Federal employees can challenge adverse actions imposed by their federal agency employers. Lipp Law Firm Attorney Sarah Mugmon, Esq., has experience assisting federal employees with challenges to adverse actions.
What Is an Adverse Action?
Adverse actions include removal, demotion, and suspension for 15 days or more, all of which carry the potential of severely impacting future career opportunities.
Federal employees are entitled to due process before an agency takes adverse actions against them based on misconduct or performance deficiencies. Throughout the adverse action process, federal employees have the right to legal counsel. An attorney with strong knowledge of federal employment laws and experience practicing before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is a crucial asset for navigating the course.
When Does A Federal Employee Need Legal Counsel For An Adverse Action Matter?
The earlier legal counsel is involved in an adverse action matter, the higher the likelihood that your adverse action challenge will succeed.
Below is a breakdown of the adverse action process to help determine whether you need legal representation:
An attorney can assess the documentation and develop your strongest response to challenge the agency’s proposal for adverse action.
The goal at this stage is to convince the deciding official to either mitigate the proposed adverse action or reject the proposal entirely, because it only gets more difficult to challenge an adverse action once it is decided.
An attorney can help you determine what, if any, appeal rights you have and advise you on your best course of action. There are also complex rules about which types of appeal options may or may not be taken in tandem with other appeal options at the outset, so an attorney can help you with navigating these rules. When an attorney helps you at this stage, they will have the most solid foundation to represent you through any subsequent phases of the appeal process.
The pre-hearing and hearing processes are similar to civil litigation, and federal employees can receive significant benefits from legal counsel in navigating this legal proceeding.
Attorneys with experience before the MSPB know how to phrase discovery requests, conduct depositions, and question hearing witnesses to increase the likelihood of uncovering documents and information helpful to your case. These attorneys also have the tools to research and draft filings that best present your case to opposing counsel and the administrative judge.
A federal employment attorney guides federal employees through the complex processes and procedures when petitioning an administrative judge’s initial decision for review.