Retaliation Protection for Federal Employees

“Retaliation is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in the federal sector and the most common discrimination finding in federal sector cases.” These are the words of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Retaliation is, unfortunately, a pervasive issue for employees in all walks of life, and working for the federal government is no exception.

If you believe that you were terminated, suspended, or subjected to other discipline or adverse action on a retaliatory basis, it is critical that you seek help from an experienced attorney. Federal laws strictly prohibit retaliation against employees who engage in “protected activity,” and federal employees who face retaliation have clear legal rights.

About the Federal Employment Lawyers at Melville Johnson, P.C.

At Melville Johnson, P.C., we focus exclusively on representing federal-sector employees, and for more than 24 years it has been our mission to ensure that all federal employees receive the protections of due process and a fair hearing before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). We understand the immediate and long-term consequences that can result from losing a federal job, and we know what federal employees’ jobs mean to their families’ financial stability.

Each case starts with a confidential consultation. We want to make sure you understand your options, and we want to help you make informed decisions about protecting your rights. If you have a case and you choose to pursue an MSPB appeal, our attorneys will vigorously represent you before the MSPB and, if necessary, in federal court. Whatever it takes, your future is worth it, and the agency that is to blame for your situation deserves to be held accountable.

“Melville Johnson, P.C.’s handling of my Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) case was superlative. From the day I first contacted them [through] the completion of [my] case, everything was handled promptly, efficiently and professionally. They advised me well, worked with me to develop–and keep me apprised of–strategy, and aggressively pursued [a] resolution that would be beneficial for me. I was very satisfied with . . . their handling of my case.” – C.C., Federal Employee

FAQs: Retaliatory Discipline and Adverse Action Against Federal Employees

Q: What are some examples of unlawful retaliation?

Federal agencies are prohibited from imposing discipline or adverse action based upon employee’s assertion of their legal rights. This includes the right to be free from discrimination and harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other federal anti-discrimination laws. Some common examples of “protected activities” that can support claims of retaliation include:

  • Answering questions during an investigation
  • Reporting suspicions about discrimination or harassment to a supervisor or other federal employee
  • Filing an EEO charge or MSPB appeal
  • Refusing to participate in discriminatory or harassing activity
  • Refusing to consent to sexual contact or advances
  • Requesting accommodations for a disability

Q: Can the federal government ever suspend or terminate an employee who has filed an EEO complaint or MSPB appeal?

Yes. Federal agencies can issue discipline and take adverse action against employees at any time – so long as the action is not based on an employee’s protected activity. So, for example, if you face a reduction in force (RIF) while your discrimination case is pending, as long as the RIF is lawful, you may still be at risk of losing your job.

However, in these types of scenarios, it is critical to make sure the government is not violating your rights. If the reduction in force is a pretext for a retaliatory termination, or if the RIF does not adhere to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s mandatory procedures, you may still be entitled to file an MSPB appeal.

Q: What if I lose my MSPB appeal?

Even if you lose your MSPB appeal, your case is far from over. If you are a victim of unlawful retaliation and the MSPB denies your rights, our attorneys can take your case to federal court. While most of our clients’ cases get resolved at the agency level, our attorneys have extensive experience in federal litigation and have taken federal employees’ cases as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Are You a Federal Employee Facing Retaliation? Contact Us for a Confidential Consultation

Unlawful retaliation should not end your career in the federal sector. If you believe your rights have been violated, we urge you to contact us so we can help. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced federal employment attorneys, call (888) 846-7844 nationwide or request an appointment online today.

Successfully litigated against all federal agencies for 24 years, has brought cases before most circuit courts of appeals, as well as the United States Supreme Court on behalf of federal employees he has represented.