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News 2024

  • Lynne Bernabei moderated a webinar for the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association, “FRE 702 Amendments and Experts in Plaintiffs’ Employment Cases” (Feb. 13, 2024). Lynne, and the other panelists, Judge Paul Grimm (ret.) and Phil Andonian, discussed how the recent amendments to Rule 702, Federal Rules of Evidence, change the legal landscape for using expert witnesses. The presentation and the written materials explained how the amendments to Rule 702 increase the role of the court in evaluating expert witnesses. All three panelists also discussed specific issues relating to mental health experts, economic experts, and vocational rehabilitation experts.

News 2023

  • Bloomberg Law’s Daily Labor Report [link] recently quoted Lynne Bernabei. She discussed the sizable gender pay bias jury verdict against Google, won by a female executive. Lynne explained that it can be difficult to prove sex-based wage discrimination claims, unless the plaintiff knows the salary of male comparators. Lynne also discussed how the jury verdict was unusual in not including economic damages, as the jury only awarded emotional distress damages and punitive damages.
  • Plaintiff Andre Jackson has brought suit against the District of Columbia and two Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) officers for his allegedly unlawful arrest in the spring of 2022. Jackson maintains that he was standing on a sidewalk when MPD Officers Donald Green and Afam Ishakwue (the “Officers”) illegally arrested him based on the erroneous, and possibly pretextual, ground that he had fled from the scene of a purported traffic incident two nights prior. Jackson responded by filing the present action, alleging a host of constitutional and common law claims against the Officers as well as tort claims against the District, directly based on negligent supervision and vicariously under the doctrine of respondeat superior. Jackson V DC
  • WUSA-9 recently interviewed Lynne Bernabei and our co-counsel Joe Caleb about proposed D.C. Council legislation that would allow the police to search anyone they think might be on parole or probation, in order to find guns. Lynne and Joe explained that these “jump out” searches will be unconstitutional as they are without probable cause, and would only worsen the relationships between the police and the community. Read the full article here.
  • Bernabei & Kabat issued a press release last week calling on the DC City Council to scuttle legislation proposed by Brooke Pinto, Chair of the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary, which would subject D.C. residents, especially Black residents, to unconstitutional searches and prosecutions.
  • Bernabei & Kabat is proud to announce that Lynne Bernabei & Alan Kabat are included in the 2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of employment law – individuals, litigation – labor and employment, and civil rights law.
  • Bernabei & Kabat is proud to announce that Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat have been named in the 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyers. Read the full article here.
  • MPD officers patrol Black neighborhoods and jump out of unmarked cars to surround, stop, and search individuals without basis. It is illegal, it is wrong, and it is making us less safe. For years, DC residents have asked MPD to stop this unconstitutional practice, but jump-outs are still being used to this day.On May 9, attorneys representing a veteran MPD Sergeant who protested discriminatory police tactics, and people who have been subjected to these discriminatory tactics, wrote to Councilmember Brooke Pinto. They asked that she use her position as Chair of the DC Council’s Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety to call a hearing on MPD’s continued use of illegal jump-outs before Chief Contee departs MPD on June 3. Councilmember Pinto has not responded to this request.Join ACLU-DC, DC Justice Lab, and others in voicing your demand for a hearing on jump-outs. With one-click, you can write a letter to Councilmember Pinto and other members of the Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety to ask them for a hearing on jump-outs by June 3.Click on the shortcut to have your voice heard:
  • On July 24, 2023, D.C. Superior Court Judge Maurice Ross cleared the way for District of Columbia MPD Sergeant Charlotte Djossou to go to trial on her whistleblower retaliation claims against the District of Columbia. Sergeant Djossou has alleged that MPD’s highest officers retaliated against her for reporting illegal jump-outs in Black communities, and targeting of young Black men without probable cause. She also reported the downgrading of serious felonies and property crimes to falsify crime statistics in the District and help the senior MPD officers get promotions. The jury will also learn about the retaliation that Sergeant Djossou suffered as a result of her reports, including a forced transfer, denial of promotions to Detective-Sergeant, and downgraded performance evaluations based on fabricated disciplinary documents, all of which created a hostile work environment, and were intended to drive her out of her job.
