ABC-7's "Good Morning Washington" program sent reporter Kristen Powers to interview TELG's Scott Oswald about protections for D.C.-area employees amid the growing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. In multiple segments over a period of about two hours, Scott addressed the most common employee concerns — with a special focus on the District's just-passed law that provides new ways for workers to get paid even if their employer suspends or ceases operations. IMPORTANT: Workplace laws and rules regarding COVID-19 have been changing rapidly; please consult an employment lawyer for up-to-date advice.
Washingtonian Magazine interviewed TELG's Scott Oswald about the rights that DC-area employees might assert amid the early stages of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic, including a discussion of layoffs, furloughs, and work-at-home orders — and, conversely, orders to continue working despite fear of infection. IMPORTANT: Workplace laws and rules regarding COVID-19 have been changing rapidly; please consult an employment lawyer for up-to-date advice.
TIME published an in-depth article about the ongoing fight by current and former Walmart employees to hold the retail giant accountable for discrimination against women — and prominently featured the stories of two TELG clients who, along with six others, sued Walmart in early May 2019. Lissa Medeiros and Stephanie Chapman told of being paid less than men with less experience, and of being passed over for promotions. Their lawsuit is the latest in a line that stretches back to 2001; the broader dispute already has reached the U.S. Supreme Court once.
Law360 covered an appellate victory by TELG client Julie Reed, whose False Claims Act case against KeyPoint Government Solutions now returns to a federal judge for further analysis. The decision broke new ground in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit — sometimes an unforgiving jurisdiction for qui tam relators such as Ms. Reed — by grappling with the law's requirement for relators to "materially add" to information that's already known to the U.S. government. The lower court had said Ms. Reed didn't meet the standard. The Tenth Circuit disagreed, saying that her claims "blaze a new trail."
Law360 covered TELG client Linda Barrick's motion for partial summary judgment in her lawsuit against casino operator Penn National Gaming Inc., which she claims has been diverting dealers' tips into a fund that is improperly distributed — including to employees who were on leave when the tips were given. The fund isn't a valid tip pool under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Ms. Barrick says in her suit, which seeks collective-action status under the FLSA and also makes claims under West Virginia state wage laws.
The Washington Post interviewed TELG's Scott Oswald about President Trump's intention to revoke the security clearance of former CIA director John Brennan. Scott said such a revocation could be challenged because the president had acknowledged that his motivation for the action was "totally political."
Colorado Public Radio interviewed TELG managing principal Scott Oswald about the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in favor of a Colorado bakery owner who cited religious reasons for his refusal to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple. Scott said the opinion was so case-specific that it didn't change any laws — but he still feared that over-simplified headlines might embolden bigots.
The media in Washington, DC — and well beyond — paid lots of attention when TELG client Nathan Davidheiser was revealed as the whistleblower who alerted authorities to the use of substandard concrete on the Silver Line, an extension of DC's Metro system that remains under construction. In interviews, including with News4, the local NBC station, TELG principal David Scher said he's pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice has chosen to support Mr. Davidheiser's lawsuit.
Bloomberg Environment interviewed TELG's R. Scott Oswald about possible changes to how whistleblower retaliation complaints are handled by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Scott said that OSHA's priority should be to speed up its investigations — and to make it easier for whistleblowers to move their cases to federal court, if they prefer that route.
Law360 interviewed TELG principal Nicholas Woodfield about reports that several federal employees were punished after questioning expenditures by Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Nick said that the employees appear to have a strong basis for claiming illegal whistleblower retaliation, based on media coverage.
The Daily Times, a newspaper based in Salisbury, Md., along with other Maryland media, reported on a whistleblower case filed under the federal False Claims Act by TELG client Bryan Arvey, a former ambulance driver for Hart to Heart Transportation Services. Mr. Arvey claims that Hart to Heart and related parties billed Medicare for unnecessary services such as ambulance transportation and use of stretchers.
The Hill newspaper interviewed TELG's Nicholas Woodfield about President Trump's request for the power to fire federal employees "who undermine the public trust or fail the American people." Mr. Woodfield said that such arbitrary firing power could devastate the federal workforce.
For a report on the legal impact of #MeToo and the related Time's Up initiative, Law360 interviewed TELG's Nicholas Woodfield and other attorneys and concluded that — despite a surge in high-profile allegations of sexual harassment — women in "regular" workplaces still face retaliation and other unfair obstacles that limit their willingness to sue their employers.
Law360 interviewed TELG principal Nicholas Woodfield about a report predicting that the Trump administration will pursue fewer class action lawsuits to enforce workplace laws, and that plaintiff-side law firms will pick up the slack. Nick said that may be true in part — but that government neglect may allow some worthy cases to fall through the cracks.
The Politics Guys podcast interviewed TELG's Scott Oswald on a number of whisteblower-related topics — including the difference between whistleblowing and leaking. Host Mike Baranowski also talked with Scott what companies must do, legally speaking, to act against discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.
The David Pakman Show, a current-affairs video podcast, interviewed TELG's Scott Oswald about the law behind a recent string of sexual misconduct allegations against public figures. Scott also discussed employers' broad legal responsibilities toward their employees in situations involving harassment — their obligation to protect workers, and their obligation to respond to complaints.
Fox 9 News in Minnesota, along with other local and national media, reported on an $850,000 settlement between the U.S. government and a dermatologist based in Burnsville, Minn. who was accused of defrauding the federal Medicare program. The whistleblower in the case was TELG client Jeff Samuelson, whose story was explained to Fox 9 by his attorney, TELG principal David L. Scher.
Law360 reported on TELG client Linda Barrick's filing of a proposed class action lawsuit against Penn National Gaming, owner of the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia. Ms. Barrick claims that the casino illegally diverts money from an employee tip pool to cover other costs.
Reuters reported on a victory for TELG whistleblower client Mary Kaye Welch: A federal appeals panel ruled that her former employer can't force her fraud lawsuit—which she had filed on behalf of U.S. taxpayers—into private arbitration based on the boilerplate text of her hiring agreement. In a 3-0 decision the judges said the language of Ms. Welch's hiring agreement doesn't cover this dispute, allowing her case to resume in a lower court.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) quoted TELG's Scott Oswald in its online coverage of a high-profile lawsuit against Bass Pro Outdoor World, which agreed to pay $10.5 million to settle an EEOC complaint that it discriminated against black and Hispanic job applicants.