Our Mission & History
We champion the rights of those who suffer discrimination, injustice, inequality, and retaliation in the workplace. Representing individuals from across the country, we have built a national practice on core principles of excellence, ethics, and the use of leading-edge technologies.
As advocates for employment fairness, we strive to be model employers and employees ourselves. In our work as lawyers and legal professionals, we are zealous advocates for our clients.
We are your workplace champions.
Our Firm History
Since 2002, The Employment Law Group has been dedicated to helping individuals in all areas of employment law. Our firm prides itself on being a one-stop shop and advocates for employees in situations such as retaliation, discrimination, harassment, and contract negotiations. Our attorneys have represented thousands of people and secured multiple million-dollar results for clients.
The Employment Law Group formed only a few years after Scott Oswald, the firm’s managing principal, graduated from law school. Being an attorney was not his original plan in life, but a serendipitous turn of events had changed everything.
After he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics, Scott took a summer job as a bike courier — a job that promptly ended when he got hit by a car. It was at his mother’s request that he sought a safer option and landed a position as legal assistant to Mario Noto a law partner to his father, Robert L. Oswald.
The idea of being anything but a lawyer vanished from Scott’s mind. Working at Noto’s private immigration practice meant changing people’s lives, and Noto’s emphasis on a lawyer’s success being derived from genuinely caring about clients was an ideology Scott could get behind.
Scott went to law school and stayed with the firm for several years until Noto’s retirement. By that point, their work had branched out to handle some employment matters for the same companies they helped to bring in foreign talent.
Until 2001, Scott continued to work as a defense attorney handling more and more employment cases. His path changed on the day of the attack on the Twin Towers. The roads in D.C. were closed, and Scott had a lot of time to reflect while walking home. His first child would be born in a couple months. His whole life was about to change. All of this begged the question of where he wanted to be in 10 years.
In the end, the answer was simple: Scott wanted to help people through some of the hardest times of their lives, and when he stood in court to advocate on their behalf, he wanted to be proud of that. It was time to switch to the plaintiff’s side.
It was also time to reach out to his friend, Adam Carter, who had recently decided to leave his firm and strike out on his own. At nearly the same time, Nick Woodfield was working solo as well. Adam suggested that he, Nick, and Scott all meet over lunch. The rest is history.
The Employment Law Group first appeared in the Yellow Pages in 2002. At the time — and even now — the common practice was to name firms after its partners. This meant ads upon ads with surnames that meant little to a prospective client — and among all those ads was one that said, front and center, “employment lawyers.”
This break from convention made all the difference. Clients seemed to like the clear description and, by extension, felt confident in our skills in employment law. Our firm has been named The Employment Law Group ever since — a name that perfectly reflects the ideology we follow in all our work.
When a client chooses to be represented by TELG, they don’t just get the skills and experience of the lead attorney on their case. They benefit from the collective talent and unique perspectives of the entire firm, whether that means other attorneys with relevant focus areas, project assistants organizing their documents for trial, or our marketing team garnering media attention to further the clients’ goals.
By 2003, the firm was taking shape. At the time, we were still doing a lot of immigration cases, a holdover from Scott’s many years at Noto’s firm. The amount of employment cases was building with the majority being sexual harassment suits. More and more cases came in as our firm’s reputation grew and people passed along referrals.
It was a last-minute case in 2004 that drastically changed the makeup of TELG’s caseload. Not even two months before trial, Scott was pulled in by a colleague to represent Sheila Kalkunte. Kalkunte was an employee for DVI Financial Services, a company that was planning to go public. Shortly beforehand, Kalkunte blew the whistle: DVI Financial Services was double-booking assets to make their company look more valuable than it was. She was fired soon after.
Kalkunte was the first whistleblower our firm had ever represented. The case finished successfully and ended up making history as the first Sarbanes-Oxley Act liability verdict to withstand appeal.
Our success in the case also meant more referrals and more speaking engagements related to whistleblower law. Now, nearly 20 years later, whistleblower cases make up about 40% of our cases. The rest include various workplace issues such as discrimination and wrongful termination. Our immigration practice closed in 2021.
In 2006, Scott, Adam, and Nick officially entered in a shareholder’s agreement, solidifying the TELG of today. At the time, the firm was still small. Besides the three principals, there were two associates, about three administrative employees, and about four law clerks — including Tom Harrington, who would later become the first law clerk to be promoted to principal.
Since 2013, every new principal attorney has started out at the firm as a law clerk. The firm has grown about five times as big since it first formed and now has about 54 employees — a size large enough to handle any case that comes our way but small enough to foster a workplace where everyone knows everyone.
What started out as a simple operation has grown to be able to go toe to toe with major law firms and their equally large corporate clients. Our attorneys, all fierce advocates for clients, have built a reputation for being willing to go to trial. Not only do we prepare for the possibility of trial from the very beginning, but we also have a strong portfolio of jury trial wins. In a world full of law firms that would rather settle, we’ve proven ourselves to be a formidable opponent for any company that treats its employees unfairly.
This reputation was only possible with the help of everyone at TELG. Our legal technology department has built robust data systems capable of handling massive amounts of documentation and information from clients, and our intake and litigation process has been streamlined through years of experience and feedback.
Our principal attorneys, now eight in total, each have focus areas that run the gamut of employment law. Kellee Kruse became TELG’s first female principal in 2018. Michael Vogelsang became a principal the same year. A few years later, Anita Mazumdar Chambers and Janel Quinn joined the roster.
Each principal has added a new perspective to the running of the firm. Their contributions to the firm have resulted in numerous successful cases as well as groundbreaking changes to employment law, including:
- The first reported successful jury verdict under the 2009 anti-retaliation provisions of False Claims Act;
- The first Dodd-Frank Act whistleblower retaliation claim to survive a motion to dismiss in federal court;
- One of the most important appellate decisions in Maryland employment law in the past decade, which ruled that companies are responsible for actions linked to a supervisor’s retaliation;
- Representing one of the first cases in district court that involved COVID-related discrimination;
- And several court decisions that expanded the rights and protections of employees, both federal and private.
Internally, major contributions to the firm’s structure and capacity to work on such pivotal cases can be attributed to all the employees regardless of their position in the firm. TELG makes a point of soliciting and listening to feedback from everyone. People in different departments and positions are able to note different weaknesses in our system, and we are always happy to hear how we can improve.
Employee feedback has led to changes such as an official TELG curriculum for law clerks, new job positions such as legal fellows, and new documented procedures that provide consistency across different cases. In one instance, an employee was bothered by the amount of water bottles we had in the office. We, of course, reduced the amount of water bottles and now solely rely upon a built-in water filling station. Needless to say, the opinions of our employees matter to us.
It was those opinions that have also resulted in our hybrid work model following the COVID-19 pandemic. The onset of the pandemic required a rapid restructuring of our workflow.
Now, we enjoy a hybrid model where employees are free to work 100% remote, 100% in the office, or somewhere in between. These changes have allowed us to expand our talent pool and hire employees outside of the D.C. metro area. Our employees work across the country in states such as Colorado and Florida.
TELG has seen many accomplishments and an incredible amount of growth since our inception. However, the one thing that has not changed — and will never change — is this belief: the way to succeed as an attorney, as a law firm, is to care about people.
Whether it’s simply giving advice or taking a case all the way to trial, we are grateful every day to fight on behalf of employees and to work toward a better workplace.