Image of Attorneys Helping Federal Employees Respond to Proposed Disciplinary Actions

Federal Employment Lawyers: Serving Federal Employees in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia

When a federal employee is facing proposed disciplinary action or an adverse action, there is a lot at stake  — their career, reputation, and financial security.  Therefore, it is critical to gather the evidence and present it in a persuasive manner to either avoid the proposed discipline entirely or mitigate the discipline.

The experienced federal employment attorneys at Zuckerman Law represent federal employees during all stages of the disciplinary process.  Two of our attorneys served in senior leadership positions at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, where they oversaw investigations of thousands of prohibited personnel practice complaints.

Adverse Actions and Disciplinary Actions

Actions directly appealable to the MSPB, also known as “adverse actions” include:

  1. a removal;
  2. a suspension for more than 14 days;
  3. a reduction in grade;
  4. a reduction in pay; and
  5. a furlough of 30 days or less.

Right to Respond to Proposed Adverse Action

Before taking an adverse action, the agency must give the employee at least thirty days’ advance written notice and identify the specific reasons for the proposed adverse action.

Right to Respond to Proposed Disciplinary Action

When you are notified of a proposed disciplinary action, you have due process rights, including:

  1. The right to review the evidence upon which the proposed disciplinary action s based.
  2. The right to respond.

Preparing an Effective Response to Proposed Disciplinary Action or Adverse Action

Once an agency has proposed to take a personnel action, it can be challenging to persuade the agency to reverse its decision.  We have found that the following techniques can be effective:

  1. We promptly gather statements or affidavits from credible witnesses.
  2. We identify evidence rebutting the basis for the proposed disciplinary action.