an exceptional record of public service, and with this decision he has regained his reputation and cleared his name."

MSPB exonerates former GSA Region 7 Commissioner James Weller for role in GSA's Western Regions Conference

MSPB exonerates former GSA Region 7 Commissioner James Weller for role in GSA's Western Regions Conference

James Weller, former Region 7 Commissioner of the General Services Administration, who lost his job following the Western Regions Las Vegas Conference scandal, was cleared of wrongdoing, reinstated 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.

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