Joseph, Greenwald and Laake Scores Big Win for the Washington Teachers Union and D.C. Public Employees

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Attorneys Jay Holland, Brian Markovitz, and Veronica Jackson, of Joseph, Greenwald, & Laake, P.A., on behalf of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) and several individual members, filed a Writ of Mandamus against OEA to compel it to follow its 120-day deadline when deciding public employee appeals.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals has ordered the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals (OEA) to take steps to come into compliance with a long-ignored deadline for deciding its cases. In November of 2011, Attorneys Jay Holland, Brian Markovitz, and Veronica Jackson, of Joseph, Greenwald, & Laake, P.A., on behalf of the Washington Teachers’ Union (WTU) and several individual members, filed a Writ of Mandamus against OEA to compel it to follow its 120-day deadline when deciding public employee appeals. These appeals are the only possible recourse for hundreds of teachers fired by the school district over two years ago. To date, these teachers have not received a hearing, nor a chance to be reinstated to their jobs. In many cases, no administrative judge has been assigned to hear their cases.

The Court of Appeals ordered that OEA respond to the Court within 20 days to explain “what actions it intends to undertake to address the delay in assigning administrative law judges in order to come into compliance with 6 DCMR § 632.1 (2008) (administrative judge ‘shall issue an initial decision ... no later than 120 business days after the employee files a complete petition for appeal.’).” See Washington Teachers’ Union, Local #6, et al. v. Clarence Labor, Jr., et al., Case No. 11-OA-36, 2012 D.C. App. Lexis 21, (D.C. Jan. 27, 2012).

This Order, while not the end of the battle for timely justice, marks a major victory on behalf of WTU’s members and also public employees throughout the District of Columbia.

Joseph, Greenwald & Laake (JGL) has been providing legal counsel to clients in Maryland and Washington, DC for more than forty years. The firm has more than 35 attorneys, primarily practicing in the areas of medical malpractice, family law, bankruptcy, business law, labor and employment law, estate planning, real estate, educational law, civil litigation, criminal defense, workers’ compensation and personal injury. JGL has received recognition as a Tier 1 law firm in 2011-2012 edition of the U.S. News and World Report Best Lawyers – “Best Law Firms”. The firm has offices in Greenbelt and Rockville, Maryland. For more information, visit http://www.jgllaw.com.

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Veronica D. Jackson
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