With over 30 years' experience as a management-side labor and immigration attorney, Mary E. Pivec is recognized as a leading practitioner when it comes to defending employers in both whistleblower matters and hybrid civil and criminal cases involving complex immigration, discrimination, and wage and hour issues.
Ms. Pivec co-chairs the Williams Mullen Whistleblower Defense Practice Group, which represents clients in a broad range of whistleblower and retaliation matters, including the 22 whistleblower statutes administratively enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as civil litigation arising under the whistleblower/anti-retaliation provisions of The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, The False Claims Act, and The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Ms. Pivec has served as first chair in a broad range of administrative and civil whistleblower cases on behalf of corporate, public sector, and individual defendants/respondents involving corporate fraud; air, surface and rail transportation safety; food and consumer product safety; and energy and environmental safety issues; and in retaliation cases based on alleged protected activity under EEO, wage and hour, and immigration law. In 2012, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce included Ms. Pivec among the 8 nominees it recommended for appointment to the DOL Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee.
In whistleblower cases, emotions typically run high on both sides of the aisle. Ms. Pivec's approach to defending employers in whistleblower cases is to perform an early-case liability risk assessment and a cost-benefit analysis of early settlement versus the direct and indirect costs of defending an ongoing administrative investigation, de novo discovery and trial, and post-trial appeals. Providing the client with a whistleblower litigation decision tree tied to predictable metrics helps to dispel emotion and permit reasoned decision-making regarding the true value of the case from a defense perspective. If the decision is made to litigate, the case budget flows reasonably from the process, which assists the in-house legal team in managing costs and management expectations.
Ms. Pivec's second concentration is in the growing intersection between immigration enforcement and immigration-related labor protections. She represents employers in civil and criminal worksite enforcement cases, I-9 compliance counseling and audits, immigration-related discrimination investigations and administrative hearings claims and H-1B/LCA investigations and enforcement proceedings brought by the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.
Governmental enforcement actions can be costly to employers, not only in terms of damage to reputation, but also in terms of lost efficiency and profitability. Ms. Pivec's approach to the defense of immigration-related investigations is to seek to protect the client from government overreach while cooperating to the extent required by law; identify related labor and employment liability where it exists and advise the client on avoidance strategies; and guide the client toward achieving a workable balance between compliance and operational imperatives, with the blessing of agency enforcement personnel. Businesses benefit from this approach because it gives them a structure for immigration compliance going forward that is consistent with good labor and employment relations.
Ms. Pivec was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, where she served nine years. Today, she frequently speaks at conferences and events throughout the country on immigration worksite enforcement and employment subjects. Ms. Pivec has been recognized by The Washington Post in its selection of "Baltimore and Washington DC's Top Attorneys", was named among the Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyers," a Thomson Reuters service, in the Labor and Employment field and has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America since 1990 in the area of immigration law. Martindale Hubbell has ranked Ms. Pivec an AV attorney, its highest rating available.
After graduating magna cum laude from Towson State University, Ms. Pivec received her M.L.A. from Johns Hopkins University and earned her J.D. from University of Maryland School of Law.
CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE LAWYER.
· Bechtel v. Administrative Review Board, USDOL, ___ F.3d ___, No. 11-4918 (2nd Cir., Mar. 5, 2013) (2013 WL 791334), on review of Bechtel v. Competitive Technologies, Inc., 2005-SOX-33, Final Decision and Order (ARB Sept. 30, 2011). Ms. Pivec represented the employer/respondents in connection with the SOX whistleblower's unsuccessful attempt to overturn the September 2011 final decision and order of the U.S. Department of Labor Administrative Review Board dismissing his complaint based upon his failure to prove that SOX protected activity was a factor in the decision to terminate his employment or in any other contested adverse action. Ms. Pivec also represented the employer before the U.S. Department of Labor, and in related proceedings before the Second Circuit that vacated a district court order enforcing the Secretary's preliminary reinstatement and back wage order. See Bechtel v. Competitive Technologies, Inc., No. 05-2404 (2d Cir. May 1, 2006) (Seminal decision holding that the courts lack jurisdiction to enforce non-final remedial orders under the SOX whistleblower enforcement scheme).
