Category Archives: Termination

Judge&Gavel

Inappropriate Penalty for Public Employee’s Misconduct

Is it inappropriate to consider a public employee’s denial of misconduct when considering potential for rehabilitation?

In Love v. District of Columbia Office of Employee Appeals, Respondents (both former employees) refused to acknowledge that their actions in failing to classify properly inmates, resulting in the inmates’ escape, were either wrong or mistakes. Both officers admitted that the actions occurred, but stood firm in their belief that those actions were correct in the situation.

OEA found that Respondents’ actions were negligent. Both Respondents were fired from their public employment positions. Throughout the numerous appeals and reviews, Respondents continued to assert that their actions were not negligent and that they had not made mistakes. OEA determined that the Respondents could not be rehabilitated since they would not acknowledge that their actions were wrong.  And since the Respondents could not be rehabilitated, the Respondents were terminated properly, according to OEA.

According to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, it was inappropriate for the Department of Corrections and OEA to use an employee’s failure to acknowledge his/her action as wrong or as a mistake in determining a public employee’s potential for rehabilitation.  A public employee’s ability to be rehabilitated is one factor considered by an employer when determining an appropriate punishment.

In sum, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals determined that a public employee is not required to agree with the public employer’s view of the misconduct in order to have potential for rehabilitation.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070www.jmlaw.net, or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

EEOC Settles Severe Obesity Case Under the ADA

A nonprofit organization has agreed to pay a severely obese woman $125,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The nonprofit fired the woman, and the EEOC alleged that she was fired because of her severe obesity although she could perform her job.  The EEOC asserted that severe obesity was a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In addition to the financial payment, as part of the settlement, the nonprofit organization will be required will provide annual training on federal disability law to all human resources personnel and corporate directors of its organization.   The nonprofit organization also will report to the EEOC for three years on all complaints of disability discrimination and all denials of a request for reasonable accommodation of a disability.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

District of Columbia Reduction in Force

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion that applies to employees of the District of Columbia who have been released due to a reduction in force.  First, the Court of Appeals held that certain issues in the case could not be decided by reviewing the documents alone and that, therefore, an evidentiary hearing was required.  Second, as to cases involving the effect of voluntary retirements on RIF procedures, the Court of Appeals determined that more information was needed from the District of Columbia Office of Personnel as to whether it was its official position that positions vacated by retiring employees — after a RIF has been announced, but before a RIF is implemented — should be counted among the positions abolished by the RIF.  Third, the Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Office of Employee Appeals for a determination as to whether the former employee’s prior rather than current year’s performance ratings were incorrectly applied in violation of law.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at (301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

Title VII Retaliation Claims

A recent decision from the United States District of Columbia addressed a number of legal related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Retaliation was among the matters discussed.  The court noted that Title VII prohibits two types of statutorily protected activity:  (1) opposition activity:  opposing any practice that Title VII makes an “unlawful employment practice” and (2) participation activity:  making a charge of discrimination, testifying, assisting, or participating in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title VII.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at
(301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.

 

Absenteeism

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion
regarding unemployment compensation benefits that was notable, in part, because of the Court’s language about the employee’s duty to her employer in the case of an expected absence.

The employee in the case was terminated, allegedly for a variety of reasons, i.e., fraud, inability to perform duties, harassment and absenteeism. The case established that the employee had missed a large number of work days and that she was absent with increasing frequency.  The employee and her employer had problems communicating about (among other items) her absences, her return to work, when she would be working and about the nature of her illness that required her to be absent.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the employer that (1) the employee’s repeated failure timely to apprise her employer “about days of expected absence throughout her employment and (2) respond meaningfully to his request for information about the expected duration of her absence following her December hospitalization” constituted a breach of her duty to her employer.  Or, to use unemployment compensation lingo, constituted simple misconduct.

For more information or for a consultation regarding your legal issues, please contact McCollum & Associates, LLC, at
(301) 864-6070 or jmccollum@jmlaw.net.