KCNF Partner Heidi Burakiewicz Recognized as a Trailblazer
KCNF Partner Heidi Burakiewicz was recognized in the National Law Journal’s inaugural list of Washington, D.C. Trailblazers. The Trailblazers series honors “agents of change” who are “sincerely innovators and thought leaders.”
Heidi was selected for the honor in part for filing lawsuits against the federal government on behalf of females who were sexually harassed, seeking compensation for employees who had to work during the government shutdown without timely compensation, and seeking to recover hazardous duty pay for exposure to COVID-19. As the National Law Journal noted, after Heidi paved the way by “push[ing] the envelope and try[ing] things that other people haven’t tried before” her success has “inspired other lawyers to purse similar cases”.
Heidi’s pioneer spirit was apparent in the lawsuit she filed on behalf of female correctional officers who were subjected to egregious sexual harassment by inmates at a federal prison. National Law Journal noted that when Heidi initiated the sexual harassment case against the federal government, government lawyers laughed and insisted the claim had no merit. Ultimately, an administrative judge agreed that the women were subjected to unlawful harassment and the government wisely agreed to settle the case. Heidi secured a $20 million settlement and a long list of changes intended to prevent the harassment from happening again. As Heidi explained, “[i]t’s really important to me to leave the workplace better off, leave the plaintiff better off, I don’t want to just come in and sue and walk away when the case is over.”
Heidi again paved a new path when she filed a then-novel claim on behalf of more than 25,000 federal workers who were not paid during the 2013 government shutdown. Again, the government insisted there was no claim and, again, Heidi prevailed on behalf of her clients when a judge ruled in their favor on summary judgment.
Heidi and our team thrive on advocating for workers’ rights in creative ways when unexpected things happen.
These are just two examples of Heidi’s bold advocacy. Congratulations, Heidi, on the well-deserved recognition!