The City of Atlanta Struggles

The City of Atlanta allegedly ignored the advice of its own legal team when managing allegations of sexual harassment. Eleanor Attwood’s client remains employed by the city, as does her alleged harasser.

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Court of Appeals Issues Important Ruling in Favor of Employees in Overtime Lawsuits

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is the federal law that requires employers to pay overtime wages to many employees when they work more than 40 hours per week. The FLSA is a powerful tool for protecting employee rights because it allows all the employees of a company who have similar overtime claims to join their cases together in a single lawsuit. This lets the employees pool their resources and evidence together and present a stronger case. The FLSA permits employees to join an ongoing FLSA case simply by filing a written consent to join form with the Court.

Sometimes, a court will certify an overtime lawsuit as a collective action. That means the court will approve notices issued to employees who may have similar overtime claims so they can learn their rights and how to join the lawsuit. But, even if the case is not certified as a collective action, employees who believe they have similar overtime claims can join the case just by filing a simple consent to join form. Either way, employees with similar overtime claims do not have to file their own lawsuits – they can join together in a single case by completing and filing proper notification with the Court.

What does it mean for an employee to consent to join a case? Is that employee a full-fledged party to the lawsuit just like the lead employee who filed the lawsuit originally? Or does the employee who enters the case by signing a consent to join somehow have a lesser legal status?

On April 18, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal court of appeals covering Georgia, Alabama and Florida, answered the question directly for the first time. When an employee files a consent to join an ongoing overtime lawsuit, that employee becomes a full-fledged party to the case. These employees’ claims do not go into legal limbo if employers defeat an overtime lawsuit’s collective action status. Employees who joined the lawsuit can continue their cases with their claims fully intact and their rights fully protected, even if the court does not agree the case should be conditionally certified.

If you believe your employer has improperly denied you overtime wages, contact Legare Attwood & Wolfe. We would be honored to talk with you and see if we can help.

You can read the entire opinion here: http://media.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/files/201617484.pdf.

LAW Talk with B.J. Bernstein

On International Women’s Day, Cheryl Legare of Legare, Attwood & Wolfe addresses sexual harassment and answers listener questions on LawTalk with BJ, hosted by B.J. Bernstein.

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Georgia Supreme Court Issues Georgia Whistleblower Act Opinion

On March 6, 2017, the Georgia Supreme Court held that municipal employees who have claims under the Georgia Whistleblower Act do not have to provide their employer with ante litem notice prior to filing a lawsuit. The Georgia Whistleblower Act protects government employees who are retaliated against for blowing the whistle on government fraud, waste, and abuse. The Supreme Court’s decision is an important victory for municipal employees because it guarantees that they have the full time allowed by the Georgia Whistleblower Act’s statute of limitations in order to file their cases in court. Legare, Attwood & Wolfe partner Steven E. Wolfe led the Amicus Committee of the National Employment Lawyers Association’s Georgia Affiliate, which filed an amicus brief, authored by Lisa Lambert, on behalf of the employee in the West case, with A. Lee Parks of Parks, Chesin & Walbert, P.C., appearing at oral argument on the organization’s behalf. The case is West v. City of Albany, No. S16Q1881.

Super Lawyers

Attorneys Eleanor Attwood, Cheryl Legare and Steven Wolfe were nominated for and selected as 2017 Georgia’s Super Lawyers. Eleanor Attwood has been tapped as a Rising Star or Super Lawyer nine times since 2007.  She also received the distinction of Top 50 Female Lawyers status in 2017. This is Cheryl Legare’s eight year to be recognized as a Rising Star or Super Lawyer and her third consecutive year to reach Top 100 Lawyers and Top 50 Female Lawyers status. Like his colleagues, Steven Wolfe has been named as a Georgia Rising Star or Super Lawyer for many consecutive years. 2017 marks his seventh year running.

Recent Successes

Legare, Attwood & Wolfe settled a race discrimination and retaliation case on behalf of a manager for $750,000.00.

Attwood and Legare Selected as Moderators for ICLE GA Event

Cheryl Barnes Legare and Eleanor Mixon Attwood will each attend and present at sessions of the continuing education event “Litigating the Plaintiff’s Employment Law Case,” hosted by ICLE in Georgia and co-host, the Georgia Chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association.  This year’s event will be held on September 23 at the State Bar of Georgia Conference Center.  See ICLE in Georgia for more information or click here to register.

Legare, Attwood & Wolfe Legal Team Selected as Georgia Super Lawyers

Cheryl Legare, Eleanor Attwood and Steve Wolfe were each individually nominated and selected as 2016 Georgia’s Super Lawyers. Eleanor Attwood was selected as a Rising Star or Super Lawyer eight times since 2007. This marks Cheryl’s seventh consecutive year of recognition by Super Lawyers as either a Rising Star or a Super Lawyer and is her third consecutive year as a Georgia Super Lawyer, achieving both Top 100 Lawyer and Top 50 Female Lawyer status for the last two years. Like Cheryl, Steve has a streak of nominations, with 2016 marking his sixth consecutive years as a Rising Star or Super Lawyer.