Federal Employment Law for Federal Employees.

Our Clients: Federal Employees

The attorneys at Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, have many years of experience representing individuals in all types of federal sector employment cases. While many of our clients come referred by the unions and federal employee associations that we represent, Minahan Muther Klinger also accepts a large number of federal employee cases for representation on an individual basis.

Areas Of Practice:

Disciplinary/Adverse Action Appeals: Misconduct and Performance Based

"A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer."

- Robert Frost, Poet

Federal employees facing discipline for misconduct have several appellate options available to them. Assuming they are covered by a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), employees may pursue the negotiated grievance procedure and, with the consent of the Union, seek adjudication from an independent arbitrator. Employees not covered by a CBA can appeal adverse actions (suspensions of more than fourteen days; demotion; and removal) to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Similarly, employees who are facing demotion or removal due to allegations of poor job performance have the right to challenge such actions before the MSPB or a federal arbitrator. In addition, federal law guarantees employees certain rights to notice of their performance deficiencies and to be afforded an opportunity to improve prior to being removed or demoted.

The attorneys at Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, specialize in representing federal employees at all stages of the disciplinary process - from formulating responses to the Agency's initial proposal letters, to litigation before the MSPB or a federal arbitrator. The firm also specializes in appeals to the MSPB, the FLRA, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

EEOC: Discrimination on Account of Your Protected Class

There are a number of federal laws that make it illegal for federal Agencies to discriminate against their employees.

Similarly, employees who are facing demotion or removal due to allegations of poor job performance have the right to challenge such actions before the MSPB or a federal arbitrator. In addition, federal law guarantees employees certain rights to notice of their performance deficiencies and to be afforded an opportunity to improve prior to being removed or demoted.

The attorneys at Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, specialize in representing federal employees at all stages of the disciplinary process - from formulating responses to the Agency's initial proposal letters, to litigation before the MSPB or a federal arbitrator. The firm also specializes in appeals to the MSPB, the FLRA, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

These include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII): Making it illegal to discriminate against someone on the bases of race, color, religion, national origin, or gender. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law likewise requires employers to reasonably accommodate applicants' and employees' sincerely held religious practices, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
  • The Pregnancy Discrimination Act: This law amended Title VII to make it illegal to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA): This law makes it illegal to pay different wages to men and women if they perform equal work in the same workplace. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA): This law protects people who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination based upon their age. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that employers reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.
  • Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973: These laws make it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability in the federal government. These laws also make it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. The law also requires that federal Agencies reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.

    NOTE: The ADA Amendments Act was signed into law on Sept. 25, 2008, and became effective on Jan. 1, 2009. Through these amendments, Congress rejected a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that it viewed as improperly narrowing ADA coverage in a manner that excluded individuals who were meant to fall within the protections of the act. The amendments will have a significant impact on how "individual with a disability" is defined, including requiring a broader interpretation of the term "disability" to include a larger segment of individuals with disabilities as well as individuals who have ameliorated the effects of physical and mental impairments through mitigating measures such medication and assistive devices.
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA): This law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information. Genetic information includes information about an individual's genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual's family members, as well as information about any disease, disorder or condition of an individual's family members (i.e. an individual's family medical history). The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Types of Claims:

Workplace discrimination can occur in a number of different ways, including:

  • Unfair or disparate treatment (including discipline, promotions, hiring, or other conditions of employment) because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, or age (age 40 or older).
  • Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in your workplace, because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, or age (age 40 or older).
  • Denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation that you need because of your religious beliefs or disability.
  • Retaliation because you complained about job discrimination, or assisted with a job discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, has extensive experience in representing federal employees before agencies, the EEOC, and federal district court. Contact us by-e-mail (add link) or at (303)986-0054 to speak to an attorney if you feel that you have been the subject of discrimination and would like to pursue your legal options.

Whistleblower Protection Act/Retaliation for Protected Disclosures

"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men."

