Facing termination is a stressful and overwhelming experience for any employee. This is especially true for those who work in the federal sector, where getting fired can have severe consequences on their careers and livelihoods. In the federal government, many adverse actions, such as removal, suspensions of 15 days and longer, reduction in grade and pay, or furlough of 30 days or less, for many federal employees are within the jurisdiction of the Merit Systems Protection Board. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of having an employee rights attorney who focuses on litigation against federal employers when facing termination.
Understanding Adverse Actions
When faced with an adverse action, it is essential to understand the relevant regulations, policies, and procedures of the agency. These cases are often complex and require legal skills, expertise in navigating the federal bureaucracy, and experience working with relevant statutes and regulations. An experienced employee rights attorney can help you understand your rights in the process, assess evidence, prepare your case, and represent you in administrative and federal courts competently.
Under 5 U.S.C. § 7513(a), a federal agency can remove an employee under Chapter 75 “for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the service.” In committing misconduct, an agency must establish by preponderant evidence that the charged conduct occurred, demonstrate the nexus between the employee’s conduct and the efficiency of the service, and demonstrate that the penalty imposed was reasonable in light of the relevant factors set forth in Douglas v. Veterans Admin. (1981). Because it is the agency’s burden to prove these, an employee rights attorney can challenge the agency’s evidence by conducting investigations, cross-examining witnesses, and presenting affirmative evidence that shows the mistake of the agency.
Applying the Law
Federal employment attorneys can also specialize in the interpretation and application of rules under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Rehabilitation Act, which provides a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. Employees who face adverse actions on the basis of discriminatory actions can raise constitutional issues, such as First Amendment rights and free speech, due process, and rights to equal protection.
Having an experienced employee rights attorney who focuses on litigation against federal employers can improve the outcome of your case. Most importantly, our lawyers help prevent options that could jeopardize your rights and fight to tilt the scales of justice in your favor. As specialists in federal employment law, we can prepare employees to respond to agency allegations, document their work record, and provide necessary counsel on making statements, presenting evidence, and legal strategies to achieve the best possible result.
Termination in the federal government brings significant consequences beyond just losing your job. With so much at stake, an employee rights attorney specializing in issues arising in federal employment matters is critical. They help employees understand their rights, adequately assess evidence, apply relevant laws, and competently represent them in administrative and court proceedings. At Southworth PC, our attorneys have a track record of defending federal employees who face adverse actions. If you think we can help you, then please feel free to reach out.