Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing

The Lawyers for Federal Employees

Federal employees have unique rights unlike other employees, and many of those rights are governed by specific laws that are unique to federal employees. At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing, our team of experienced federal employment lawyers is dedicated to helping federal employees understand and protect their rights.

Just like other employees, federal employees can face an array of challenges. When these challenges require you to file a lawsuit, an administrative complaint, or a claim for benefits, it is important that you have a knowledgeable advocate on your side.

The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing has experience with all types of legal issues affecting federal employees, including disability claims, discrimination and harassment, whistleblower claims, retaliation, wrongful termination, and other adverse employment actions.

If you are a federal employee, the process for protecting your rights is different than for most employees in the private sector. It is important that you have an attorney with specific experience in federal employee law, not just general employment law.

Our practice is directly focused specifically on federal employee law.

Enforcing your rights as a federal employee frequently involves navigating various layers of bureaucracy.

Additionally, it can often be challenging to determine which agency is responsible for your specific type of claim and what process that agency requires you to comply with.

The Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing has experience working with numerous agencies across the federal government regarding federal employee issues. These issues can include complaints or claims involving:

When dealing with claims before these agencies, even small mistakes, such as missing filing deadlines, failing to gather adequate supporting documents, or filing a claim with the wrong agency can be costly.

Having an experienced federal employee lawyer on your side can make all the difference.

At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing, our team of federal employment attorneys is passionate about helping federal employees with any legal issues they may face. If you need help pursuing benefits you are entitled to or protecting your rights against wrongful conduct, contact us today.

How We Can Serve You

Meet Aaron Wersing

Federal Employee Attorney

Aaron Wersing is the founder of the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D Wersing PLLC. His practice focuses solely on assisting federal employees in a broad array of litigation and transactional matters. Mr. Wersing’s practice includes the evaluation and resolution of a diverse variety of federal employment matters.

Meet Ellen Sprovach

Managing Attorney

Ellen Sprovach, Esq. is a board-certified managing attorney here at FEDLAW.

Meet Jacquelyn Trevino

Senior Attorney

Jacquelyn Trevino, Esq. is a senior attorney here at FEDLAW.

Meet Leah Badri-Moradi

Attorney

Leah Badri-Moradi, Esq. is a federal employment attorney here at FEDLAW.

Meet Patrick J. Paradise

Attorney

Patrick J. Paradise is a federal employment attorney here at FEDLAW.

Client Testimonials

  • I can’t say enough good things about Mr. Wersing. He was dedicated to my case and because of his dedication he won my case. I was lost without him. I went to many attorney’s and all of them told me they were unable to help me because the government was to hard to fight against, but not Mr. Wersing. He knew his stuff . If your looking for an attorney who treats you like a person and just not like another number, Mr. Wersing is that attorney. He knows his stuff and will fight for your rights. I can never thank him enough.

    - Sandy | EEOC
  • Aaron Wersing is at the very top of every attorney I have met or dealt with. He is a patient, pleasant and professional attorney who is mission oriented and dedicated to get the job done. He helped me through a very arduous disability process allowing me to keep my self dignity and respect. I cannot imagine working with any attorney other than Aaron Wersing when applying for Fers Disability or any other employment & labor, employee benefits or workers compensation issues.

    - Howard M. | FERS Disability
  • Aaron is not only confident in getting things done, he is very compassionate and caring. He is a true fighter for what he believes is right. My case was a bit complicated but Aaron never backed down. Applying for OPM can be daunting and personal. Aaron has the ability to keep you focused and on track which means he understands how emotional it can be for somebody that has to retire due to medical conditions. Because of Aaron my OPM was approved the first time and we didn't have to do a reconsideration. If you want a good attorney that will fight for you, Aaron is your man. I will be forever thankful.

    - Tammy | FERS Disability

Our Federal Employment Law Library

Empowering Federal Employees To Know and Exercise Their Rights

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Federal Workplace Harassment: A Federal Employees’ Guide to Understanding Your Rights