- Abraham Lincoln, attorney and 16th President of the United States

Federal employees who stand up for what is right and disclose governmental fraud, waste, and abuse can receive substantial protections under federal law. Pursuant to the Whistleblowers Protection Act, codified at 5 USC ยง 2303(b)(8), federal employees who feel that they have been retaliated against for protected disclosures they have made may file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

Employees with the courage to make protected disclosures deserve to have their rights zealously and expertly protected. The attorneys at Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, can advise employees on the complex requirements of the WPA and represent their interests at the investigative stage with the OSC as well as in litigation before the MSPB.

Family Medical Leave Act

Federal Agencies must grant eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

  • for the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee;
  • for placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care;
  • to care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition; or
  • to take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

An Agency's decision to wrongfully deny an employee FMLA can be challenged in a number of administrative and judicial forums. The attorneys at Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, can represent employees in all litigation venues involving FMLA matters.

Members of the Military (past and present)

Past and present members of the United States military have statutory rights and protections relating to their federal civilian employment. Specifically, members of the military.

Veterans Employment Opportunity Act of 1998, as amended (VEOA) is a competitive service appointing authority that can only be used when filling permanent, competitive service positions. It can not be used to fill excepted service positions. It allows veterans to apply to announcements that are only open to so called "status" candidates, which means "current competitive service employees."

To be eligible for a VEOA appointment, your latest discharge must be issued under honorable conditions (this means an honorable or general discharge), AND you must be either:

  • a preference eligible (defined in title 5 U.S.C. 2108(3)), OR
  • a veteran who substantially completed 3 or more years of active service.

When agencies recruit from outside their own workforce under merit promotion (internal) procedures, announcements must state VEOA is applicable. As a VEOA eligible you are not subject to geographic area of consideration limitations. When applying under VEOA, you must rate and rank among the best qualified when compared to current employee applicants in order to be considered for appointment. Your veterans' preference does not apply to internal agency actions such as promotions, transfers, reassignments and reinstatements.

30% or More Disabled Veteran allows any veteran with a 30% or more service-connected disability to be non-competitively appointed.

    You are eligible if you:
  • retired from active military service with a service-connected disability rating of 30% or more; OR
  • you have a rating by the Department of Veterans Affairs showing a compensable service-connected disability of 30% or more.

This authority can be used to make permanent, temporary (not to exceed 1 year) or term (more than 1 year, but not more than 4) appointments in the competitive service. There is no grade level restriction.

When using this authority to appoint on a permanent basis, you are first placed on a time limited appointment of at least 60 days and then converted to a permanent appointment at management's discretion. When the authority is used for temporary or term appointments, you will not be converted to a permanent appointment.

The Uniformed Services Employment and reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) prohibits discrimination in employment, retention, promotion, or any benefit of employment based on your uniformed service. The Department of Labor, through the VETS, provides assistance to all persons having USERRA claims.

If you are a disabled veteran and you believe an agency discriminated against you in employment because of your disability, you may file a disability discrimination complaint with the offending agency under regulations administered by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Overtime Claims

An Agency's decision to wrongfully deny an employee overtime pay under either the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title 5 of the U.S. Code, or some other overtime statute can be challenged in a number of administrative and judicial forums.

Contact us to speak to an attorney about federal employee disability retirement.

Disability Retirement

If a federal employee becomes disabled, but is not yet eligible for regular retirement due to their age or years of service, they have the right to apply for disability retirement. Unlike with workers' compensation (OWCP) the disability does not have to occur during the course of employment in order to qualify for retirement benefits. In order to get disability retirement, the employee must prove that they have a disability that will last at least at least a year and prevents them from providing efficient government service. The disability must be severe enough that it cannot be accommodated in their current position, or in a vacant position at the same pay grade level.

Contact us to speak to an attorney about federal employee disability retirement.

Workers Compensation Claims

As a federal employee, if you receive an injury on the job you are entitled to workers' compensation benefits through the Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP). Unfortunately, the process for applying for and receiving workers' compensation benefits can be confusing and time consuming, often with incorrect and contradictory advice being given by the Agency with whom the complaint has been initiated.

Minahan Muther Klinger, PC, represents federal employees in OWCP appeals and is happy to discuss your claim to determine a strategy to maximize the compensation benefits you are entitled to receive. Contact us here or at (303) 986-0054 to speak to an attorney about federal employee disability retirement.