Our Employment Lawyers in Washington DC Office
The strong national reputation of Outten & Golden LLP is derived from our track record in representing employees, executives, and partners in all areas of employment law.
It is the sole focus of our law firm. All of our resources are channelled into protecting the rights and interests of our clients in cases requiring a profound understanding of the relevant employment laws.
For employees in Washington DC, Maryland, or Virginia, our experienced team can assist you whether you are a senior executive involved in contract negotiations or your civil rights have been abused by an employer.
Our Washington DC employment lawyers promote equality and employees’ rights and have even helped combat systemic discrimination in class action and impact litigation.
Employment law in the District of Columbia
The employment laws in the District of Columbia support the relevant federal laws and can be applied to protect workers in Washington.
Employees here have rights related to the following:
Paid sick leave
Workers in DC are entitled to paid sick leave under the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act regardless of employer size.
Tipped workers at restaurants or bars accrue one hour of paid sick leave at the full minimum wage for every 43 hours worked, up to five days per year.
For all other workers, the amount of paid sick leave accrued depends on the size of the employer, ranging from one hour of paid sick leave for every 37 hours worked (maximum seven days per year) to one hour of paid leave for every 87 hours worked (maximum three days per year).
The DC Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The District of Columbia Family and Medical Leave Act (“DC FMLA”) allows workers at companies with 20 employees or more to take up to 16 weeks of medical leave and 16 weeks of family leave every two years for the following types of adverse circumstances:
· Recovering from a serious illness
· The birth or adoption of a child
· Caring for a child in foster care, and
· Caring for a seriously ill family member
The DC Human Rights Law
The DCHRA prohibits DC employers, regardless of size, from discriminating against an employee based on:
· National origin
· Sexual orientation
· Gender identity or expression
· Marital status
· Personal appearance
· Family responsibilities
· Credit information
Employers are also prevented from retaliating against employees who make complaints under the law.
DC’s Wage Payment and Collection Law
Employees discharged from positions with DC employers of any size must be paid wages earned no later than one working day following the termination.
This applies unless the employee owes money to the employer, in which case four days are permitted to reconcile the debt.
Employers with fewer than 20 employees in DC (not covered by the main federal COBRA laws) must offer a temporary extension of health coverage for three months for employees and their dependents when those benefits would otherwise be terminated.
This applies unless the employee is fired for gross misconduct or fails to timely elect coverage and pay the premium within 45 days of the date the insurance coverage would otherwise terminate.
Employees in DC who lose their job may be eligible for unemployment compensation if:
· They become unemployed through no fault of their own
· They are able and available to work and actively seeking employment, and
· They earned a minimum threshold amount in wages before they became unemployed
There is some flexibility in these requirements. For instance, special arrangements were made during the COVID-19 pandemic to make compensation easier to claim.
Recent changes to employment laws in Washington, DC and the greater metropolitan area
Employment laws are often amended in DC and the surrounding states. Between July and October 2020, numerous new laws came into effect in the region.
For instance, since July 1, 2020, individuals could begin taking paid leave under the District’s Paid Family Leave Program: up to eight weeks of paid leave per year to bond with a new child, six weeks per year to care for a family member with a serious health condition, and two weeks per year to care for the individual’s own serious health condition.
Maryland introduced new laws relating to written notice periods from employers as well as expanding the definition of “race” to provide broader protection against discrimination. It also introduced a ban on wage history inquiries and requirements to provide a wage range in employment applications.
Significant changes were also made to the Virginia Human Rights Act to protect gender identity, sexual orientation, and veteran status. Numerous other changes included the introduction of new whistleblower laws, non-competes were disallowed for low-wage employees, and new wage and hour laws were passed.
With employment law changes occurring frequently, it’s important to take legal advice from a dedicated employment law firm. Our employment lawyers make it our business to know the latest employment laws in Washington DC and around the region.
Our employment law practice areas
Discrimination based on race, national origin, age, gender, sexual harassment, pregnancy, family responsibilities, disability, and so on is taken very seriously in DC. It can negatively impact a job application, conditions of employment, compensation, or prospects for promotion, and can even get you fired.
If you experience discrimination in the workplace, it is important to stand up for your rights. Our Washington DC employment lawyers can help you do that.
Family Medical Leave Act claims
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a major piece of federal legislation granting significant rights to employees who need to take extended leave to deal with a health or family matter.
This can lead to disputes but it is illegal for any employer to deny FMLA leave to an eligible employee or to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for requesting or taking FMLA leave.
Our Washington DC employment attorneys can help you resolve such issues and defend your rights.
Whistleblowing and retaliation
It is illegal for employers to retaliate against whistleblowers who report misconduct or make a claim against them for another reason.
An employer may dismiss, demote, suspend, threaten or harass a whistleblower. If you have been retaliated against, our DC employment attorneys will advise you of your legal options both before and after you make a complaint.
Employment contracts and commission/non-compete/change of control agreements
There are considerable legal, business, and professional implications of entering and exiting employment and partnership agreements.
Our Washington DC Employment lawyers can help you negotiate employment contracts and employment agreements in all types of contexts and represent you if the terms are breached or you are accused of breaching them.
Executive compensation, benefits & bonuses
When you start a new position as an executive, it’s natural to want the best compensation, benefits, and bonuses possible.
We can advise you of your market value, regardless of the profession or industry, and ensure that you get the package you deserve from your new employer.
Terms of separation and severance agreements
If your employment is coming to an end, you need a severance package that puts you in the strongest financial position possible as you seek a new position.
Our DC employment attorneys can negotiate a separation agreement in your best interests or, if necessary, file a lawsuit against your employer.
Wage and hour disputes
Wage and hour/overtime disputes are common in workplaces in DC. Many employees do not know how to fight back to claim the compensation they have earned.
We can represent you if your employer has violated federal and/or local laws governing minimum wage, overtime, misclassification, exemptions, tips, commissions, prevailing wages, etc.
Confidential advice and counsel
The dedicated employment attorneys at Outten & Golden have the experience to understand the local laws inside out and apply them in your best interests.
We can advise employees accordingly – whether the issue concerns contracts, discrimination, unpaid wages, termination, whistleblowing, or another employment matter.
Whether you need to negotiate the terms of contracts, settlements, or other employment matters, the employment lawyers at Outten & Golden can represent you.
Our insight and experience of the local employment laws put us in a strong position to protect your best interests in any employment negotiation.
Litigation, arbitration & dispute resolution
We have been successfully litigating and arbitrating cases for years.
Most times, we are successful in settling the matter out of court. We will use a variety of resources to evaluate the employment issue before recommending an appropriate approach for a resolution.
Class and individual representation
Our Washington DC employment lawyers represent individuals and groups in litigation in federal and state courts.
We can represent groups of workers who have suffered wage theft by the same employer in class or collective actions – and have had notable successes in the past with this.
Terminations, separation agreements & U-5s
If your employment is ending voluntarily or involuntarily, it is in your interests to negotiate a suitable termination agreement with your employer.
If legal claims are involved, we will work with you to aggressively pursue your goals through negotiation, litigation, or other means as appropriate.
Contact our employment attorneys in Washington DC today
If you have an employment issue, talk it through with an experienced and dedicated employment attorney at Outten & Golden LLP in Washington DC. Request to speak to an employment lawyer at our Washington DC firm today.