DC Employment Law Attorney
For most of us, our job defines who we are, what we can afford, what our future security will look like, how we will care for our family, and the level of our standing and reputation in the community. Whether you are an employee, a small business owner, a manager, or partner in a business enterprise, workplace issues and conflicts can impact your financial, emotional, and mental health. Obtaining and maintaining dignity and safety in the workplace is often as important as insuring continuation of income or benefits.
Changes to Employment Norms
A generation ago, many of us worked in the same place for our entire lives in our local community. Work disputes were resolved through personal discussion. When a dispute arose, most employees moved on or accepted what the employer dictated. Today, most of us change jobs, professions, and geographic locations more frequently. Further, the employment world is far more impersonal and complex.
Defending Your Employee Rights
Whether we work for the federal or state government, a federal contractor, a large organization in the private sector, a nonprofit, or a small business, the changes in law, the existence and impact of federal civil rights statutes, and the changing legal world faced by employees, can require a knowledgeable legal advocate. The simple truth for most of us is that at some point in our employment career, we will need to either to assert our rights, defend against a claim or allegation or negotiate an employment issue, while entering, remaining in or exiting the workplace. This impacts both the rights you have as an employee and the duties you have to your employer.
With the advent of the Internet, employee background checks, Civil Rights laws, and Human Resource departments, the employment landscape has drastically changed. Understanding your rights as an employee, your duties to your employer, and the recourse that exists when either of those is alleged to have been violated, is crucial.
Legal Issues Impacting Employers & Employees
When you are the employer, owner or partner, you seek a safe and productive business environment that respects your authority and efforts in building and maintaining the business. Kevin Byrnes is an experienced business lawyer and trial attorney. Since business can be a rough and tumble world, having an experienced attorney who knows how to protect the creation, organization and development of a business is necessary.
In contrast, when you’re an employee, the issues are fair treatment, workplace safety and the right to pursue your employment potential free of discrimination and consistent with the protections of federal and state law.
This firm directs its efforts to insure that workplace decisions are based on practical, economic considerations and not on race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, real or perceived, or the demands of military service.
The firm has represented both employees and employers, grappling with allegations of workplace misconduct, discrimination, retaliation and reprisal, compliance with federal and state wage laws, protection of privacy, protection of business secrets and property, workplace violence, compliance with labor, health and safety laws.
Law Enforcement & Special Agency Employee Legal Assistance
We devote a substantial portion of our practice to the representation of law enforcement and other special agents with the FBI, DEA, DHA, CBP, U.S. Capitol Police, CIA, TIGTA, USMS, USPS, IRS CID, USDA Pentagon Police, as well as local law enforcement officers in the District of Columbia and Virginia. We understand the demands such careers place on the employee and the heightened scrutiny that occurs when the employee is in law enforcement. Additional concerns such as security clearances and health and emotional issues from serving as a law enforcement agent are carefully considered are the specialized physical and mental requirements of serving in law enforcement. We also deal with related specialized federal careers that involve medical or mental health personnel, employees in the intelligence community and senior managers and attorneys, who find themselves requiring representation in both defending against actions of their agency or bringing their own treatment to the attention of the Agency they work for, oversight bodies or the public in general.
Our representation is targeted and realistically recognizes the need to defend income, reputation and future standing, while also insuring the protection of your rights.
Employee and Employer Rights
While the public often thinks that federal employees cannot be terminated and that they live in a work environment free from whistleblower reprisal, sexual and other forms of harassment, race age, ethnicity, sex and disability discrimination, unfortunately that is not the case. While federal employees have some protections that civilian employees do not, they also face a complicated administrative complaint processes that can be a trap for the unwary.
Maneuvering the complex rules and regulations that govern federal employees’ complaints and pursuing the specific type of complaint at the outset of the problem will often determine whether federal employees can ultimately pursue a complaint.
