Gel Client Prevails On Air21 Whistleblower Retaliation Claims

On September 26, 2019, the Department of Labor's Administrative Review Board ("ARB") affirmed the Administrative Law Judge's finding that a charter aircraft safety whistleblower, and GEL client, prevailed on his claims under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century ("AIR 21"). The ARB decision upheld a July 7, 2017, 103 page decision, by Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Scott R. Morris, finding Superior Air Charter d/b/a Jetsuite Air ("Jetsuite") (partially owned by JetBlue), fired the charter aircraft whistleblower for informing the National Transportation Safety Board ("NTSB") of unsafe flying practices, and faulty brake systems, which resulted in several runway overruns, including a 2011 Sedona, Arizona accident. JetSuite did not appeal the decision and it became final on November 25, 2019. There is also a pending suit for damages under California's state whistleblower law, where a federal court found that the state law claims are not pre-empted by federal law. The Administrative Law Judge's decision can be found here: The ARB's decision can be found here:

GEL Attorneys Speak at National Employment Law Conferences

GEL attorneys are speaking at multiple national conferences across the country this summer.

Senior Associate Attorney Michal Shinnar recently spoke at the National Employment Lawyers Association ("NELA") 2019 Conference in New Orleans, LA. The NELA Conference is the largest annual meeting of plaintiffs' employment attorneys and brings together professionals from around the country to discuss the most pressing issues facing employment attorneys.

Ms. Shinnar spoke during the "Anatomy of an Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") Accommodation Case" session, in which she and other panelists presented an in-depth look at recent case law developments in federal courts across the country, and shared insights and strategies for bringing a successful accommodation case.

Several GEL attorneys will speak at the upcoming EXCEL conference in Atlanta, GA, sponsored by the EEOC's Training Institute. EXCEL is the nation's premier training conference for EEO attorneys and practitioners.

Counsel Julie Gold Rook and Senior Associate Attorney Alexis Tsotakos will be discussing the challenges and complexities related to performance improvement plans. Senior Attorney Nicole Diaz will be providing practical expertise on preparing witnesses for depositions and hearings. Managing Partner Deryn Sumner will be presenting on recent EEOC case law related to sanctions. Finally, President and Principal Gary Gilbert will be discussing advanced issues related to damages that arise during the litigation and settlement negotiations.

Additionally, Managing Partner Deryn Sumner and President Gary Gilbert will also be presenting at the FDR Training in Philadelphia, PA. This training covers a wide variety of EEO-related topics, and brings together industry and agency leaders from around the country.

At FDR, Mr. Gilbert will be speaking in the Opening Plenary, as well as in a number of panels including "Helping Managers Stay out of EEO Trouble", "Advanced Issues in Reasonable Accommodations", and "Proving and Defending Compensatory Damages Claims". Ms. Sumner will also present at all of the aforementioned panels, as well as conduct two sessions of "Advanced EEO Case Law Review.

VA Whistleblower Testifies Before Congress

Gilbert Employment Law represents Dr. Minu Aghevli in her claims of whistleblower retaliation against the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). On June 25, 2019, Dr. Aghevli, who is the Coordinator for the Opioid Agonist Treatment Program at the Baltimore VA Medical Center, testified before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation about the whistleblower retaliation which the VA subjected her to she after she reported institutional efforts to artificially reduce waitlist numbers. Her testimony, and the retaliation she has faced since making disclosures, was the subject of a recent article in USA Today found here. Just days after the publication of the USA Today Article and one day before she was scheduled to testify before the House Committee, the VA proposed Dr. Aghevli's removal. Additional press coverage about Dr. Aghevli can be found here and her hearing testimony here.