Jay Holland quoted on demotions in prestigious HR website

Principal Jay Holland was quoted in an August 22, 2018, article that appeared on SHRM Online, the website of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The article was titled, “Demotions Can Often Lead to Departures but Also to Fresh Starts.”

The SHRM is a leading organization that brings together human resources professionals. Based in Alexandria, Va., it is a membership organization that promotes the role of human resources as a profession and provides education, certification, and networking to its members.

Jay was quoted as pointing out that under the law, a person can be demoted even if his or her pay is not reduced. He said that in Burlington Northern v. White, a 2006 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a person can be considered to be demoted even without a reduction in pay.

Jay also cautioned employers in the article to be aware of the risks of retaliation claims following a demotion, given that equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws have anti-retaliation provisions, as do the False Claims Act, other whistle-blower statutes, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act and the National Labor Relations Act. EEO laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Jay also said that an employer should always provide good documentation of any demotion in order to reduce the risk of a claim being filed for retaliation or discrimination. Finally, he said that demotions can result in disgruntled employees, which can poison the work environment.

Jay is a well-known labor and employment, whistleblower, and civil litigation attorney and chair of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake’s Labor, Employment, and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice.

Jay Holland shares insights with New York Law Journal regarding Barnes & Noble ouster

Following the firing of Barnes & Noble chief executive Demos Parneros, companies have struggled with the best procedures to publicly announce an executive’s termination, especially those accused of sexual harassment and misconduct. Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal Jay Holland spoke to Erin Mulvaney at the New York Law Journal regarding these best practices, and how companies can minimize future bad conduct and properly handle complaints.

Barnes & Noble announced over the summer that Parneros was terminated for “violations of company’s policies.” The company only confirmed that he was not fired due to disagreements or fraud regarding financial reporting, policies or practices, which caused many to note that his termination had occurred during the national #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct. However, Parneros sued Barnes & Noble for alleged wrongful termination, defamation and breach of contract.

The news story used an interview in which Holland discussed companies clarifying personnel decisions. Holland said that historically, companies have not publicized reasons for employees or executives leaving their companies.

“Culturally, companies want HR practices to stay within the company,” Holland said. “Legally, they don’t want to be sued by former employees that they were defamed.”

Holland also said that the reason the vast majority of individuals leave their work is due to a host of reasons and has nothing to do with harassment.

“It’s not necessarily fair to the employer or employee for speculation to be out there, if it’s true or not,” Holland said.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group, and the chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He is a renowned employment and qui tam litigator known for taking on tough cases and achieving exceptional results.

Jay Holland named a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters for 2018

Only 5% of attorneys nationwide receive this dsignation each year. Jay has been named a Super Lawyer 4 years in a row. Jay recently took on a school board discrimination case that has received national media attention.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group, and the chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He is a renowned employment and qui tam litigator known for taking on tough cases and achieving exceptional results.

Jay Holland discusses workplace recording with SHRM

Seven employers across the United States are facing workplace harassment lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) included Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal Jay Holland in an Aug. 10 collective list of articles published about these lawsuits on SHRM Online. Specifically, Holland was quoted in an Aug. 8 article that discussed employees secretly recording work conversations for litigation purposes.

SHRM notes that workplace harassment claims make up approximately one-fourth of EEOC cases filed recently, and that about one-third of discrimination charged received by the EEOC include harassment allegations. With smartphones becoming a staple in the workplace, it has become easier for employees to record conversations with co-workers, supervisors, human resources and company executives as support for upcoming lawsuits.

“A recording of sexual harassment or a discriminatory comment can be very powerful evidence and damaging to the employer,” Holland told SHRM Online.

The article went on to discuss the different types of consent required for recording conversations, such as one-party and all-party consent. Each state maintains its own laws on what type of consent is required. It also discussed rules about recording conversations under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), as well as potential public-relations risks from a leaked conversation, regardless of whether its recording was permitted or not.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group, and the chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He is a renowned employment and qui tam litigator known for taking on tough cases and achieving exceptional results.

Jay Holland represents three former Howard County officials in discrimination case against school board

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in Howard County Circuit Court by three former top chiefs in the county’s public school system accuses school board members of discrimination, retaliation and harassment for political opinions, and in two cases, for sexual orientation. Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal Jay Holland represents the three officials: Tim Thornburg, former director of staff relations; Grace Chesney, former chief accountability officer; and John White, former director of communications. Holland spoke to Tim Prudente at The Baltimore Sun regarding the case.]

