Patricia Smith (pictured at the podium) is now finally confirmed as the Solicitor of Labor, the official legal counsel for the U.S. Department of Labor. On June 25, 2010, she spoke to the annual convention of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). "Labor rights are civil rights," Smith told us, making clear that she intends
I am pleased to report that last Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated a sanction against DC employee rights attorney John Karl, and held that attorneys are free to make arguments based on inferences. I submitted an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).Together we prevailed in arguing that inferences are key to employment discrimination cases, and attorneys need to be free to make arguments based on inferences, without labeling them as inferences. The Court also held that parties opposing a motion for summary judgment have no duty to present material adverse facts.
A few federal judges have been reluctant to follow a provision in the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) law that allows corporate fraud whistleblowers to have a de novo trial in federal court. One judge in Maryland ordered a SOX case back to the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) saying that the de novo provision was “absurd.” Yesterday, I filed an amicus brief with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals explaining why this is the law, and why it is not “absurd” to follow the law.