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How Federal Employment Lawyers Protect Federal Employees’ Futures

— June 3, 2021

No one should have to work through debilitating illnesses or injuries because they are unsure of their eligibility to receive OPM disability retirement.

As a federal employee, your employment entitles you to certain protections. Regardless of which federal agency you work for, if experiencing discrimination, harassment, unfair treatment, disputes regarding benefits, and other issues, a federal employment attorney works to preserve your rights. Federal employment lawyers protect federal employees’ futures through knowledge of federal laws and federal agency operations. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

As a federal employee, you are entitled to protection from discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) possesses a duty to enforce federal laws protecting federal employees from discrimination at work. As a federal employee, you are protected from discrimination based on the following: 

  • Sex,
  • Orientation,
  • Religion, 
  • Race,
  • Color, 
  • National origin, 
  • Retaliation against complaints of discrimination, 
  • Pregnancy, 
  • Disability, 
  • Age, 
  • Genetic information.

If you believe a federal agency discriminated against you for one of the reasons above, you may file a complaint with that agency. You must file your charge within 180 calendar days from the date of discrimination. This deadline may be extended to 300 days only if a state or local agency enforces a law prohibiting employment discrimination for the same reason. 

Filing with the EEOC represents a complicated and time-consuming process, often taking up to a year to receive the results of your claim. However, this should not deter you from filing a claim if you experienced discrimination at work. 

Merit Systems Protection Board 

The Merit Systems Protection Board or MSPB is a federal agency protecting the federal merit systems and the rights of individuals within those systems. The MSPB operated as an appeals board allowing federal employees to challenge unfavorable decisions made by their employing agency. The federal merit system for federal employees ensures fair and open recruitment, competition, and employment practices free from political influence or other factors unrelated to merit. The MSPB typically provides hearings in matters including: 

  • Suspensions, 
  • Disciplinary actions, 
  • Terminations, 
  • Demotions, 
  • Whistleblower retaliations, 
  • Pay reductions.

MRPB appeals move quickly and often reach a resolution within 120 to 160 days. However, to file an appeal, you must do so within 30 calendar days after you receive notice of the decision with which you disagree. Federal employment lawyers focused on MSPB issues protect federal employees from federal employers using arbitrary or politically motivated conduct against them. 

Disability Retirement

Image of a Stethoscope and medical charts
Stethoscope and medical charts; image courtesy of
DarkoStojanovic via Pixabay,

Some federal employees suffer from a disability rendering them unable to work their current job. A federal employer lawyer assists these employees in determining their retirement eligibility under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) operated federal disability retirement and provides federal employees the following benefits: 

  • Monthly payments, 
  • Ongoing insurance contributions from the government, 
  • Eligibility to take a new job and earn up to 80% of your prior salary for the new position. 

Federal employment lawyers assist federal employees in determining their eligibility to receive OPM disability retirement. Certain factors determine your eligibility including: 

  • A federal employee, 
  • 18 months of service, 
  • Inability to perform a full-time job or accommodated position. 

No one should have to work through debilitating illnesses or injuries because they are unsure of their eligibility to receive OPM disability retirement. The OPM determines a federal employee’s eligibility for disability retirement. The process is complex and may take up to one year for the OPM to review all documents submitted related to your claim. Therefore, retaining a federal employment lawyer may increase your chances of receiving approval of your claim. 

Federal Labor Relations Authority

One right afforded to federal employees includes the right to form and join unions for collective bargaining purposes. Disputes related to unions for federal employees fall under the handling of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The FLRA handles a majority of cases involving various areas related to unions including: 

  • Unfair Labor Practices. The FLRA assists in determining the occurrence of a violation of an employee’s right to participate in a union and bargain collectively.
  • Representation. The FLRA may assist in determining whether certain employees wish to be represented by a union or are eligible for union representation. 
  • Arbitration. Procedures for negotiating grievances through arbitration must exist in collective bargaining agreements between unions and federal agencies. Therefore, awards by an arbitrator may be appealed through the FLRA. 
  • Negotiation. The FLRA may settle disputes between federal agencies and unions related to contracts. 
  • Other Assistance. The FLRA may also provide unions or federal agencies assistance on other matters unrelated to unions. 

Work with a federal employment attorney possessing an understanding of federal laws and the Federal Labor Relations Authority as they relate to unions. 

How a Federal Employment Lawyer Can Help 

This guide provides an overview of how federal employment lawyers protect federal employees. While not a complete list, a federal employment lawyer provides assistance to federal employees on a number of employment-related issues. If you believe you have a claim against a federal agency through your employment, contact a federal employment attorney to help you with your claim or appeal. 

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