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News 2021

  • Bernabei & Kabat is proud to announce that Lynne Bernabei, Alan Kabat, Peter Whelan and Kristen Sinisi 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 Kristin Sinisi and 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, and Peter Whelan 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.
  • Today, Devin Wrigley presented at a MWELA panel, which focused on the employment safeguards protecting COVID-19 whistleblowers. Ms. Wrigley discussed constructive discharge claims in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, and explored the virus-related regulations and guidance on which employees may base such claims. She also discussed her experience representing a healthcare worker who was terminated after she reported and protested a lack of required anti-coronavirus protections for patients, staff, and visitors at a local hospital.
  • 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 and Kristen Sinisi
  • 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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