  • On June 8, Lynne Bernabei gave a presentation to the National Employment Lawyers Association’s Whistleblower Committee – attorneys who represent whistleblowers from across the country. Lynne spoke about the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent enforcement of the SEC rule that prohibits employers from preventing their employees from providing information to the SEC. Lynne also spoke about the recent proliferation of federal and state laws that prohibit non-disclosure agreements in both employment agreements and in settlement or severance agreements.
  • A group of civil rights advocates, the lawyers for Sergeant Charlotte Djossou, the lawyers for individuals who have brought cases alleging constitutional harm for illegal jump-outs, yesterday sent a letter calling on Council member Brooke Pinto, Chair of the D.C. Council Committee on the Judiciary, to hold a public hearing examining the continuing problem of jump-outs, discriminatory targeting of Black neighborhoods, and other police abuses of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Read the full article here.
  • On May 1, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review an appeal brought by an employee who alleged that his employer retaliated against him for reporting securities law violations. The case, Murray v. UBS Securities, is expected to be argued in the fall of 2023. Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat contributed to the amicus brief in support of Senators Grassley and Wyden, in support of the employee. As Law 360 reported, the case turns on whether the employee has to show that the employer had “retaliatory intent” in terminating the employee.
  • On May 3, 2023, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed a new law that bans non-compete agreements for low-wage workers who leave one job for another. Lynne Bernabei testified to the Maryland Senate Finance Committee earlier this year, to support the legislation. Lynne explained how non-compete agreements harm low-wage workers, by making it harder for them to find new employment, and by discouraging them from complaining about discrimination or retaliation in the workplace since they would be subject to non-compete if they are fired or forced to resign.
  • Lynne Bernabei will be testifying to the Maryland General Assembly on March 2, 2003, in support of legislation that would increase the wage threshold for non-compete agreements for low-wage workers. This legislation is necessary because while Maryland already bans non-competes for some low-wage workers, the upcoming increase in the minimum wage requires re-setting the wage threshold for this ban.Lynne’s testimony, on behalf of the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association, will emphasize that non-compete agreements are particularly harmful to low-wage workers, who may find it difficult if not impossible to get a new job in their area. Also, non-competes discourage employees from complaining about workplace discrimination or harassment, as employees fear they will lose their job if they complain, and they won’t be able to find a new job due to the non-compete.
  • Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat helped draft an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Murray v. UBS. The amicus brief, on behalf of two members of Congress and a non-profit organization, addresses the burdens of proof for securities fraud whistleblowers and their employers when bringing retaliation claims under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.The amicus brief addresses the circuit split on the burdens of proof for these retaliation claims, since one court required the plaintiff to prove that the employer had “retaliatory intent” to terminate the employee, while other courts and the Department of Labor do not require proof of actual discriminatory or retaliatory intent for a SOX whistleblower claim. The amicus brief requests that the Supreme Court resolve this dispute by relying on the statutory text and the purpose of SOX as a remedial statute.
  • Lynne Bernabei will testify on February 16, 2023, in the Federal Trade Commission’s Public Forum,, on behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association, in support of the FTC’s proposed rule banning non-compete agreements as unenforceable. She will testify about how the ban would benefit workers nationwide, and will level the playing field between employees and employers.
  • New Investigative Reporting Details DC Police Department’s Systemic Refusal to Investigate Whistleblower’s Reports of Illegal Jump Out Tactics
  • Tune in to WUSA-9 on Sunday night, February 5, 2023, after the conclusion of the Grammy awards. They will be airing the story of Sergeant Djossou, one of our clients, who has whistleblower claims against the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. In the wake of the recent tragedy in Memphis, the story will highlight Sergeant Djossou’s reports of the use of similar illegal jump out tactics by the MPD and the Department’s systematic refusal to investigate these allegations. A roundtable discussion will accompany this story on WUSA’s morning show coverage on February 6, 2023.

