MWELA Amicus Brief to aid in the resolution of an important statutory issue arising from the March 2010 amendments to the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998.
Prior to 2010, District employees had to submit a notice of claim to the government, pursuant to D.C. Code Ann. § 12-309 (2001 ed.), in order to seek unliquidated damages.
The D.C. Council recognized that this requirement needlessly deterred District employees from reporting government misconduct, thereby thwarting the statutory purposes of protecting District employees from retaliation for having made protected disclosures, and of protecting the public interest in preventing government waste and abuse. Hence, the D.C. Council enacted four procedural amendments to the D.C. Whistleblower Protection Act, including a repeal of the Section 12-309 notice of claim requirement.
Subsequently, four U.S. District Court judges, and two D.C. Superior Court judges, all held that since this was a procedural change in the law, under D.C. and Supreme Court precedent it was to be applied retroactively to claims that were pending as of the effective date of the amendment.
The disposition of this issue in this Court will have an important effect on the ability of District employees to enforce their statutory rights to be free of retaliation, and on the public interest in disclosures of government misconduct, so that the government and the public can take appropriate steps to address that misconduct in order to conserve taxpayer funds.
For these important reasons, MWELA respectfully submits this amicus brief.
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Welcome to the Web site of MWELA — the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. We are about 300 lawyers who represent people in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.
As advocates for employee rights and civil rights, we work to protect the rights and privileges of employees in both the private and public sectors of the Washington metropolitan area workforce. We are dedicated to promoting workplace fairness and the right of employees to work in an environment free of discrimination. MWELA provides assistance, support and resources to members throughout the metropolitan area to attain the highest ideals of practice and encourage the sharing of expertise and skills to best serve our clients.
On our vibrant and active listserve, MWELA members share strategies, tips, and responses to queries regarding both routine and novel employment law issues. The listserve is also available as an on-line searchable database, a powerful research tool.
MWELA holds monthly Brown Bag gatherings featuring presentations on trial strategies and techniques, emerging employment law issues, use of new courtroom technologies, successful litigation efforts, and other matters critical to a successful employment law practice.
Our Moot Court Committee regularly prepares our members for oral argument before appellate courts. MWELA's Amicus Committee produces thoughtful and excellent briefs on important policy matters before the courts of appeals, lending a powerful persuasive voice for the plaintiff and for employees generally. MWELA produces a monthly Newsletter covering member news, victories, and key decisions.
At our all-day Annual Conference, MWELA presents local and federal judges, colleagues, and outside experts on topics concerning all aspects of the plaintiff's employment practice. We also present our annual Lawyer of the Year award.
MWELA maintains an on-line Brief Bank, with ready arguments, briefs, and pleadings. MWELA works toward changes in public policy through the lobbying efforts of our members, to strengthen anti-discrimination and related workplace laws.
MWELA Case Advisory service offers two programs to both MWELA members and non-members. One is a Three-member Clinic Panel, which reviews a lawyer’s case either before it is filed or after it is pending and possibly encountering difficulties. The other is a Single Advisor Legal Consultation where an experienced MWELA attorney provides advice and tips on a particular topic to a less experienced lawyer. Topics may include areas of substantive law and procedure, litigation and trial practice, appeals, settlement agreements, and particular Court and administrative forums with which a lawyer may be unfamiliar.
MWELA is the local affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA and its 68 state and local affiliates have more than 3,000 members. We strongly encourage our members to join NELA. For more information, please contact Ms. Colleen Goodin, Membership Director, NELA, (415) 296-7629 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to www.nela.org for an application. MWELA members receive a discount on NELA dues.
MWELA members can access our brief bank, listserve and newsletter archives, board meeting information, and other resources. If you are a lawyer and devote a majority of your employment practice to representing plaintiffs, join us.