A hodgepodge of administrative agencies, including the MSPB, EEOC, OPM, DOL, OSC various Inspector General’s Offices and the federal courts oversee federal employee law. Pursuing claims can be complicated, contradictory, frustrating, and time consuming. The ability to obtain a remedy is often outweighed by the sheer expense and scope of the process. Nevertheless, employees facing investigation, discipline, retaliation and reprisal, workplace harassment, wrongful termination, whistleblower reprisal or were denied either pay, benefits or a promotion to which they were entitled must pursue their claims. Successful claims can preserve employment, end hostility and harassment, ensure advancement, or negotiate a resolution that protects the employee and their livelihood. In the private sector, we advocate for employees facing these same issues of discrimination, retaliation, reprisal, a hostile work environment or wrongful discharge.
We have extensive experience in addressing federal employment issues for all federal employees. The firm, however, also works with federal law enforcement personnel, senior federal employees, specialized positions such as attorneys and supervisory personnel and those with security clearances.
Protecting Employees with Physical & Mental Impairments
The firm also works extensively with employees, both in the federal and private sector, who suffer from physical and mental impairments. We work extensively with treating physicians, medical personnel, agency managers and health units to address:
- Physical, emotional, psychological and psychiatric conditions, often brought on by or exacerbated by the work environment itself, and
- Preserving employment, obtaining reasonable accommodations for short and long term disabilities and transfers, and reassignment or retirement possibilities where appropriate.
We address these matters where there is harassment or threatened adverse personnel actions, including wrongful termination or denial of a security clearance.
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The firm also addresses sexual harassment claims. Work environments permeated by sexual innuendo, use of stereotypes or outright demands for sexual conduct, remain a pervasive evil. This firm has addressed many such claims sensitively and successfully.
Substance Abuse, Alcoholism, & Addiction
Our expertise also includes addressing employees suffering from alcohol or substance dependencies. We handle these matters with tact, privacy and a concern for the employee.
Experienced Employee Advocates
We have extensive experience with representing federal employees, including senior employees and federal law enforcement personnel, in a wide variety of claims, including:
- Adverse Action and Discipline Matters
- Internal investigations
- Fitness for duty examinations
- Security Clearance Issues
- Giglio Matters
- Harassment (including Sexual Harassment)
- Whistleblower Claims
- Retaliation and Reprisal
- Discrimination (on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, familial status, marital status, national origin and disability)
If you have been treated unfairly, harassed, denied promotion or pay, under criminal or administrative investigation, believe you were discriminated against based on race, sex, age, ethnicity or disability status, were denied reasonable accommodations or retirement possibilities and benefits, or if you claim to have been subject to whistleblower reprisal, we can help.
Current and Former Members of the Armed Forces
All too often, those who serve us are not served by us.
Service in the Armed Forces is an honor and a privilege, which is all too often not only unrecognized, but also discriminated against. As fewer Americans serve their country, those who do serve find themselves at a disadvantage, not only to advance their civilian careers, but also in their limited opportunities to secure proper employment in the first place.
Our practice is committed to ensuring that current and former uniformed service personnel are protected against discrimination, hostility and mistreatment in the workplace. Whether in the federal or private sector, we work to ensure that employers provide the same opportunities for employment, retention and advancement for both those who serve and those who do not.
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) is a Federal law that establishes the rights and responsibilities for uniformed Service members and their civilian employers.
What are your rights under USERRA?
- Right to Reemployment in a same or similar position in the workforce after leaving your civilian job to perform service in the uniformed service.
- Right to be free from discrimination based on military service.
- Right to elect to continue existing employer-based health care coverage for you and your dependents for up to 24 months while in the military if you leave your job to perform military service.
- Right to the same advancement opportunities as non-military personnel.
- Right not to be punished in terms of seniority or job position as a result of your military service.
- Right to enforce these rights and to be free of discrimination, retaliation or reprisal based on your military service.
We have experience with working extensively with US military personnel and reservists bringing claims under USERRA. If you believe you were subject to hostility, discipline, or termination, barred from being hired or promoted or denied pay or benefits as result of your military service, we can help.
Request a Consultation with Experienced DC Employment Lawyer
Are you currently a federal employee who has been the victim of adverse action, retaliation, or discrimination? Let our knowledgeable attorney and professional staff assist in advocating for your rights and protections under the law. Contact the DC Employment Law Attorneys at the Law Offices of Kevin E. Byrnes by calling us at (703) 590-1234 to Request a Consultation!