Betty S. W. Graumlich
BA, University of Virginia
JD, University of Virginia School of Law
Best known for:
Employment litigation and counseling, including disability discrimination and whistleblower issues.
Signature case or representation:
Reilly v. GlaxoSmithKline (Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2019) is among my recent signature cases. In this matter, we defeated the claims of former GlaxoSmithKline employee Thomas Reilly that he was harassed and ultimately fired after alerting his supervisors to problems involving the company’s IT systems—specifically, the “instability and noncompliance of the production computer system that supported drug manufacturing” at Glaxo’s plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico. Reilly sought relief under the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The court granted our motion for summary judgment, and the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in 2020.
Other important cases:
Three other important recent cases for which I was lead counsel include two whistleblower actions in the Middle District of Florida and the dismissal of a wage and hour collective action in the Middle District of Louisiana.
The two FCA whistleblower actions were Darius Clarke, M.D. v. Encompass Health Corp. and Emese Simon, M.D. v. Encompass Health Corp. We obtained a summary judgment for our client, Encompass Health Corp., in both matters.
In the wage and hour matter – Blakes v. DynCorp Int’l, the court dismissed the case on personal jurisdiction grounds in 2017; the dismissal was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the following year.
Working with clients:
My approach to advising clients is practical: First I find out their goals, identify what challenges stand in the way of achieving their goals, and then help them solve the problem in a very pragmatic way.
Best career advice:
I was once told, “If someone asks you if you can do something, say, ‘YES,’ And then figure it out.’”
What developments in employment law do you expect to see in 2021?
I expect that 2021 will be a chaotic, disruptive period as employers make efforts to achieve some sense of normalcy in the post-pandemic world. I think we will see more regulatory requirements placed on employers, higher wages, larger damage demands from plaintiffs in employment litigation, an increase in whistleblower claims, and more employment cases overall.
I think the trend will be for workers to continue working remotely, even after the COVID pandemic is contained, likely raising new questions in employment law; and I believe companies will adopt policies to increase flexibility for employees.