Federal Adverse Action Lawyer Jay Stafford and His Team Can Help Protect Your Career and Your Reputation
While federal employees are entitled to many protections not afforded to employees in the private sector, they can still face disciplinary action and other adverse action under a broad range of circumstances. Facing disciplinary action or other adverse action (i.e., removal or suspension) can have lasting consequences for your career and reputation. Therefore, if you are under investigation or have received a notice, you need to protect yourself by all means available. This starts with hiring an experienced federal adverse action lawyer to represent you.
Attorney Jay Stafford represents federal employees nationwide in disciplinary and other adverse action matters. Whether you are facing termination, suspension, or demotion, Mr. Stafford and his team will use their experience to help assert your rights under federal law and ensure that you do not face unwarranted or unnecessary consequences. When facing disciplinary or other adverse action as a federal employee, one of the keys to protecting yourself is taking action as soon as possible, and we encourage you to contact us promptly for a confidential initial consultation.
Our Federal Adverse Action Attorney Can Assist with the Following Actions
When facing disciplinary or other adverse action, the steps you need to take depend on two main factors: (i) the specific type of adverse action you are facing and (ii) the current status of the government’s efforts to impose discipline. As a result, ensuring that you clearly understand your circumstances is crucial for asserting a strategic and effective defense. The types of adverse action you can face as a federal employee are:
A demotion can take the form of a reduction in rank, status, grade, pay, or a combination of the above. Getting demoted can set you back in your career by years, if not decades, and it can make it difficult, if not impossible, to manage your monthly expenses.
Suspension of 14 Days or Less
Relatively minor disciplinary matters can result in a suspension of 14 days or less. You are entitled to at least 24 hours prior notice, and you have the right to submit a written defense with supporting evidence before receiving a written decision.
Suspension of More than 14 Days
More significant infractions can lead to suspensions exceeding 14 days in length. As a federal employee, you are entitled to at least 30 days prior notice of a proposed suspension longer than 14 days unless you are suspected of committing a crime that is subject to imprisonment. Once you receive notice, you are entitled to review the materials upon which the government has based its decision to propose a suspension, and you have seven days to respond with a written defense and supporting evidence.
Federal employees can face indefinite suspensions under three circumstances: (i) while facing prosecution for a crime that is subject to imprisonment, (ii) while questions exist as to whether they are “fit for duty,” and (iii) while subject to a security clearance revocation that makes it impossible to do their job. If you have received notice of a proposed indefinite suspension, you should promptly discuss your situation with a federal adverse action attorney.
If you are facing termination of your federal employment (or “removal” from the public sector), fighting to protect your job starts with understanding why you are facing termination. It is important not to make any assumptions at this stage, and you will need to work closely with an experienced federal adverse action attorney to ensure that you pursue all available opportunities to continue in your career.
What Types of Issues Can Lead to Disciplinary or Other Adverse Action for Federal Employees?
Under federal law, there are a number of specific issues that can lead to disciplinary or other adverse action for government workers. These issues include:
- Absence without official leave (AWOL)
- Conduct unbecoming of a federal employee
- Failure to follow instructions
- Inadequate performance
- Lack of candor
- Loss of federal security clearance (temporary or permanent)
- Misuse of a government-owned vehicle, credit card, or other government property
- Prohibited personnel practices
- Theft, threats, sexual assault, and other crimes
What Are Your Options When Facing Disciplinary or Other Adverse Action as a Federal Employee?
When facing disciplinary or other adverse action as a federal employee, you do not have to – and should not – simply accept the government’s decision. Depending on your current circumstances, your options may include:
Defending Yourself During the Government’s Investigation – If you are currently under investigation, you are entitled to have a lawyer represent you. In many cases, it will be possible to resolve an investigation without further action being taken.
Responding to Proposed Disciplinary or Other Adverse Action – If you have received notice of a proposed demotion, suspension, or termination, you have the right to respond. You will want to work with an experienced federal adverse action lawyer to ensure that your response is as strong as possible.
Negotiating a Favorable Outcome – It is often possible to negotiate in federal disciplinary and other adverse action matters, and, depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be in your best interests to enter into an agreement that protects your employment.
Filing a Complaint or Grievance – If you believe that you have been unfairly targeted, filing a complaint or grievance may both protect your employment and ensure that you do not experience similar treatment going forward.
