Good Georgia Employment Lawyer secured a third victory for Cindy Williams in an ALJ trial prosecuted by the Attorney General. The ALJ’s (Administrative Law Judge’s) decision is below which reversed the Professional Standards Commission, also known as the Georgia PSC, which had sought to suspend the educator’s certificate for two years.
Cindy Williams had previously won her appeal before the State Board of Education reversing the Local Board of Education’s decision to terminate her. The Grady County School Board also ended up paying her $50,000 to settle all her claims. Preposterously and in spite of these two victories, the Georgia PSC still erroneously sought to suspend her teaching certificate.
Fortunately, Cindy Williams was a member of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). Oftentimes educators contact our law firm in tears because they joined the wrong teaching professional association instead of GAE and soon learned that their legal fees would not be fully covered. Other times, teachers will often ask: “Should I join GAE or PAGE?” Whereas PAGE has legal caps and limitations in terms of how much legal funding they will cover for a member’s case, GAE does not as it is the only teaching association in the state of Georgia that is the regional affiliate of the National Educator’s Association (the NEA) the largest labor union and teacher’s union in the country. As a result, GAE has the resources and weight as a powerhouse to aggressively fight on behalf of educators throughout Georgia.
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.”
Georgia Education Lawyer Julie Oinonen won an appeal before the State Board of Education on behalf of Mrs. Cindy Williams, a Georgia Association of Educators’ member and one of the sole African American guidance counselors in Grady County School System in southwest Georgia who was wrongfully terminated.
Fortunately,the Grady County Board of Education agreed to award a $50,000 settlement as detailed in the front page of the Thompson Times newspaper. Along with the settlement, the Georgia State Board of Education granted Williams’ appeal, reversing the Grady board’s vote to terminate her employment.
Mrs. Williams’ attorney, Julie Oinonen of Williams Oinonen LLC in Atlanta, said of the settlement:
Georgia Education Lawyer won back the $750 of liquidated damages taken out of 150 DeKalb County School teachers’ contracts. The suit, brought on behalf of two plaintiffs for the loss of $1500.00, ended up having a settlement of $160,000 to pay each of the 150 teachers back their unpaid wages, paid $50,000 in attorney fees, and placed a moratorium of the liquidated damages provision in teacher contracts for the 2017-2018 school year.
The two courageous plaintiffs, Chayka Bettis and Leslie Hein, were members of the Georgia Association of Educators. Williams Oinonen LLC partner Julie Oinonen stated that “we filed the lawsuit hoping to establish a state-wide precedent for all Georgia educators. We hope that DeKalb will uphold the moratorium and other school districts will follow their lead.”
Georgia Education Lawyer obtained a “no probable cause” finding for Ms. Stephanie Fleet effectively dismissing the charges that were brought against her by the Attorney General on behalf of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the state agency that regulates teacher contracts.
Ms. Fleet was exonerated from the charges brought against her where she was accused of improperly restraining a student by using a chokehold. In fact, Ms. Fleet was restraining a violent student who had tried to swung at her and other students repeatedly. In order to protect herself and other students, Ms. Fleet performed a lawful restraint on the student but did not at anytime touch his neck.
Mrs. Fleet, a Georgia Association of Educators’ member, was gratified for the help both GAE and her attorney provided stating: “I am very grateful that I had GAE’s team on my side. My UniServ Directors went to bat for me and their network attorney represented me with real passion.”
Good Education Lawyer Julie Oinonen recently won a hard fought Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) case on behalf of a Georgia educator who was wrongfully accused of violating the standards of ethics and risked having her teaching certification suspended. The Georgia PSC wished to suspend the educator’s teaching license certification. The case was tried before an Administrative Law Judge in the Bartow County Courthouse. The Attorney General of the State of Georgia prosecuted the case on behalf of the PSC. The Judge’s case decision successfully vindicated the educator rejecting the PSC’s recommendation and reversing the decision to suspend the Assistant Principal’s teaching certification. The educator was very happy with the representation Williams Oinonen LLC provided. She gave us permission to share her testimonial writing:
“Dear Julie, I wanted to thank you wholeheartedly for the work that you did on my case. Your knowledge and expertise were invaluable in proving to the PSC that I had, in fact, followed proper procedures and that I was not in violation of the law. After more than 18 months of uncertainty and worry, I can finally rest assured that I may move forward in my career. May God’s blessings surround you in all that you do! With gratitude.”
Williams Oinonen LLC is proud to be an attorney affiliate of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE). Teachers and administrators who are not members are free to hire us privately but Good Georgia Education Attorney recommends that every teacher in Georgia sign up for the workplace protection GAE offers which will pay for for full legal coverage in the event of a PSC charge.