· Saporito v. Publix Super Markets, Inc. 2010-CPS-1, Summary Decision and Order - Denying Complaints (ALJ Aug. 31, 2012) (First ALJ decision issued under the whistleblower provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), granting the employer/respondents' motion for summary dismissal of all claims). Ms. Pivec also represented the employer/respondents in the underlying OSHA investigation resulting in the dismissal of the CPSIA complaint. On April 30, 2013, the ARB issued an order partially sustaining the ALJ's dismissal order with respect to time-barred complaints and remanding the remaining claims to the ALJ to permit "limited" discovery by the complainant. Decision and Order of Remand (ARB Apr. 30, 2013)
· Bidwai v. Board of Education of Prince George's County, 2011-LCA-29, Final Decision and Order Dismissing Appeal (ARB Oct. 11, 2012) (Approving the ALJ Order Denying Prosecuting Party's Motion to Compel Discovery and Motion to Establish Adverse Action, and Granting Respondent's Motion for Summary Decision (ALJ Apr. 26, 2012). See also, Order Denying Complainant's "Motion to Reinstate the Complaint, Accept ARB's U Visa Supplement B Jurisdiction, and Issue a Revised Briefing Schedule, or Alternate Motion to Reinstate the Complaint, Reject ARB's U Visa Supplement B Jurisdiction with Certification, and Hold the Proceedings in Abeyance to Enable an Interlocutory Appeal in the US Courts and Motion to Recuse the ARB and the General Counsel" (ARB Oct. 17, 2012) ; Order Denying Complainant's "Motion to Weigh in En Banc on the Issue of Prosecuting Party's Interim Immigration Status as His Statutory Right with an Embedded Motion to Reconsider the ARB's Complaint Dismissal Order of October 11, 2012 and its Reconsideration of October 17, 2012" (ARB Nov. 5, 2012) ; and Order Denying the Complainant's Third Motion for Reconsideration (ARB Nov. 14, 2012) (rejecting all post -judgment motions for relief and reconsideration filed by the complainant).
Immigration-Related Labor Matters
· Tuli v. Global IT, Inc., Case No. 1:2012cv00649 (E.D. Va,). (Order granting defendant's 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss plaintiff's Civil RICO/Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) class action for failure to state a claim). Plaintiff was a former H-1B computer professional who sought to represent a nationwide class of current and former H-1B workers employed by defendant, who had allegedly been denied wages owed under the DOL Labor Condition Application (LCA) regulations. The court agreed with the defense position that plaintiff's remedies, if any, lay exclusively under the LCA administrative scheme and that administrative complaints do not give rise to a cause of action under the TVPA.
· Administrator v. Prince George's County Board of Education, 2011-LCA-26, Decision and Order Approving Settlement Agreement (ALJ Sept. 20, 2011) (Johnson) The respondent school district retained Ms. Pivec in connection with a DOL determination that the district had violated numerous provisions of the H-1B/LCA regulations resulting in assessed back wages and civil money penalties of $7.5M. The parties concluded a global settlement agreement and obtained court approval notwithstanding the objections filed by various individual and class members who intervened in proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge. See Order Granting in Part the Joint Motion of the Administrator and the Board of Education to Dismiss, and Granting Motion to Sever (ALJ Oct. 5, 2011) (Johnson). The Administrative Review Board declined all petitions for review filed by the interveners. See Notification to Parties that Case Has Not Been Accepted for Review (ARB Dec. 13, 2011).
· In 2012-2013, Ms. Pivec represented a large, Mid-Atlantic landscape and nursery business in a 15-month, multi-year H-2B and FLSA audit conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division. DOL found no H-2B violations.
American Bar Association
- Member, Labor and Employment Section (1990 to present)
- Member, Labor and Employment Section's Liaison Committee with DOJ, DOL, and the EEOC (1991 to 1995)
- First chair, Labor Section's Immigration Subcommittee (1993 to 1995)
American Immigration Lawyers Association
- Member (1983 to present)
- Member, Documentation and Verification Committee (2007 to present)
National Association of Women Lawyers
- Member (2009 to present)
Women Lawyers Association
- Member (2009 to present)
- Board of Advisors (2010 to present)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Labor & Employment Committee
Awards & Honors
"Baltimore and Washington DC's Top Attorneys", The Washington Post
Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyers," Super Lawyers magazine - Labor and Employment and Immigration (2007, 2008, 2009, 2013)
The Best Lawyers in America - Immigration Law (since 1990)
AV - Rated by Martindale Hubbell