News 2022

    • We are happy to announce that Lynne Bernabei has been selected to the Washingtonian Top Lawyers Hall of Fame for 2022. This means that she has been featured on Washingtonian’s Top Lawyers list at least 10 times out of the past 15 years, earning a place among a most elite group of peers and is celebrated as “the best of the best”.
Top lawyers | Hall of Fame | 2022
  • New Partner Announcement
  • Bernabei & Kabat is proud to announce that Lynne Bernabei, Alan Kabat have been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® list for 2023. We are especially excited to announce that Alan Kabat has been recognized as “Litigation – Labor and Employment Lawyer of the Year” for Washington, D.C. by Best Lawyers in America® for 2023. Congratulations to Lynne, Alan, and Pete on this prestigious award.
  • Congratulations to Lynne Bernabei who was inducted into the Law Dragon Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes past members of the Lawdragon 500 and other outstanding lawyers who have made remarkable contributions as leaders, litigators, dealmakers, power brokers, judges and innovators. You can read more about Lynne’s journey here:
  • Lynne Bernabei recently did a CLE presentation as part of a panel, on “Litigation Strategies for Neutralizing Anger in Settlement Negotiations and Jury Trials: Preserving Defenses.” Lynne discussed the strategic considerations in preparing your client for mediation and trial, and in dealing with hostile opposing counsel and their clients. You can read the article by clicking on the link below.
    Litigation Strategies for Neutralizing Anger

News 2021

  • Lynne Bernabei was interviewed by Spanish News channel RT America regarding the workers who were killed in the tornadoes hitting the Midwest when at least one employer (Amazon) would not let them go home from work. It deals with the lack of legal protection for workers on the federal level, and the state level, from being fired when threatened with deadly environmental hazards. You can watch the interview by clicking on the link below.
  • Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC, together with Caleb Andonian, PLLC, is proud to represent Wilnisha Sutton, a survivor and leader in the anti-trafficking movement. Today, Ms. Sutton filed a lawsuit which seeks to hold Fair Girls, Inc. and its former Executive Director accountable for their systemic race discrimination and retaliation
  • Bernabei & Kabat is proud to announce that Lynne Bernabei, Alan Kabat were named in the 2021 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers.
  • Lynne Bernabei was quoted in the Washington Post article titled: #MeToo raised awareness about sexual misconduct. Has it curbed bad behavior?
  • Lynne Bernabei will be presenting on August 10 at a Strafford CLE panel  on “Cross-examining Plaintiffs in Employment Harassment and Discrimination Cases.” She will discuss strategies in preparing both the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s witnesses for deposition and trial testimony. Her colleagues on the panel will discuss this from the employer’s perspective, so this panel provides an unique opportunity to learn strategies from both sides in employment litigation.
  • Lynne Bernabei presented at Midyear Meeting of the American Bar Association, Section of Labor & Employment Law, International Labor and Employment Law Committee, on May 6, 2021. Her panel, with attorneys from the United Kingdom, discussed “The Future of Work Post-COVID-19″“There has been lots of discussion about what the world of work is going to look like post-Covid. One thing seems fairly certain: increased flexibility around when and how we do our work is likely as is the inevitability of at least some element of remote working for most organizations. Panelists will consider what this might look like, what employers and employees are going to have to consider with this new ‘normal,’ what the labor and employment implications are and indeed what when employees end up working remotely in another jurisdiction.”Lynne’s paper, co-authored with Alan Kabat, reviewed the patchwork of federal and state laws that may help protect employees from getting COVID-19 in the workplace, and discussed the need for legislation or regulations to provide stronger protections. The paper also discusses the preemption by federal laws of state laws, and the preemption by state laws of local laws, which can undermine efforts by lower level governments to provide greater protections than those at the state or federal level.
  • Law360 published Alan Kabat’s Until last week, employee-side lawyers in Washington, D.C., were potentially open to attack when they represented both a party and a friendly witness in the same proceeding.
  • Law360 published Alan Kabat’s commentary on the D.C. Court of Appeals decision in Jacobson Holman PLLC v. Gentner, court decision decided on February 4, 2021. Alan discusses how the decision squarely rejects the attempts by law firms to impose financial penalties on departing partners who leave for other law firms. Those penalties violate Rule 5.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, since they interfere with the attorney-client relationship, and prevent clients from being able to choose their lawyer. Alan also explains how law firms will need to review and amend their partnership agreements to remove these unethical financial penalties.
  • Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC is honored to be named in the latest edition of Best Lawyers in America for 2021 for their work in employment law. Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC is nationally ranked in 1 practice area and regionally ranked in 2 practice areas. The U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process.

