Federal Employees

Federal Sector Employment – EEO

If you are an employee of a federal agency and believe that you have been discriminated against in your employment on any of the following grounds, you have a right to file a complaint with that agency:

  • Discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), or disability. Discrimination can take the form of an adverse action taken against you, or harassment based on any of these factors;
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that you need because of your religious beliefs or disability;
  • Retaliation because you complained about discrimination, or assisted with another employee’s discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

In order to pursue any of these claims, you must go through the internal administrative complaint process by contacting an EEO Counselor at the agency within 45 days of the discriminatory action. HKM Employment Attorneys have experience in representing federal employees in EEO matters, and can assist you at all stages of the process:

  • Internal EEO complaints at the informal pre-complaint stage;
  • Investigative phase of the formal EEO process (“Formal Complaints”);
  • Hearings before an Administrative Law Judge of the EEOC;
  • Filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

If you are interested in representation on a federal EEO matter, please contact our office as soon as possible. There are strict deadlines which can limit your ability to bring a claim, or severely limit the scope of your claim. Engaging an attorney early in the process can help to preserve your rights.

Merit Systems Protection Board

Under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, many federal employees may appeal certain personnel actions to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). The board has headquarters in Washington, DC, with regional and field offices in major cities.

Federal employees who have MSPB rights include veteran’s preference-eligible employees with at least one year of continuous employment in the same or similar positions outside the competitive service, certain Postal Service employees, and certain competitive service and excepted service employees.

If you have MSPB rights and your agency takes an appealable action against you, it must provide you with a notice of your rights, including how to appeal, and the deadlines for doing so. If you are facing an adverse action and believe you have access to the MSPB but have not been given proper notice, please contact our office right away.

Only certain types of personnel actions may be appealed to the Board, the most common being “adverse actions” such as:

  • Removal from service;
  • Suspensions of more than 14 days;
  • Reductions in grade or pay;
  • Furloughs of 30 days or less.

There are many other types of actions that may be appealed to the Board, including performance-based removals or reductions in grade, denials of within-grade salary increases, reduction-in-force actions, certain OPM actions including determinations in retirement matters, and other statutes that provide for appeals to the Board. Additionally, the Board can hear complaints of discrimination, if it is a personnel action that can otherwise be appealed.

If you have questions about a potential MSPB appeal, please contact our office as soon as possible. HKM Employment Attorneys are experienced in representing employees in MSPB matters. The MSPB process has very strict deadlines, and engaging an attorney early in the process can help to preserve your rights.