“We look forward to seeing this matter through and vindicating their rights and the harm that they suffered,” Holland told The Sun.

The three chiefs allege that the school board sought to drive out Foose, who resigned as superintendent in May 2017, and then targeted her chiefs with “discriminatory, hostile, harassing and abusive behavior.” Following her resignation, Thornburg resigned under extreme pressure, and both Chesney and White were laid off. The lawsuit comes in the wake of an 11-month investigation of the school board by the Howard County Office of Human Rights, led by investigator Cheryl Brower. Three reports of about 100 pages each state that there is reasonable cause to believe that the school board discriminated against Thornburg, Chesney and White.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group, and the chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He is a renowned employment and qui tam litigator known for taking on tough cases and achieving exceptional results.

Jay Holland speaks to Baltimore Sun, WBAL regarding school board discrimination

Reports obtained by both The Baltimore Sun and WBAL 11 News allege that some members of the Howard County school board discriminated against three former top-level employees, creating a hostile work environment. Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal Jay Holland is representing the three alleged victims of the discriminatory and homophobic behavior.

Holland spoke to both the Sun and WBAL regarding the reports, which followed the former Howard County schools superintendent Renee Foose’s resignation last year. The reports found that when Foose resigned, three of her top-level deputies; Elizabeth Grace Chesney, Timothy Thornburg and John White; were refused appointments, barred from meetings and sent to smaller offices.

In the reports, human rights investigator Cheryl Brower wrote that there was sufficient cause to believe that the three employees were targeted for supporting Foose and for being gay, in the cases of both Chesney and Thornburg.

“Some of it is shocking, but the conduct and behavior was shocking,” Holland told WBAL in an on-screen interview. “Two of these individuals were discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation, and all three of these individuals were discriminated against based upon their political opinion.”

While the Howard County Board of Education has argued against the allegations, the three former employees are standing behind their stories.

“These reports are merely a vindication of what they say happened to them,” Holland told WBAL. “They were singled out.”

The three employees filed complaints with the county Office of Human Rights last year, and when the investigation concluded, they withdrew their cases to explore court action.

“We will decide shortly whether to file a lawsuit,” Holland told the Sun.

To read the Baltimore Sun article, click here. To view the WBAL video, click here.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group, and the chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He is a renowned employment and qui tam litigator known for taking on tough cases and achieving exceptional results.

The Daily Record covers JGL lawyers’ high-profile victory in Maryland high court

The Daily Record has published a story detailing the success of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake attorneys Alyse Prawde and Timothy Maloney in a recent case against the Montgomery County government.  The victory sets a valuable precedent in terms of the interpretation of the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA).

Joseph, Greenwald and Laake represented Bernadette Fowler Lamson, a long-time senior counsel in the Montgomery County Attorney’s office.  Lamson filed an MPIA request that sought disclosure of supervisory notes withheld by her employer and her supervisor, Silvia Kinch. Lamson asserted that the notes might have been the basis of a negative job evaluation that she received. In general, Maryland state and county employees are entitled to see their own personnel files under the MPIA.

Maloney argued the case in the Maryland Court of Appeals and attorney Alyse Prawde drafted the briefs filed in the case.

The Court of Appeals reversed the rulings of two lower courts, holding that the notes had to be reviewed by a judge to see if they should be disclosed to Lamson. The lower court had held that the notes were not subject to the MPIA because they were “in a personal journal that was never a part of [Lamson’s] personnel file and were intended to be private.”

The Court of Appeals concluded that “the mere physical location of a record is not necessarily dispositive of its characterization.  It is equally possible that the notes contain entries that relate to {Lamson’s] employment and or the devaluation of her performance rating.  In either instance, there is uncertainty regarding the nature of the records at issue and must be resolved by closely examining the notes at issue, as well as the exceptions offered thereto.”

Timothy Maloney is a principal at JGL with decades of experience in both appellate and trial litigation

Alyse Prawde is an attorney in JGL’s Civil Litigation group. Alyse earned her J.D. cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, at which she was honored with the Elizabeth Maxwell Carroll Cestnut Prize for her excellence in scholarship and writing. Her already impressive legal portfolio includes working as the Executive Articles Editor and the Maryland Journal of International Law and as an attorney with the Immigration Clinic.

Law360 and Jay Holland honor the 80th birthday of the FLSA with a discussion of possible updates

Joseph, Greenwald & Laake principal Jay Holland was recently quoted in a Law360 article covering the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and how it affects modern labor relations. Many business leaders and attorneys who represent workers, including Holland, agree that the FLSA needs significant revision to be effective in the 21st century.