News 2020

  • Lynne Bernabei is presenting at the Brooklyn Bar Association’s CLE session, “Whistleblower and First Amendment Protections for Career Civil Servants, Inspector Generals, Policy Makers and U.S. Attorney Generals who have been fired or demoted by the Trump Administration” (Oct. 27, 2020).  Lynne’s talk focuses on the laws that are intended to protect federal appointees and employees, and the shortcomings in those protections.
  • Lynne Bernabei, Alan Kabat were selected to the 2020 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers guide. The editorial team selected the 500 honorees through submissions, journalistic research and editorial vetting from a board of our peers. We are very proud to be included in this important guide to the lawyers who help workers protect their rights – which has never been more important than in these times.
  • The New Yorker, in a feature article how the Department of Labor is improperly favoring corporations over workers during the coronavirus pandemic, discussed one of our Firm’s clients who was fired when she insisted on workplace safeguards before returning to the office.
  • WUSA-9, the NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C. aired a story on Sergeant Charlotte Djossou, one of our clients, who has whistleblower claims against the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.  She explained how she was retaliated against for having protested racist tactics used by the police.
  • D.C. police officer sues department claiming retaliation by superiors after complaining officers illegally targeted Black men for arrests.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently imposed a five-year ban on a senior nuclear executive [Fed Register] at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and a fine of over $600,000 on TVA, as a penalty for having retaliated against two whistleblowers, both of whom were represented by Bernabei & Kabat. It has been nearly twenty years since the NRC last fined TVA for retaliating against whistleblowers. Both the Knoxville News and the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on this significant decision.
  • Law360 published Alan Kabat’s analysis of several recent court decisions that extended the Supreme Court’s Bostock v. Clayton County decision to hold that the Administration could not narrow statutory protections through new regulations that excluded disfavored persons from statutory protections. Bostock, in addition to holding that sexual orientation and gender identity were covered under Title VII (the employment discrimination statute), also made clear that the courts had to look to statutes as they were written. This means that the Administration cannot write regulations in a way that excludes certain categories of people who are protected under the statutes.
  • Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat were again named to the “Best Lawyers” list for Washington, D.C., placing them among the top 4 percent of attorneys in the D.C. metropolitan area. They were recognized for their extensive experience and high caliber work in employment law. Lynne has been listed since 2006, and Alan since 2010. Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based upon a peer-review survey of top attorneys.
  • Lynne Bernabei was honored to join Stephen E. Fox and Ashley Allyn at Strafford’s CLE webinar on Effective Cross-Examination of #plaintiffs in #employment #disccrimination and #harassment cases on August 11, 2020.
  • Lynne Bernabei and Alan Kabat submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the latest challenge to the “Muslim travel ban” executive orders. Their brief argued that the travel ban was based on impermissible stereotypes of Muslims, and that such stereotyping of minorities can and has led to violence against those minorities in the past. Moreover, all Americans, not just the stereotyped minority groups, are ultimately harmed by this stereotyping. The amicus brief was submitted on behalf of the following civil rights organizations: (1) Advocates for Youth; (2) Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice; (3) Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law; (4) Freedom from Religion Foundation; (5) Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund; (6) Mississippi Center for Justice; (7) National Center for Lesbian Rights; and (8) Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
  • Lynne Bernabei will be presenting on “The Nuts and Bolts of Litigating Sexual Harassment and Assault Cases” on July 10, 2020, at the annual conference of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).  Her panel will explore the nuts and bolts of litigating sexual harassment and sexual assault cases in the #MeToo era.  Lynne and the other panelists will discuss arbitration as opposed to going to court; proceeding under a pseudonym; nondisclosure agreements; how to handle sensitive emotional distress issues; how to limit discovery of medical evidence; state laws that provide greater coverage; problems of protecting contractors or undocumented workers; gathering support from victims’ rights and women’s groups; and mediation of sexual harassment cases.
