Developments

D.C. Circuit Revives Black Professor’s Claim of Racially Motivated Tenure Denial and Discharge

June 14, 2019

The firm is pleased to announce that on June 14, 2019 the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reinstated the claims of Kemit Mawakana, finding considerable evidence upon which a jury could find that he had been denied tenure at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) School of Law, and fired, because of his race.  The Court noted evidence of a pattern of disparate treatment (favoring white professors, and disadvantaging black professors seeking tenure), as well as evidence tending to discredit UDC officials’ explanations for denying Mr. Mawakana tenure.  The case broke significant new legal ground by rejecting a doctrine of affording strong “academic deference” to university employers accused of discrimination, which had been readily accepted by other federal courts.  The Court of Appeals noted, “Although the First Amendment grants a university certain freedoms, the freedom to discriminate is not among them.”  The Court ordered that the case be remanded to the district court for trial. Rick Salzman argued the case before the D.C. Circuit.

Firm wins favorable ruling in retaliation case

April 4, 2019

On April 4, 2019, Judge Christopher R. Cooper ruled in favor of the firm's client, Carolina Young, and denied an attempt by her former employer, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to dismiss her Title VII complaint of retaliation.  Ms. Young sought to amend her complaint to clarify her claims against WMATA, which opposed the amendment and claimed that the amended complaint would not survive an attempt to dismiss the case.  However, Judge Cooper held that Ms. Young's amended complaint contained sufficient facts to allege retaliation.  The Court denied the defendant's motion to dismiss, and permitted the filing of Ms. Young's amended complaint, so Ms. Young's case against WMATA will proceed.

Ms. Young is represented by Richard Salzman and Sharon Rogart.

U.S. News & World Report once again honors Heller Huron as a top D.C. firm

November 1, 2018

The firm is proud to announce that U.S. News & World Report once again recognized Heller, Huron, Chertkof & Salzman as a "Tier 1" law firm in the areas of civil rights and employment law for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Heller, Huron, Chertkof & Salzman has been named to the U.S. News & World Report list each time it has been published, beginning in 2011, and the firm is proud to once again receive this honor. This is the ninth straight year that U.S. News & World Report has put out its rankings of the best U.S. law firms, which are gathered by a nomination and peer review process. You may find the firm's detailed rankings here: https://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/profile/heller-huron-chertkof-salzman-pllc/overview/35800

The overall 2019 rankings are found here: http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/

Client reaches settlement with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

October 18, 2018

In October 2018, a firm client resolved her claims against the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  The client, a Seventh Day Adventist, applied to work at the VA, interviewed, and was offered the position.  During the hiring process, she disclosed her religious affiliation and requested a work schedule that would permit her to worship the Sabbath, which for Seventh Day Adventists runs from Friday evening to Saturday evening.  After initially agreeing to accommodate her, the VA ultimately offered the client a work schedule that required work on Saturday.  When the client pushed back, her job offer fell through.  Julia Quinn and Richard Salzman represented the client in proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which lead to the resolution of her claims. 

EEOC finds client was victim of discrimination and retaliation when FDA denied her a promotion

September 13, 2018

On September 13, 2018, following a three-day hearing, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a ruling finding that our client was the victim of race discrimination and retaliation when she was denied promotion to a GS-13 position because she is Chinese, and in reprisal for her previous complaints of discrimination.  The Commission also ruled that our client would have advanced to the GS-14 grade by the time of the hearing, and awarded her promotion to that level.  In addition to the two promotions, the Judge also ordered the agency to pay all back pay, with appropriate step increases, restore more than two hundred hours of sick leave that our client used, pay compensatory damages of $35,000, and reimburse our client for all of the attorneys’ fees and expenses she incurred while prosecuting her claims.  Richard Salzman represented our client over her now eight-year battle with the FDA.