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Washington D.C. Employment Law Blog

Family Medical Leave Act gives workers recover from illness

Arguably, one of the most important federal laws on the books is the Family and Medical Leave Act. This law, commonly known as the FMLA, gives all workers the right to take time off work to recover from a serious illness, or care for a sick family member. Employers generally must keep the worker’s job waiting for him or her until he or she is ready to come back, for up to 12 work-weeks.

Though the FMLA has been in place for many years, and many states have passed their own version of medical work leave, some employers try to deny their employees their rights in this arena.

Congratulations to our colleague Susan Kruger for completing yesterday's Marine Corps Marathon. Well done!

Susan Kruger participated and completed the 39th Marine Crops Marathon (MCM) yesterday, October 26, 2014. MCM is annually held in Arlington, Virginia and Washington, DC. The event was established to promote physical fitness, generate community goodwill, and showcase the organizational skill of the United States Marine Corps. MCM, also known as "The People's Marathon," is currently the third largest marathon in the United States.

HBCUs accepting of one class, discriminatory against another?

The federal government has declared it unconstitutional to deny federal benefits to a legal same-sex spouse. Washington D.C. and 19 states legally recognize civil unions or same-sex marriages. Sexual orientation discrimination is a protected class under many state employment laws. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines specifically prohibit universities from discriminating against LGBTQA employees. Despite this rule and the shift in most law, many employees of this class still face very real discrimination. A number of civil rights groups claim that some of the largest instances of discrimination come from a surprising group of educational institutions.

HSBC accused of covering for female sexual harasser

It may seem like men are the culprits in all cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. Of course, sexual harassment laws are gender-blind. Women can -- and do -- harass co-workers and subordinates.

In one recent example, HSBC is facing accusations that a former female executive sexually harassed an employee over a two-year period. One current and one former HSBC employee say that they received retaliation from the bank when they reported the harassment. They are suing HSBC in separate suits.

Employers should not get away with illegal wage, hours schemes

Some of us are lucky enough to be doing a job we love. Despite this, those of us who work for somebody else trade our time, labor and expertise in exchange for a paycheck.

Most of the time, workers get paid what they are owed. But sometimes, an employer tries to get away with not paying employees the money they deserve. Workers, especially those living from paycheck to paycheck, may fear losing their jobs if they complain.

Football coach sues university for wrongful termination

Unlike in most jobs, which are considered to be "at-will" employment, those working under an employment contract in Washington, D.C. may be protected from firing, or being forced to resign, without cause. Just as with any other contract, a contract for employment lays out certain rights and obligations for both parties. When a worker believes that his or her employer fired them in violation of the terms of the employment contract, he or she could have the right to compensation in court.

A former defensive coordinator for the University of Central Florida has filed a wrongful termination suit against the school's Athletic Department and Board of Trustees. The coach says that he was fired because the head coach, George O'Leary, second-guessed his decision to hire him. The lawsuit also accuses O'Leary of bullying the plaintiff, and making bigoted remarks in his presence.

5 ways people are sexually harassed at work

People in Washington, D.C. who work deserve to do their job in an environment that allows them to feel same from unwanted attention, insults and groping of a sexual nature. Because too many workplaces are still the site of sexual harassment, it is necessary to have laws giving victims the power to fight back against this shameful conduct.

Some people may have been the target of strange or uncomfortable behavior at work, but they are not sure if what happened qualifies as sexual harassment. The following are common examples of impermissible behavior:

GINA restricts use of genetic information in employment decisions

Federal law prohibits employers from committing several forms of discrimination against their employees and those applying for a job. This includes prejudicial treatment because of a person’s race, religion, gender, or because the person is older. Victims of workplace discrimination in one of these forms have the right to sue the offending workplace for damages.

These legal protections have been in place for many years. Most of our readers in Washington, D.C., are likely aware of them. But they are not the only types of discrimination that Congress has identified and passed a law to combat.

EEOC OFO Reverses AJ and Finds Discrimination

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 just won an appeal before the EEOC Office of Federal Operations in a case where 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.

VA Whistleblower In Minneapolis Alleges Wrongful Firing

Our client, Leticia Alonso, was formerly employed as a Medical Support Assistant Supervisor in the GI Department at the Minneapolis VA. In or around May 2014, she began reporting that GI consults were not being scheduled in a timely manner. Patients were to be contacted within 7 days and an appointment was to be scheduled within 14 days from the date of referral by a physician. Instead, Ms. Alonso reported consults were severely overdue, one as old as 46 days overdue. She also reported that she was being instructed to cancel patient appointments and enter false comments into the VA system, such as patient declined appointment, or no response from patient, when in fact the patient had never been called about the appointment and that certain more symptomatic patients were being placed on a secret waitlist instead of in the official VA system. Ms. Alonso alleges that as a result of her reports, on June 4, 2014, she received a notice of proposed removal and was subsequently removed from service on July 1, 2014.

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