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Private Sector and Federal Employee Law Blog

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.

Should American workers enjoy a 'right to disconnect' during off hours?

France has just enacted a "right to disconnect" law, which requires companies of 50 or more employees to shut down email to their employees' mobile phones and devices after work hours.

woman on mobile phone.jpg

In other words, when it's quitting time, it's really quitting time, at least for the French.

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.

At what age does age discrimination begin?

Whether an employer refuses to hire an applicant because of his or her gender or terminates an employee's position because of their religious beliefs, discrimination takes a variety of forms in the workplace. However, age discrimination can be especially upsetting for employees and job applicants who find themselves in difficult positions solely because of their age. In Washington D.C., and across the country, this form of discrimination has turned many lives upside down. If you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your age, it is crucial to understand how the law protects workers.

Although age discrimination can affect people of all ages, it can be particularly problematic for workers and job applicants who are older. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, workers who are over the age of 40 are protected from age-related discrimination in the workplace. However, workers who are younger may also have certain protections when it comes to discrimination on the basis of age, in certain states.

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.

Whistleblowers at the FBI receive protection under new bill

Coming forward and revealing that their employer is breaking the law is not something that is easy for people to do. One of their fears is that they will be fired, demoted or suffer some other kind of retaliation. Thankfully, there are federal laws in place to protect whistleblowers from the actions of the companies they work for.

However, there has been a loophole in the current laws which did not provide protection to those who worked in the FBI. In many cases, people had reported wrongdoings to someone in the chain of command or to a supervisor. This left them exposed to some form of retaliation, according to a report, although the report did not identify what type of retaliation occurred. One FBI agent filed a claim of retaliation to the U.S. Department of Justice that was not resolved till 10 years later.

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.

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