South Carolina Federal Employment Discrimination Attorney

Federal law protects everyone from discrimination, including federal employees in South Carolina. As a result, your employer may be held accountable if they have discriminated against you or failed to take action in response to a discrimination claim. If you believe you have suffered from workplace discrimination, a South Carolina federal employment discrimination attorney can provide you with the answers you need. 

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We Represent Employees of All Federal Agencies in South Carolina

From Charleston to Columbia, multiple federal agencies have offices throughout South Carolina. According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), there are more than 20,000 federal government employees statewide. We represent employees of all federal agencies in South Carolina, including (but not limited to):

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • U.S. Courts
  • U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC)
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
  • U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
  • U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
  • U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

Whether you live and work in the Lowcountry, the Midlands or Upstate, we can represent you. Whether you believe that you are a victim of harassment, discrimination, wrongful termination, whistleblower retaliation, or any other unlawful employment practice, we can use our experience representing federal employees up and down the East Coast to help protect your legal rights.

Understanding Your Rights as a Federal Employee (and How They Differ from Those of Employees in the Private Sector)

As a federal employee in South Carolina, you are protected by many of the same laws that protect private-sector employees. This includes laws such as the Rehabilitation Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, you also have rights not afforded to employees in the private sector.

For example, you have rights that protect you when you are facing disciplinary action or termination. If you are facing disciplinary action based on alleged poor performance or misconduct, you are entitled to advance notice, and you are entitled to challenge the action proactively. If you get suspended or removed from service, or if you face any other form of  discipline, you have the right to file an appeal—in most cases with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Likewise, if your federal agency is conducting a reduction in force (RIF) in South Carolina, you may have options for protecting your job. You may also be able to secure a Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VISP). Our attorneys explain your legal rights, and we can help you make informed decisions about how to move forward.

What To Do if the Federal Government has Violated Your Employment Rights in South Carolina

If you are a victim of discrimination, if you have been denied a reasonable accommodation, if you have been underpaid or denied leave, or if the federal government has violated your employment rights in any other way, what should you do? At this point, it is strongly in your best interests to speak with an attorney.

While you have clear legal rights as a federal employee in South Carolina, enforcing these rights is not easy. The federal government is a behemoth, and its wheels often turn very slowly. Additionally, many federal workers in positions of power do not have a clear understanding of federal employees’ rights. As a result, even if you try to stand up for your rights, there is a good chance that you won’t get anywhere on your own.

Our attorneys can assert your legal rights on your behalf. We can pursue appropriate remedies through the correct channels, and we can use our experience to seek a favorable outcome as efficiently as possible. Whether this means restoring your position, obtaining a reasonable accommodation or obtaining financial damages will depend on the specific circumstances involved.

Recognized in the legal community as an esteemed attorney for federal employees, Jay and his team are skilled at additional federal matters such as:

Do You Have a Discrimination Claim as a Federal Employee?

Under federal law, no federal agency can discriminate against you on the following bases: 

  • Race or ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Nation of origin

While this may seem obvious to most people, discrimination in the workplace is often subtle. For example, the following could be considered discriminatory:

  • Managers or other executive-level personnel routinely host after-work functions but do not invite women and discourage others from doing so.
  • Despite being pregnant, your supervisor insists on you performing tasks that require significant physical exertion and threatens to reprimand you if you refuse.
  • Your supervisor does not act on complaints from African-American employees concerning a co-worker’s routine use of racial slurs.

Any discriminatory action related to hiring, termination, promotions, discipline, pay, or benefits is prohibited by federal law. All of that said, identifying workplace discrimination often involves a careful examination of the facts and circumstances surrounding your daily work environment. If you have questions about whether you are a victim of discrimination, a South Carolina federal employment discrimination attorney can review your case to determine whether you have a claim. More importantly, they can help you document your claim should you decide to pursue legal action. 

A South Carolina Federal Employment Discrimination Attorney Can Hold Your Agency Accountable

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for interpreting and enforcing our federal anti-discrimination laws. However, to pursue a claim, the first step is to file an informal complaint with your agency’s EEO counselor. The EEO counselor will attempt to resolve your complaint within 30 days, perhaps longer, if you choose to participate in mediation

If you are unable to resolve your complaint through the informal process, the next step is to file a formal complaint with the EEOC. 

Once it is filed, your complaint will be assigned to an EEOC investigator. They will investigate the allegations contained in your complaint, which could include interviewing you, your agency and your co-workers. This process could take up to 180 days and often takes even longer. Once completed, the investigator will submit a detailed report to the EEOC that contains their findings, namely, whether or not they believe discrimination occurred. 

The process can be complex, and it is important to follow its requirements. While hiring a lawyer isn’t required, working with a South Carolina federal employment attorney significantly improves your chances of a successful outcome. 

EEOC Hearing Representation

Once the investigator has filed their report, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge. All parties to the claim will have the opportunity to be heard and submit evidence. You are not required to hire a federal employment lawyer, but you should expect your employer to be represented by counsel. You can improve your chances of a successful outcome by working with a South Carolina federal employment discrimination attorney who can represent you at the hearing. 

When the EEOC Complaint Process Fails Federal Employees in South Carolina 

If the EEOC rules against you, you have the right to appeal, and ultimately, request that the EEOC reconsider your complaint. Unfortunately, this means that the process will take even longer to reach a conclusion. 

Once you have exhausted your appeal rights, you can file a civil claim in federal district court. While litigation can be a daunting prospect, it is sometimes your best option for getting the results you need. However, we strongly recommend that you work with a South Carolina federal employment discrimination attorney rather than pursue a lawsuit on your own. 

What Remedies Can You Expect?

Victims of discrimination often feel like they are in a hopeless situation. Fortunately, a South Carolina federal employment discrimination attorney can help you obtain the following results:

  • Your agency may be ordered to take corrective actions, such as rescinding discriminatory policies, undergoing anti-discrimination training, or remove disciplinary actions from your file.
  • Your agency may be ordered to reassign you to a different position in the agency, assign different duties, or promote you to a position that you would have otherwise earned. 
  • You may be entitled to back pay and benefits. 
  • You may be entitled to compensation for any lost income or other losses resulting from the discrimination, including damage to your reputation or other pain and suffering. 
  • You may be entitled to reimbursement for any attorney’s fees and costs. 

What To Do if You are Facing Disciplinary Action (or Have Been Disciplined) as a Federal Employee in South Carolina

If you are facing disciplinary action as a federal employee in South Carolina, we strongly recommend that you speak with a lawyer in this scenario as well. Oftentimes, it will be possible to avoid disciplinary action with a proactive approach. Once again, we can help you understand your legal rights, and we can get to work immediately if necessary.

If you have already been disciplined, you may still have options. This is true whether you have been suspended, demoted or removed, or whether the government has reduced your pay or revoked your security clearance. From discriminatory discipline to failure to follow the requisite removal procedures, there are several potential grounds for appealing disciplinary action or removal as a federal employee.

Talk to J.W. Stafford, a South Carolina Federal Employment Discrimination Attorney

At the Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, we have deep experience helping federal employees who have suffered from discrimination in the workplace. Contact us today at 410-514-6099 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case and how we can help rebuild your career.