Filing an Appeal – Finally, if you receive a demotion, suspension, or termination, you may be able to challenge this outcome by filing an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or another federal agency.
FAQs: Facing Adverse Action as a Federal Employee
When Can a Federal Agency or Office Fire an Employee?
Federal agencies and offices can fire employees both with and without cause. But, when terminating an employee for cause (i.e., not due to a budget cut or reduction in force), federal employers must meet various specific legal requirements. If your agency or office terminates your employment without following all of the requisite procedures, you have clear legal rights that a federal adverse action lawyer can help you enforce.
Are the procedures for adverse actions based on misconduct and poor performance different?
Yes, the federal government has separate procedures for adverse action cases involving alleged misconduct and adverse action cases involving alleged poor performance. However, there are also some important similarities. For example, the employee’s agency must provide adequate written notice and an opportunity to respond before taking adverse action. Additionally, whether a federal employee faces adverse action based on misconduct or poor performance, the employee has the right to file an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board.
The differences between adverse action cases involving misconduct and poor performance range from the steps involved in the process to the defenses that are available. As a federal employee who is facing adverse action, it is important to hire a federal adverse action lawyer who understands these differences and can represent you effectively. An experienced federal adverse action lawyer will be able to help make sure you are not disciplined unjustly or unfairly; and, if you receive an unfair or unjust outcome, an experienced lawyer will be able to appeal the outcome on your behalf.
The procedures for imposing adverse action are different in cases involving alleged misconduct and poor performance. As a result, if you are facing adverse action, it is extremely important to make sure you know why. Federal adverse action attorney Jay Stafford can help you understand your situation, and he can determine the best approach to protecting your rank, status, grade, pay or federal employment.
Does the length of the suspension proposed in an adverse action case impact the procedures involved?
Yes, there is an important dividing line between adverse action cases involving suspensions for 14 days or less and those involving suspensions longer than 14 days. When a federal agency is seeking to impose a suspension of longer than 14 days, it must provide the employee with at least 30 days advance written notice (unless the employee is suspected of committing a crime that is subject to imprisonment). While federal employees are also entitled to advance written notice in cases involving proposed suspensions of 14 days or less, this warning can come as little as 24 hours before the suspension is set to begin.
For indefinite suspensions, federal employees are entitled to even greater protections. In all cases, federal employees are entitled to fully enforce their legal rights, and they can (and should) work with an experienced federal adverse action lawyer to ensure they receive a just result.
How Does the Length of a Proposed Suspension Affect Federal Employees’ Rights?
If you have been notified of a possible suspension, the length of the proposed suspension has some important implications for your legal rights as a federal employee. Most notably, it affects the amount of prior notice you are entitled to receive before the suspension takes effect. If you are facing suspension as a federal employee, you should consult with a federal adverse action lawyer promptly to make sure the government does not suspend you in violation of your legal rights.
Is a federal reduction in force (RIF) considered an adverse action?
No, a reduction in force (RIF) is not considered an adverse action. However, if your federal office or agency is conducting a RIF and you are worried about losing your job, a federal adverse action lawyer can still help you.
Similar to adverse actions, RIFs are subject to several technical and procedural requirements. Federal offices and agencies must strictly adhere to these requirements; and, if they fail to do so, employees who lose their jobs can seek appropriate remedies. A federal adverse action lawyer at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford can help you determine if you are at risk of losing your job during a RIF, seek to protect your job through all available means, and take appropriate legal action on your behalf if the government terminates your position improperly.
Will I Lose My Federal Retirement Benefits if I Get Fired?
In most cases, you will not lose your federal retirement benefits if you get fired. As a federal employee, you will only lose your retirement eligibility if you get fired for committing a crime that impairs the national security interests of the United States. This includes crimes such as disclosing classified information, aiding a foreign government, espionage, insurrection, and advocating to overthrow the U.S. government.
Speak with a Federal Adverse Action Attorney in Confidence
If you need to speak with a federal adverse action lawyer about an investigation at work or a proposed demotion, suspension, or removal, contact us today. Call 410-514-6099 or tell us how we can reach you online to schedule a confidential initial consultation at The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford as soon as possible. We serve clients nationwide, including North Carolina, South Carolina, New Jersey, Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland