“I’ve been contacted by a PSC investigator who wants me to give him a response by a certain deadline, what do I do?” This is a question we hear from administrators, teachers, and other education professionals all over Georgia on a frequent basis.
Recently, Williams Oinonen LLC represented a teacher facing a revocation of her teaching certificate. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission recommended that the teacher’s certificate be entirely revoked. The Professional Standards Commission was represented by the Attorney General for the State of Georgia and the teacher was represented by Ms. Oinonen. The Judge’s case decision which came out today rejected the recommendation of the PSC to revoke the educator’s certificate and modified it to only give the educator a warning.
When an educator calls to ask: “I’ve been contacted by a PSC investigator who wants me to give him a response by a certain deadline, what do I do?” Ms. Oinonen always recommends educators that they absolutely should not go it alone. Years ago, PSC investigators were made up of former educators. Now, most educators are former law enforcement, former Secret Service, former GBI, or former deputy sheriffs. As a result, calling them really can be like talking to the police when you are accused of a crime, meaning anything you say can be used against you. Ms. Oinonen states: “When facing a PSC charge, educators should not contact the PSC without assistance of legal counsel. Too much is at stake for an educator. Literally what is at stake is your ability to maintain gainful employment by keeping your educator’s license/certification. Thus, it is imperative that you have an attorney who can communicate on your behalf and advise you appropriately in order to help protect your rights.”
“I am about to get fired from my job,” or “I think my boss is about to terminate me, what do I do?” are questions that Williams Oinonen LLC hears from employees all throughout the state of Georgia. When facing this dilemma, the most important thing to do is to seek legal advice before taking any action at all. Depending on the type of job you have, different legal rights may apply.
In this case, Williams Oinonen LLC had five full days worth of a fair dismissal hearing that lasted for nearly half of a year. And thanks to Georgia Association of Educators, three of the top expert witnesses concerning the lawful use of CBD oil were retained. These experts testified that Mr. Blackwood was legally using CBD oil to treat an auto immune disease. Williams Oinonen LLC filed suit for unconstitutional violations by the school district which can be read about here.
Ultimately, after a long and hard fought battle, Clayton County Local Board of Education voted unanimously not to terminate Mr. Blackwood. The AJC ran a story on his victory which can be read here. Stated Mr. Blackwood:
Williams Oinonen LLC partner Mario Williams obtained a $285,000 settlement on behalf of our client Governor Henderson in a gender discrimination case against District Attorney Paul Howard. It was featured on the Daily Report front page today which can be read here.
The plaintiff in this case, former District Attorney Governor Henderson claimed he was told “the position would only be filled by a woman because some jobs are not for certain people.”
Williams Oinonen LLC is proud to represent victim of wrongful death, serious injury, employment discrimination and civil rights claims. For more information contact 404-654-0288
Mario Williams, partner at Williams Oinonen LLC, filed a class action race discrimination case against Atlanta Police Department. The Daily Report featured a front page article which can be read here.
The temporary restraint order motion and lawsuit names the city of Atlanta and its Police Chief as defendants. Chief Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is assigned to the case.
The lawsuit challenges a promotion policy that allegedly requires the police department allegedly requires that the vacant post be filled by a candidate of the same race, the TRO motion contends.
Williams Oinonen LLC is proud to announce that each of its lawyers was honored for the 5th year in a row by Georgia Super Lawyers.
Mario Williams and Julie Oinonen were both named Super Lawyers Rising Stars in 2019. Only 5% of lawyers in Georgia receive this distinction after a rigorous selection process and third-party validation of their accomplishments, including reviews and ratings from fellow lawyers.
Williams Oinonen LLC is made up of civil trial attorneys who regularly handle serious injury, employment, education, business, and high profile civil rights cases. For more information, contact us at 404-654-0288.
The Honorable Judge Leigh Martin May came out with a wonderful Order in an Age Discrimination and Retaliation claim denying Summary Judgment in full for a Georgia teacher:
Georgia Employment and Education attorney obtained a full dismissal and no probable cause finding from the Attorney General and Georgia Professional Standards Commission involving a charge brought against a school teacher facing a suspension of her teaching certificate due to a Georgia PSC standards of ethics charge. The PSC agreed to take no disciplinary action against the educator, closed her case, and expunged the file.
Said the Georgia educator to Ms. Oinonen: “Words can not express my gratitude for you. Your dedication to my case was second to none. The fact that you could hear in my voice my frustration and concern, shows me you are not only a gifted attorney but also an ANGEL equipped to help others during their time of need. You NEVER gave up on me, you could have simply pushed me aside and not bothered going the extra mile. But you did and I am thankful. My career was in jeopardy due to me making a poor decision, however, God gave me a second chance. Thank you for the opportunity to redeem myself!! Your service and Georgia Association of Educators are a GOD send! Thank you!!!”
Georgia Employment and Education attorney recommends that an educator always first contacts an education attorney before responding to a Georgia Professional Standard Commission (PSC) charge. Having an attorney from the start can impact the level of sanction the PSC recommends. Additionally, it is essential to have legal representation in the event of an appeal and request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, a matter which is civilly prosecuted by the Attorney General of the State of Georgia.
Congratulations to Deborah Schwartz, winner of the National Employment Lawyers Association of Georgia (NELA-GA) Advocacy Award. NELA-GA Board Members Tamika Sykes and Julie Oinonen organized the Advocacy Award Dinner this year and were proud to present Deborah Schwartz with this year’s award.
NELA-GA, the Georgia affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), is a civil rights bar association composed of attorneys whose employment litigation practices advocate for employees’ rights.
Julie Oinonen and Mario Williams of Williams Oinonen LLC are proud members of NELA-GA. Stated Julie Oinonen: “We believe in this group of like-minded lawyers who care about protecting civil rights. Ms. Schwartz’ work, particularly in the area of employment discrimination, has been an inspiration to all of our members to continue fighting the good fight.”