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Private Sector and Federal Employee Law Blog

March Without Fear

Thumbnail image for woman-with-banner-during-the-street-protest-72798262.jpgThis weekend promises to be an eventful one in Washington, D.C. Many federal employees may be concerned about their participation in political activities this weekend, whether they plan to attend inauguration events or the Women's March on Washington. How can your political opinions and activities affect your job?

A closer look at religious discrimination

While many people are aware of the prevalence of gender discrimination and racial discrimination, it is important to keep in mind that there are other reasons why employees experience unlawful discrimination. In Washington, D.C., and cities all over the nation, some workers are subjected to discrimination because of their religious beliefs. For victims of religious discrimination, some of whom may not even recognize their rights, the mistreatment often creates various challenges, such as financial problems due to losing a job or an incredible amount of anxiety.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is against the law for an employer to discriminate against an employee due to their religious beliefs. It is also important to point out that employers cannot discriminate against workers because they do not have certain religious beliefs. Religious discrimination manifests in the workplace in different ways and may include failing to make accommodations for a worker's beliefs or harassing an employee because of their religion.

What to do when you have been wrongfully fired

Like workers across the nation, federal employees in Washington, D.C., may sometimes lose their jobs unexpectedly. There may be times, though, when employees suspect the reason for their firing was illegal. Under certain circumstances, workers may press charges if they have been wrongfully fired.

Even if employees suspect the worst, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether or not a firing truly was illegal. According to, job termination may have been illegal if gender, age or race were contributing factors. Wrongful firing also includes situations in which an employee pointed out illegal actions or was defamed. Employer deceit and refusal to abide by public policies can also be situations when a worker may claim wrongful termination.

Reviewing examples of employment discrimination

In the workplace, employees may face a number of challenges, from on-the-job injuries to having their hours cut. However, taking care of daily responsibilities at work is often especially challenging for those who experience discrimination. For employees as well as employers, it is essential to understand the differrent ways that discrimination occurs in the workplace and take every step to prevent this unfair treatment.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are a variety of examples of unlawful discrimination. For example, it is against the law for an employee to experience discrimination because of their religious beliefs, a disability they have, the color of their skin, their gender or their pregnancy status. In fact, it is illegal for employees to experience discrimination during any phase of their employment, such as the hiring process, the termination of their position or the offering of promotions.

Have you been discriminated against because of your origin?

You only have to look at social media and news stories to see that people from some parts of the world are often viewed in a negative light. Perhaps you, yourself, feel that your employer or supervisor in Washington, D.C., treats you differently because of where you were born. If so, you may be a victim of origin discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that there are federal rules and laws in place to protect you from unfair treatment by your employer. Some of these provide you with rights in the hiring, recruiting or firing decisions that companies make. In several states, laws are in place that prohibit employers from hiring people who are not legally in the U.S. However, there are also rules that allow you to claim you have been discriminated against for your immigration status. Perhaps you have a green card, but you have not been in the U.S. long enough to pursue citizenship. A potential employer or current employer cannot use that as factor.

The recipe for creating whistleblower litigation

Whistleblower = a person who informs on a person or organization engaged in an illicit activity


In a Dec. 8 post covering D.C. politics, the Washington Post reports on the $10 million whistleblower suit involving former D.C. chief procurement officer Yinka Alao. Alao alleges that he was fired for failing to "reconsider" his decision not to award two multimillion-dollar contracts to Fort Myer Construction.

At issue is the fact that Fort Myer Construction is said to donate considerable sums to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

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.

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