Call Us Today
(202) 536-3315

Washington D.C. Employment Law Blog

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.

Second former GSA official cleared of wrongdoing in conference scandal

For the second time in a year, the Merit Systems Protection Board ruled that the General Services Administration wrongfully terminated an employee connected to the Western Regions Conference scandal.

MSPB exonerated James Weller, the former Region 7 commissioner of the Public Building Service, of any wrongdoing and ordered GSA to pay him 19 months of back pay and give him his old job back. MSPB ruled in favor of Weller on Feb. 4.

"While it was a long time coming, it was the right decision and it was finally an indicator that I had cleared my name to some level," Weller said in an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio. "I'm really looking forward to getting my job back ultimately and continuing to provide service to the government and in particular to Region 7 of the Public Building Service."

MSPB also ruled in March 2013 for former Region 8 PBS Commissioner Paul Prouty, finding similarly that GSA's case against him was devoid of evidence. GSA appealed MSPB's decision in favor of Prouty, and the case still is before the board.

Is lactation discrimination the new pregnancy discrimination?

A congressional push to raise the minimum wage generally and President Obama's announcement that he will seek by executive order to raise the minimum wage of workers tied to federal contracts have recently sparked a vigorous public debate on a number of wage and hour issues. This debate is necessary and will hopefully result in positive developments for the lives of workers.

However, it is important not to forget about other issues currently affecting workers simply because the media is focusing a great deal of attention on certain wage and hour issues. For example, one form of pregnancy discrimination is becoming increasingly pervasive in the American workplace. And though the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), state lawmakers and employment attorneys are trying to reverse this trend, public awareness will likely need to play a key role in ensuring that lactation discrimination does not become as widespread as other forms of pregnancy discrimination once were.

Study on sexism and young female workers is released

Several years ago, a very famous magazine cover asked readers whether or not feminism is dead. Given the complexities of feminism as a concept as well as feminism as a movement, the magazine cover ultimately served as little more than provocative advertising. Thankfully, questions surrounding the state of feminism have been posed far more successfully and meaningfully throughout American culture since that cover hit newsstands.

For example, the Pew Research Center released a report last month that directly ties into broad inquires about the perceptions women have about their positions in American culture and which gender-based inequalities remain ripe for reform. The Pew report focuses on the perceptions of working women aged 18 to 32 with regards to sexual harassment and other forms of gender discrimination in the workplace. The study's conclusions are illuminating.

Understanding Qui Tam whistleblower claims

Qui tam claims filed under the False Claims Act allow certain employees and other interested parties to file suit against an entity that is defrauding the federal government. When qui tam claims are filed, they are filed on behalf of the federal government, even though the individual who has obtained evidence of fraud is acting practically as plaintiff. These kinds of lawsuits empower both individuals with knowledge of fraud and the government itself to hold fraudulent parties accountable and to recover compensation as a result of a successful suit.

It should be noted that these suits tend to be incredibly complex and should not be pursued without the help of an attorney experienced in these kinds of actions. Failure to consult counsel before filing can lead to retaliation, harm to your case and a host of other consequences.

Whistleblower provisions for intelligence workers clear committee

A few weeks ago, an important whistleblower protection proposal was passed by the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI). These protections are detailed in the Intelligence Authorization Act for the 2014 fiscal year. This committee passage represents an important development in the area of workers' rights. For while many workers are protected by law when they seek to file whistleblower claims, intelligence workers have not consistently been granted access to this set of legal protections.

One year ago, the SSCI restored whistleblower provisions within the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) that apply specifically to workers within the intelligence community. However, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) then demanded that these provisions be removed from the active legislation. Their efforts were successful, because at the time the committee's threats that it would block wider whistleblower rights for all federal employees seemed viable.

Darden Restaurants Accused Of Requiring Waiters To Perform Non Tip Work

The wait staff of a Red Lobster restaurant in Pennsylvania who rely on tips for their income have accused the owner of requiring them to perform non tip generating side work like refilling sugar and salt shakers, cleaning vacuuming and sweeping, for which they were not paid minimum wages.

Overcoming Employer Prohibitions On Overtime Or Taking Work Home

Many company handbooks state that work may not be taken home and performed or overtime authorized absent written permission from management and they use these rules to decline payment of overtime where no written authorization was obtained. However, these policies may be trumped where the employer knows -- or had reason to know -- that work from home or overtime work was being performed -- and took no steps to stop it. This may especially be the case where the employer imposes unreasonable deadlines on employees.

After Hours Work From Home On Your Smart Phone: You May Be Entitled To Overtime Pay

Many employers require their employees to carry a smart phone or other device so they can be accessible at all times and check and respond to emails outside of the office. Anyone who looks at their cell phone and checks emails on weekends or after hours is performing work for their employer and should be compensated for that time.

Contact us for a Case Review Today
We Will Get Back to you by Phone or Email

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close
Client Testimonials
"Rani I received the check and settlement information on Friday, thank you so much for your dedication and professionalism and I will recommend anyone who has received the same issues as I have to you personally. You are one of the best lawyers , you did more for me than others that I spoke with in the past. Have a eventful 2014 and I wish you well on future success."
"Alan Lescht is an outstanding and caring employment lawyer. His staff are one of the best in the business. I will not hesitate to recommend him to my friends, family members or anyone that need excellent and talented employment attorney."
"Mr. Lescht's services came with the highest recommendation from a peer attorney unable to provide the requested services due to a conflict of interest. I was given an appointment without delay and was very pleased with Mr. Lescht's sensitivity, expertise and approach. Requiring a follow up, I emailed him on a Sunday afternoon. I had a reply within the hour and a telephone discussion was arranged for Monday morning. Very excellent response to a client's need!"
"Alan Lescht and his team was very trustworthy, persistent, and Knowledgeable. I have been very pleased with their service."
"Alan and his associate provided me the information and advice I needed, in a very timely fashion, to make my decisions. They then actively implemented our agreed to path forward, resulting in the negotiated conclusion I had hoped for."
"Alan and his associates provided an exceptional service throughout my case. They ensured all my questions and concerns were answered and properly addressed in a timely manner and I was kept abreast of the process. Their legal advice resulted in a positive outcome for me. I recommend Alan's law firm to anyone that needs legal counsel or representation."
"Alan Lescht and his law firm gave me the support and help I needed to win my case. He handled everything for me and informed me when I needed to know something about the case. I would use him and his team again if I ever needed help. Thank you Alan and Rani for being a good friend not just a lawyer."
"Mr. Lescht is an excellent Trial Lawyer, He is calm, cool, and collected."
"'Exceptional' is the term that best characterizes the performance of Attorney Alan Lescht in my employment dispute with a major public agency."
"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."
"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 felt like I was a priority and was continuously presented with all the facts so that we as a "team" could make an informed decision to ensure the best outcome of the case. Highly recommended!"
"Don't do what I did. Call Alan first! You'll be glad that you did!"
"I cannot imagine a better individual representing me than Alan Lescht."
"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."
Alan and his associates provided an exceptional service throughout my case. They ensured all my questions and concerns were answered and properly addressed in a timely manner and I was kept abreast of the process. Their legal advice resulted in a positive outcome for me. I recommend Alan's law firm to anyone that needs legal counsel or representation.
Alan and his associate provided me the information and advice I needed, in a very timely fashion, to make my decisions. They then actively implemented our agreed to path forward, resulting in the negotiated conclusion I had hoped for.