Holland began the discussion with highlighting the need to raise the federal minimum wage. While individual states and localities have raised the minimum wage above the federally mandated $7.25 since its enactment in 2009, many workers are still forced to live at or near the poverty line.  Jay said that “the federal minimum wage is falling behind the eight-ball” and argued that “a higher minimum wage…would lift all boats.”

The article continues with discussing the need to clearly differentiate the difference between an employee and a contractor as well as boosting the enforcement of employee rights. To read the full article, please click on the Law360 logo below.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group and the chair of the Labor, Employment, and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He was rated as a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters in 2018 for his exemplary work in several high-profile labor law cases. Known for forging tight bonds with his clients, Jay proudly displays a customized plaque from a former client in his office that reads: “The Best Lawyer a Client Could Ever Have.”

Jay Holland speaks to Law360 of the benefits and risks of workplace affinity groups

Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal Jay Holland shared his thoughts on the legal aspects of workplace affinity groups with Law360. Workplace affinity groups are forums for employees with similar interests that provide support and social functions. Examples of such groups include parents’ caucuses, LGBT caucuses, and caucuses for individuals with physical disabilities.

Holland noted that it is important to recognize the legal risks involved for employers who sponsor these groups. “One of the concerns,” he added, is that “like anything else it has to be done right.”

Yet, Holland said that the benefits of such groups can be wide-ranging and significant for businesses: an increased ability to attract individuals from diverse backgrounds, creating understanding between management and individuals from those backgrounds, improving retention, and creating pathways for group members to move into leadership positions.

Mr. Holland also noted that employers should be cautious to not run afoul of anti-discrimination laws such as Title VII when they discuss diversity with an affinity group’s members, particularly if the parties brainstorm proposals for hiring a more diverse workforce.

“While the affinity group can certainly take ideas and adopt programs in response to suggestions from the affinity groups, [employers] have to be careful about stepping over the Title VII line,” Holland said. “While it’s perfectly appropriate to encourage a more diverse workforce and reach out to different communities to make sure you have a diverse workforce … they can’t step over the line into saying, ‘We now have to hire 25 individuals of a particular race or a particular sexual orientation.’ Then you are indeed discriminating upon a prohibited classification under Title VII.”

To read the full article, please click on the Law360 logo below.

Jay Holland is a principal in JGL’s Civil Litigation Group and the chair of the firm’s Labor, Employment and Qui Tam Whistleblower practice. He is a renowned employment and qui tam litigator known for taking on tough cases and achieving exceptional results.

Timothy Maloney quoted in The Daily Record surrounding the Schrader, Peters case

A team from Joseph Greenwald & Laake won a major appellate victory on June 21 in the Maryland Court of Appeals and it has made the front page of The Daily Record’s website. The court ruling upholds Governor Larry Hogan’s right under Maryland law to reappoint Cabinet positions under recess appointments to former secretaries Dennis Schrader and Wendi Peters, both of whom he had previously nominated and then withdrawn. The Joseph Greenwald & Laake team represented both Schrader and Peters and was led by principal Timothy Maloney with associates Megan A. Benevento and Alyse L. Prawde.

According to Maloney, the Court’s ruling was a “complete vindication” of Schrader, Peters and Hogan. “Reducing a Cabinet official’s salary to zero is a blunt device for enforcing legislative prerogative,” Maloney said. “This is not the way to resolve separation of powers issues.”

The Maryland General Assembly, regarding the appointments as illegitimate, had added a section to the annual budget act that was specifically intended to prohibit payment of salaries to the two appointees, Wendi Peters of the Department of Planning and Dennis R. Schrader of the Department of Health.

But in a 4-3 opinion written by Judge Alan M. Wilner, the state’s highest court ruled that the appointments were legal and that the budget insertion fell outside the powers of the legislature.

The court ruled that the state Constitution permits the Governor to nominate any suitable person to a Cabinet post, except for someone whom the state Senate has previously rejected. Neither Peters nor Schrader was rejected by the Senate.

“The comptroller will issue the warrant and the treasurer will issue the checks and this chapter will close,” Maloney said.

To read the rest of the article, click on the link below.

Maloney is a preeminent trial lawyer who has obtained millions of dollars in recoveries for his clients in a wide variety of matters, including civil rights, employment discrimination, whistleblower actions and high-stakes business litigation. He is a committed advocate for the public good who has held leadership roles with many civic and charitable organizations.

Md. High Court Orders That Schrader, Peters Be Paid