JOANNA FRIEDMAN

PARTNER

Ms. Friedman is a partner with The Federal Practice Group, focusing on federal employment and labor law from the pre-litigation phase through all stages of litigation and before administrative bodies such as the EEOC, OIG, OSC and MSPB and courts. She is an experienced senior attorney with over ten years of federal employment law litigation experience representing employees and high level management officials. Joanna’s expertise includes EEO discrimination, reasonable accommodation requests, retaliation for whistleblower disclosures, prohibited personnel practices, misconduct (disciplinary and adverse action) and performance defense, security clearance, wage and hour issues, disability retirement and Inspector General Investigations. She regularly represents intelligence agency employees and managers as well as law enforcement officers in discrimination, whistleblower and disciplinary cases. Joanna has had great success in settling case matters through her aggressive litigation approach. She has represented employees in hundreds of negotiated settlements and has prepared motions that led to findings of liability for discrimination and whole relief as well as reversal of EEOC Administrative Judge’s decisions. Ms. Friedman is an experienced trainer of EEO, ADR/mediation, performance and conduct instruction for participants of federal training programs.

Before joining The Federal Practice Group, Joanna was a partner in another employment law firm where she co-chaired their EEOC Practice Group. Prior to this affiliation she represented federal employees at a Washington, D.C.-based employment law firm. In addition to her significant federal employment litigation experience, she also has substantial courtroom experience representing individuals charged with criminal law offenses while working with a private criminal law defense firm, as well as a private bar attorney for the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office.

Joanna earned her juris doctorate at St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, New York. During her time in law school, she was an active member of the Public Interest Committee, an intern at the Legal Aid Society Juvenile Rights Division in Queens, as well as a participant in the New York City Courtroom Advocates Program, representing women seeking orders of protection. Additionally, Joanna received a master’s degree in law from American University Washington School of Law in the Program on Law and Government. There, she concentrated her study on advanced constitutional and civil rights law. Joanna also holds a bachelor’s of arts degree from American University, where she majored in Law and Society at the School of Public Affairs.

 

NOTABLE WINS

 

Complainant v. Dep’t of Homeland Security, Appeal No. 0720150002: This complaint involved allegations of sex and retaliation discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment that eventually led to the Complainant no longer being able to work due to impact of the work environment on her health. The Administrative Judge issued sanctions against the agency through a default judgment in EEOC No. 410-2012-00197X for the agency’s obstruction of the discovery process, and its failure to timely complete an expedited investigation of an amendment to the complaint. Upon the agency’s appeal of the damages award, the Office of Federal Operations sustained the hearing judge’s decision to award Complainant six-figures in non-pecuniary compensatory damages, six-figures in pecuniary compensatory damages and six-figures in attorney fees. This award of compensatory damages is one of the biggest awards ever by an EEOC administrative judge.

Complainant v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC No. 520-2012-00400X: This complaint involved allegations of race, sex, disability and reprisal discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment. The Administrative Judge issued sanctions against the agency to include an adverse inference on all of Complainant’s discovery requests, and ultimately a default judgment against the agency for its failure to provide timely and sufficient discovery responses.The Order awarding damages included: implementation of reasonable accommodations; reassignment; cleaning of personnel files; amended performance evaluations; restoration of leave hours; payment of six-figures in non-pecuniary compensatory damages; payment in pecuniary compensatory damages; and reimbursement of five-figures in attorney fees.

Complainant v. Central Intelligence Agency, Appeal No. 0120130510: This complaint involved allegations of sexual harassment creating a hostile work environment and reprisal discrimination resulting in the termination of the Complainant. The Office of Federal Operations reversed the Administrative Judge’s decision granting summary judgment finding that the allegations of harassment did rise to level of actionable harassment and there were material facts in dispute about whether certain responsible management officials knew of Complainant’s protected EEO activity and its connection to his termination.

Ms. Friedman achieved a favorable result for an employee facing a Notice of Proposed Removal for allegedly directing employees to enter inaccurate information about patients wait times to see physicians. Upon review of Ms. Friedman’s written reply and oral presentation, the Deciding Official mitigated the penalty to a 60 day suspension and demotion.

Ms. Friedman achieved a favorable result for an employee facing a Notice of Proposed 3-day Suspension for Unprofessional Conduct. After presenting facts and argument about the alleged incident, and a Douglas factor analysis on the unreasonableness of the penalty, the Deciding Official rescinded the suspension in its entirety.

Ms. Friedman achieved a favorable result for an employee involving allegations of sex and reprisal discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment. The settlement agreement included payment of five-figures for compensatory damages, and payment of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved a favorable result for an employee involving allegations of disability discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment. The settlement agreement included implementation of 100% telework as a reasonable accommodations, and payment of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee with allegations of USERRA violations upon his return from deployment and race and age discrimination. The settlement agreement included a reassignment, payment of compensatory damages and reimbursement of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for a federal contractor with allegations of race and reprisal discrimination. The settlement agreement included a payment of six-figures for compensatory damages and reimbursement of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee involving allegations of race, national origin and reprisal discrimination and harassment. The settlement agreement included a payment of five-figures for compensatory damages and reimbursement of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee facing a Notice of Proposed Removal for Inappropriate Conduct involving consumption of alcohol during work hours through a last chance agreement that allowed him to maintain his employment if he had no further misconduct charges for two years, and with complete expungement of all prior discipline and the removal.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee with allegations of national origin and age discrimination in a non-selection. The settlement agreement included a retroactive promotion and reimbursement of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee involving allegations of disability and reprisal discrimination and harassment creating a hostile work environment through the reversal of an indefinite suspension, cleaning of the employee’s personnel file, and payment of five-figuresfor compensatory damages and attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee involving allegations of sexual harassment creating a hostile work environment. The settlement agreement included a payment of five-figures for compensatory damages and attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee involving allegations of sexual harassment creating a hostile work environment for management’s failure to take appropriate corrective action. The settlement agreement included restoration of leave hours, a prohibition of certain management officials acting as the employee’s rating and reviewing official, and a payment of five-figures for compensatory damages and attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee involving allegations of disability discrimination for failure to accommodate. The settlement agreement included a permanent reassignment to a position with 100% telework as a reasonable accommodation and reimbursement of attorney fees.

Ms. Friedman achieved favorable results for an employee facing a Notice of Proposed Removal for Unprofessional Conduct with the Deciding Official mitigating the penalty to a 14-day Suspension.