Working for a federal agency is just like any other job, except when it is not. When you are a federal employee, you can be sure that you will not have to work on federal holidays; federal employees never have to be in the awkward position of bringing their children to work with them on days when the children have a day off from school but the parents still have to work. Likewise, federal employees have some of the best employer-provided health insurance benefits around. On the other hand, applying for a federal job is a marathon and not a sprint. In the private sector, conventional wisdom has it that your resume should fit on two sides of a piece of paper, but it is nothing out of the ordinary for applicants for federal jobs to submit a resume the length of a novella. Federal employees have the same rights as any other employees when it comes to protections against employment discrimination and employer retaliation, but in the federal sector, there are different regulatory bodies that handle different kinds of complaints. If you have experienced discrimination, employer retaliation, or any other kind of unfair treatment in the context of your federal job, contact the New York City federal employees lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
NYC Employment Discrimination in the Federal Sector
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and other pieces of legislation protect all workers, including federal employees, from discrimination in the workplace. Discrimination is unfair treatment on the basis of a protected characteristic of the employee. Some examples of protected characteristics include race, religion, age, gender, disability, and family status. You can seek remedies for employment discrimination if you can show that it is because of a protected characteristic that your employer took an adverse action against you. Some examples of adverse actions include refusal to hire, unfairly negative performance reviews, harassment (hostile work environment), unfair scrutiny, demotions or reassignment of duties that the employee did not request, denial of promotions and raises, and termination of employment.
The law imposes strict requirements when it comes to filing employment discrimination lawsuits. First, you must contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) no more than 45 days after the discriminatory adverse action occurred. The EEOC will conduct a preliminary investigation, and at the conclusion of its investigation, it may give you permission to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer in court. You have the right to have an employment discrimination lawyer represent you in your dealings with the EEOC, as well as in court.
Protected Activities and Employer Retaliation in New York City
Employment discrimination and employer retaliation often occur together, although they legally count as two separate actions. Employer retaliation is when an employer takes an adverse action against you for reasons that are not related to your race, gender, or any other protected characteristic but are nonetheless unfair and illegal. Specifically, employer retaliation is when the employer uses adverse actions to punish you for engaging in legally protected activities. Protected activities are actions that workers have the right to do, even though they may expose the employer to liability or financial losses. These are some examples of protected activities:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Engaging in a whistleblower action
- Reporting a workplace safety violation to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation for a disability
- Applying for an unpaid leave of absence pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The New York City employer retaliation lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP can help you with your employer retaliation case.
Merit Systems Protection Board Disputes in NYC
The EEOC deals with claims from employees in all sectors who have been the target of unfair adverse actions by their employers, regardless of who these employers are. Certain categories of federal employees also have recourse to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which adjudicates claims about unfair denial of promotions and other types of unfair adverse actions. You might be able to resolve your claim through the MSPB if your federal job fits into one of the following categories:
- United States Postal Service (USPS) jobs
- Competitive service employees – This category includes most federal employees in civil service jobs controlled by the executive branch of the federal government
- Military veterans working in civilian federal jobs – These veterans have recourse to the MSPB after they have been working in the same civilian job for more than a year
- Excepted service employees – These are federal employees in civil service positions not included as competitive service and not Senior Executive positions
Hatch Act Violations in New York City
The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from using their positions of employment in ways that give them an unfair advantage. The following are examples of Hatch Act violations:
- Soliciting political contributions
- Suppressing the political activities of others
- Attempting to influence elections
Meanwhile, federal employees have the same right as anyone else to engage in the political process and speak about matters of public interest. If you believe that you have been unfairly accused of violating the Hatch Act, contact the New York City employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
Unfair Denial of a Security Clearance in NYC
The federal jobs with the best pay require a security clearance, and sometimes becoming eligible for a promotion in a federal job requires you to obtain the next level of security clearance. You can only get this clearance after passing an extensive background check that is much more rigorous than anything that employees in other sectors must undergo. An employment lawyer can help you if your federal employer has unfairly denied you a security clearance.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Issues Affecting Federal Employees in New York City
The employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you if you are a federal employee involved in a dispute with your employer over employment contracts, discrimination, security clearances, or some other issue. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in New York, New York to set up a consultation.