  • Law360 quoted Alan Kabat on the Supreme Court’s recent employment discrimination decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, and the broader impact that this will have on other employment cases.
  • MedStar employee claims in lawsuit she was fired for tweeting about hospital’s lack of coronavirus safety precautions
    Bernabei & Kabat client, Sarah Cusick, filed suit against MedStar Health, Inc. and MedStar’s Washington Hospital Center on Friday, May 15, 2020. Ms. Cusick alleges that the Washington Hospital Center wrongfully terminated her employment because she reported, to management and by posting over social media, the Hospital’s failure to protect patients and staff under federal and District of Columbia COVID-19 protocols. As The Washington Post writes, quoting Lynne Bernabei, “They called her in and said, ‘We want you to remove the posts; this is hurting MedStar’s brand.’” Ms. Cusick was terminated immediately afterward.
  • The Demise of Non-Disclosure Agreements in the #MeToo Era
    In the absence of meaningful federal legislation, states are considering the best way to stop patterns of sexual assault and help victims heal outside the spotlight of a trial. While legislation that prohibits non-disclosure agreements in sexual misconduct settlements may benefit victims who seek to share their stories, others desire confidentiality and closure. Proposed legislation should respect victims’ differing priorities and help them hold wrongdoers accountable, either publicly or privately.
  • Health Worker Files Suit Against MedStar For Terminating Her Employment For Reporting That It Did Not Adequately Protect Patients And Staff From COVID-19
  • Super Lawyers has recognized Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC attorneys Alan R. Kabat
  • INJUSTICE & CORRUPTION IN FLORENCE, AZ –Hondo Hunter and Jarris Varnrobinson Vonzombie’s Story
  • WUSA Channel 9 recently interviewed DC Police Sergeant Charlotte Djossou, about her whistleblowing reports. In the interview, Sergeant Djossou explained how she had complained that the Metropolitan Police Department was under-reporting crimes, in order to “improve” the crime statistics. These “improvements” were used to promote the captains and commanders. Some felonies were reclassified as simple assaults, meaning that the perpetrator, if convicted, would serve a much shorter sentence before being released. Sergeant Djossou had previously complained about this conduct, both within the Metropolitan Police Department, and to the D.C. Council, and was retaliated against for her reports. Bernabei & Kabat PLLC represents Sergeant Djossou.
  • The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued a preliminary determination that the Tennessee Valley Authority illegally retaliated against two former employees in violation of the whistleblower protections of the NRC regulations. The NRC determined that TVA investigated both employees, placed them on leave, and forced them out “in part, for engaging in protected activities,” which included their multiple reports about significant safety issues at TVA’s nuclear power plants.
    The NRC’s finding is consistent with the Department of Labor’s OSHA determination in 2019 that TVA retaliated against one of the employees who had also filed an OSHA complaint. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported on the retaliation and investigations. Bernabei & Kabat, PLLC represented both employees, and our attorneys have represented a number of other TVA employees over the past several decades.
  • Lynne Bernabei interviewed re: corporate travel during coronavirus
  • Florence officials remain defendants in lawsuit
  • US Court of Appeals for 9th Circuit rejected an appeal by several Florence, AZ government officials
  • The Knoxville News Sentinel published an article [Department of Labor rules in favor of nuclear whistleblower] about a one of our clients, a nuclear engineer at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) who was fired after she persisted in reporting safety issues at TVA’s nuclear programs. The Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, found in favor of our firm’s client, finding that TVA’s purported justification for firing her was “demonstrably false,” and that she was terminated “because of the information she provided during a chilled work environment investigation.” The Department of Labor found that even TVA had to admit “that it took adverse action against [Ms. Wetzel] because of her participation in [TVA’s] chilled work environment investigation, in which she provided her honest responses to the investigators’ questions.”

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