Washington, D.C. residents may be interested to hear that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is testing an "expedited case processing pilot" program in certain states that would help those who file whistleblower complaints with the agency. Under the pilot program, workers who file whistleblower complaints, per certain laws, can ask the agency to stop investigating the situation and issue its findings in the case, and then an administrative law judge with the U.S. Department of Labor would review the case. A representative of the agency stated that the goal of the program is to resolve whistleblower cases in which workers were retaliated against, in a quicker fashion.
Federal law provides important protections for employees. Basic rights - such as fair pay, a safe workplace and freedom from discrimination - form the backbone of a better work environment.
It may seem that in this day and age, the proverbial "glass ceiling" has been shattered. However, unlawful compensation discrimination based on gender still takes place in some Washington, D.C., workplaces. Compensation discrimination violates a number of federal laws.
Recent decades have brought great strides in advancing gender fairness in the workplace. In some occupations, however, inequalities still linger. Firefighting is one of them.
Most employment in Washington, D.C., is "at-will" employment. This means that employers have the right to let workers go as they see fit, even without cause. That being said, employers cannot illegally discriminate against workers or retaliate against workers. If a worker believes he or she was illegally fired, he or she may want to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit.
"I want to thank you for everything you did for me. It was greatly appreciated and a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Thank you!"
Earlier this month, this blog discussed qui tam actions -- that is, a lawsuit an individual can bring against an employer that is defrauding the government. As an incentive to blow the whistle on such actions, individuals may be eligible to receive an award. Such whistleblower awards must be applied for, and there are numerous factors the federal government will consider when deciding how much to award an individual. Today we are focusing on Securities and Exchange Commission violations.
Workers in Washington, D.C., may one day find themselves in need of extended time off due to a serious health condition or to care for an ill child, parent or spouse suffering a serious health condition. They may wonder if their job will be in jeopardy if they take the needed time off. However, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible workers with the right to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, upon which their return to work, they must be reinstated in their former job or an equivalent one. Moreover, their employer must continue to provide health care benefits while the employee is on FMLA leave.
An individual's religion can be an integral part of their life, bringing them the comfort of spirituality. It is very important for some people in Washington, D.C., that they adhere to their religious practices, such as prayer, dress, foods consumed, attending worship, holidays observed and other daily activities. However, what happens if a person's religious practices conflict with their work duties?
It is an unfortunate fact that there will be times when a federal worker in Washington, D.C., like workers in the private sector, will be treated wrongfully or even illegally in the workplace. However, if a federal worker has been suspended, demoted or discriminated against in the workplace, he or she has appeal and grievance rights. How the appeal or grievance process will progress is dependent on the particular issue at hand.
After the recent spate of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad, some Muslim and Middle Eastern employees are experiencing backlash in the workplace. Discriminatory and unfair treatment can happen in both the public and private sectors. It's a widespread problem that affects men and women alike.
Sometimes, instead of outright firing a worker, an employer in Washington, D.C. purposely makes the worker's job conditions so terrible that the worker feels forced to quit. This type of behavior on the part of the employer might constitute constructive dismissal -- a modification of wrongful termination.
We frequently hear that federal employees are asked when they intend to retire when applying for a promotions or seeking career advancement at a time many others choose to retire. The reality today is that many federal employees continue working past what used to be considered a standard retirement age and it is against the law for agencies to inquire when a federal employee is eligible for retirement or when the federal employee intends to retire.
It is unfortunate, but sometimes employers in Washington, D.C., behave unscrupulously and attempt to defraud the U.S. federal government. When an employee learns of their employer's unethical activities, they may want to file a qui tam action, in order to report the employer's misdeeds to the proper authorities. However, they might fear that their employer will fire them or retaliate in some other way if they do so. Employees should not fear this, however. If they blow the whistle on their employer and file a suit, they are will receive qui tam protection per federal law.