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Private Sector and Federal Employee Law Blog

Employees in contract disputes may need legal help

When employees in Washington, D.C. enter into an employment contract, they naturally expect that the terms of the contract will be fair. However, oftentimes employment contracts are written in a manner that favor the employer and protect the employer's interests, rather than the employee's. Therefore, contract disputes can sometimes occur either during the course of a person's employment, or if the employee is let go from his or her job.

An employment contract can cover many aspects of working for an employer, such as how much the employee will be paid, the details of any severance package that will be offered to the employee or what future work the employee can pursue. These are all important topics that could have a major effect on the employee. Therefore, before entering into an employment contract, it may help to consult with an attorney who can review the contract and explain the employee's rights and obligations under the contract. With the help of an attorney, employees may be able to negotiate a contract that protects their interests.

SEC awards employee millions from reported illegal activity

Workers in Washington, D.C. are sometimes in the position of learning that their employer is doing something illegal. They may wonder what to do with this information. Fortunately, agencies such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have programs to encourage employees to report illegal activities that their employer is committing, specifically, securities fraud.

A former executive for Monsanto Co. received a substantial award of $22,437,800 after telling the SEC about his employer's unlawful accounting practices with regard to one of its popular products, Roundup. The award was part of the SEC's whistleblower program, and was part of an $80 million settlement between the agency and the company earlier this year.

Can a wrongful discharge claim be based on an implied contract?

As discussed on this blog in the past, most employment in the nation is "at-will." This means that an employer does not need any particular reason to fire a worker -- he or she could do so on a whim. That, however, doesn't mean the employer can break the law. In fact, one big exception to the at-will doctrine is wrongful discharge. For workers in Washington, D.C. who do not have an express employment contract, common law has established that a wrongful discharge claim may exist under an implied contract.

What is an implied contract? An implied contract may exist if the employer made certain statements or in some other way issued some sort of representation of continued employment. These could be oral statements, or written statements found in employee handbooks or written workplace policies.

OSHA pilot program would expedite certain whistleblower claims

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.

According to the DOL, to expedite a review of a claim, the claim first of all must be filed under a statute that permits a new review by an ALJ. In addition, depending on the law, 30 to 60 days must have gone by since the date in which the worker brought the claim before OSHA. Also, to expedite the review of the claim, the worker must have been interviewed by OSHA, and federal investigators must have evaluated the complaint and interview to decide whether a retaliation claim exists. Moreover, both the worker and the employer must have been given the chance to submit a response in writing, meet with an OSHA investigator and provide witness statements. Also, the worker must have been given a copy of the employer's submissions and been given the chance to respond to them.

Federal contractors must play fair when it comes to employees' rights

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.

Federal employees enjoy all these protections. However, a significant percentage of government work isn't performed by employees, but rather by federal contractors and their employees. It makes sense, then, that lucrative federal contracts should only be awarded to employers who play by the rules.

Federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on gender

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.

Firefighting is still a man's world

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.

A recent Washington Post article shed light on one particularly tragic case: the suicide of a female firefighter in one of the nation's most highly regarded departments, Fairfax County. The woman had been the target of cruel sexual harassment and online bullying, reportedly by her male colleagues. Her death has spurred other women firefighters across the country to speak up about similar treatment they have suffered at work.

When might an employee pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit?

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.

What it takes to get people to love lawyers

"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!"

woman in love.jpg

This was a review written by a client of ours earlier this year.

And it got us thinking: What does it take to get people to love lawyers, rather than hate or at least mildly despise them?

The answer isn't simple. But if you could boil it down to one thing, it might be:

What factors go into calculating a qui tam whistleblower award?

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.

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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.
Mr. Lescht is an excellent Trial Lawyer, He is calm, cool, and collected.
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 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.
I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.

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