Wrongful Termination

The rights of employees to continued employment, promotions, etc. are governed by many laws, both state and federal. This office is primarily involved with protecting the rights of federal civilian employees. Such employees, working for the United States government, generally have the right to continued employment unless the employing agency can prove that there is “just cause” for termination. Such employees have appeal rights for all serious “adverse actions” taken against them by their employer, including terminations, lengthy suspensions without pay, demotions, etc.

Wrongful Termination – If you are fired improperly or unjustly you may be entitled to reinstatement, back-pay and attorney fees.

Demotions and Suspensions (longer than 14 days)

Most federal civilian employees, including Postal Service employees who have served in the military, have the right to appeal such serious adverse actions to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). This is a federal administrative agency which makes “quasi-judicial” decisions on such cases. Decisions of the Board are appealable to the federal courts. The Board also has jurisdiction over other matters such as denials of disability retirement applications, reduction-in-force disputes, etc.

Your employment is a valuable asset, and wrongful termination cases can result in your being reinstated to the job with back pay and benefits, plus payment of your attorney fees.

Examples of cases we have handled:

An IRS employee was fired for poor performance after she had filed several discrimination complaints, had been called derogatory names, and as a union steward had represented others against IRS management. We challenged the termination at MSPB and simultaneously filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court, resulting in a six-figure settlement.

A Department of Defense worker was fired for unacceptable job performance. We proved that she was given no warning of her shortcomings and no opportunity to improve, and that she was fired by an inexperienced, incompetent manager. She was reinstated with back pay and legal fees.

A Postal worker was wrongly accused of stealing money from a cash drawer and, after hours of interrogation by the Postal Inspection Service, confessed; he was then fired for stealing. We proved to the MSPB that the confession was coerced, resulting in his reinstatement with full back pay, benefits and attorney fees.

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In 1978 Congress under President Jimmy Carter reformed the old Civil Service laws, abolishing the former Civil Service Commission and doling out its roles to three new agencies: the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).

MSPB is a quasi-judicial agency which determines disputes between federal civilian employees and the agencies they work for. OPM takes actions and makes decisions (some of which are appealable to MSPB) regarding personnel matters such as retirement, insurance, payrates, overpayments, re-employment rights, position descriptions, etc.

MSPB’s jurisdiction does not cover every dispute that an employee might have with the agency he or she works for. Its jurisdiction is limited primarily to actual or constructive adverse personnel actions (termination, suspension of more than 14 days, furlough for 30 days or less, reduction in grade and pay, RIF actions, etc.), denials of retirement applications, failure to re-employ, whistleblowing cases, and “mixed appeals” involving illegal discrimination in addition to another dispute over which the Board has jurisdiction.

OPM’s jurisdiction, so far as individual employees are concerned, primarily involves actions relating to disability and “regular” retirement applications, survivor benefits, and insurance claims.

OSC’s jurisdiction relates to investigation of allegations of, and enforcement of laws against, prohibited personnel practices in federal agencies

Contact us for more information about how we can help you with your wrongful termination related issue.