Workplace harassment continues to be a problem at federal agencies, with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reporting that most of the claims filed in 2019 were related to harassment. Federal employees should familiarize themselves with applicable harassment laws. These laws not only protect employees’ rights but can also potentially eliminate future incidents of harassment. If you believe you were the victim of workplace harassment while working in a federal government position, it’s time to contact an experienced federal workplace harassment attorney who can help. What Is Considered Workplace Harassment? So, what is considered harassment at work? Some people assume workplace harassment is just another term for sexual harassment. However, sexual harassment is only one type of workplace harassment that employees may suffer. Harassment can be verbal, psychological, physical, or in the form of online bullying.  Workplace harassment occurs anytime an employee suffers unwelcome or unwanted conduct based on: Harassment becomes illegal when the conduct creates an intimidating or hostile work environment or is offensive to reasonable people. There is a threshold test, whether the harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive. Minor annoyances or petty slights will not typically rise to the level of federal law unlawful workplace harassment. Examples of illegal workplace harassment include offensive jokes, physical assaults, racial slurs, intimidation, and conduct that interferes with work performance. Sexual harassment can include requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, quid pro quo harassment, or other physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature. In many cases, sexual harassment is not overt or physical; it’s often masked in comments or banter, making future encounters uncomfortable and awkward. Sexual harassment victims can be female or male. They may even be of the same sex as their harasser.  In 2019, sexual harassment claims accounted for 10.3% of the EEOC’s total complaints.  Harassment of a federal employee also includes retaliation for engaging in protected EEO activity. Anti-discrimination laws provide that harassment against people in retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint or engaging in other protected EEO activity is illegal. This protected activity includes someone who has filed a discrimination charge or participated in an investigation, or other EEO-type proceedings, requested a reasonable accommodation, or provided testimony in another employee’s EEO complaint. Complaints involving retaliation comprise more than half of all complaints filed with the EEOC. Out of 72,675 complaints filed in 2019, 39,110 involved retaliation. When Are Employers Liable for Workplace Harassment? Federal employers can be held liable for workplace harassment even when they are not directly involved. An employer must take reasonable action to prevent any harassment in the workplace. If harassment has occurred, the employer must take swift disciplinary action for harassment in the workplace. Federal agencies will be automatically liable for harassment by someone in a supervisory position that resulted in termination, loss of wages, failure to hire or promote, or other negative employment action. Suppose a supervisor’s alleged harassment resulted in a hostile work environment. In that case, the employer could be held responsible unless that employer can prove that it took appropriate preventative and corrective measures, and the involved employees did not follow the applicable policies. Harassment by non-supervisory employees or non-employees the employer controls, like a customer or independent contractor, is handled a bit differently. Employers are only held liable if they knew or should have known about the harassment and did not take swift and necessary corrective action. The best way to eliminate workplace harassment is to prevent it before it happens. Agencies should have an effective grievance or complaint process so that employees can report any unwanted conduct immediately. Speaking with employees about harassment and establishing anti-harassment training for both supervisory staff and employees are essential components of harassment prevention. What Can Employees Do About Harassment in the Workplace? When harassment occurs in the federal workplace, employees must take action to try and stop it. Employees can start by trying to resolve the issue at the lowest level, speaking directly with the person who has committed the harassment. It’s important to communicate that you find the behavior or words offensive. If the harassment continues, employees should follow the applicable reporting procedures for their employer. Report the conduct early on to keep it from escalating. Employees can also file a complaint with their agency’s EEO office, which eventually could come directly before the EEOC. Facing Harassment In The Federal Workplace? Contact Our Federal Employee Lawyer Today If you are a victim of federal workplace harassment, it may affect your work performance. The job you once loved may now be a source of extreme stress. You may experience difficulty sleeping, mood swings, or other symptoms as a result. Taking action to stop unwanted conduct can help you feel better. Putting a stop to workplace harassment can protect you and your federal career that you’ve worked so hard for over the years.  Don’t let someone get away with workplace harassment. Speak with a skilled federal workplace harassment lawyer who can help you understand your legal options. At the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, our focus is federal employee law, including workplace harassment. We can advise you on the best course of action and guide you through the process of reporting the unlawful harassment you have suffered. Our primary goals are to protect your rights and to make the harassment stop. Contact our office to schedule an initial consultation or to speak with a federal workplace harassment attorney.

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How Does Social Media Use Impact Federal Employment?

There’s no denying that social media has transformed the way we connect with loved ones and keep up with current events today. Many Americans don’t think twice about how and when they engage with social media sites—it’s just part of their daily routine. However, federal employees can’t be so cavalier. For government workers, sharing certain information or engaging in specific behaviors online can lead to severe professional and even legal consequences.  This blog post will offer an overview of the federal government’s social media policy for employees. We’ll discuss the major rules around social media use and how to protect yourself and your job in your online activity.  What Are the Rules Around Social Media and Government Employees? For the most part, federal employees are allowed to use social media and other popular digital platforms to some degree. However, your actions online may face more scrutiny than those of a private sector worker. Several federal laws and regulations oversee how government employees behave online. These rules apply to activity on numerous public-facing digital platforms, including: Let’s examine two major rules impacting federal employees’ use of social media.  Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Standards of Conduct All federal government employees must follow the OGE’s Standards of Ethical Conduct. This document outlines the general expectations for principled behavior in and outside working hours. The Standards of Ethical Conduct don’t mention social media usage specifically. However, they do explicitly forbid government employees from using their public position or office for private gain, including by: In the context of social media use, this gives us a couple of important guidelines.  First, don’t share any non-public information you learn on the job online. Keeping personal and classified government information quiet is essential for safeguarding national security and your job security. Next, it’s important to remember that your work computer isn’t meant for personal use—neither is the time you’re on the clock. Scrolling Facebook from an employer-provided electronic device risks becoming an inappropriate use of government property and time.  The Hatch Act The Hatch Act regulates how employees use social media as a platform for expressing partisan preferences or engaging in political activity. Under the Hatch Act, most federal employees are prohibited from the following behaviors on social media: Some employees who work in certain specialized roles or at certain federal agencies have even more rules about what they can and cannot say online. For a complete picture of the social media policy for employees in your position, consult with your HR department or a federal employment lawyer. How Does Social Media Impact Employment? Improper or unlawful use of social media can have serious repercussions in your professional life. As a federal employee, you are a representative of the government to some extent. Many regulations around employee social media use aim to clearly distinguish between your personal opinions, statements, and endorsements and those of your agency or federal employer. Other rules are based on certain standards of ethics and impartiality expected of all federal employees. Employees who disregard these guidelines for legal and ethical social media use can face: For this reason, we recommend several basic guidelines for social media and employees in federal roles. For one, think before you share anything online. To be safe, it’s often best to avoid mentioning political topics or your job in your public social media posts. Take time to learn about additional policies or regulations that could apply to your role. Most importantly, if confronted about social-media-related misconduct, contact a federal employment lawyer immediately.  Experienced Legal Advocates Trusted by Federal Employees  Federal employees are often intimidated by the complex regulations around government employees’ social media use. If you have questions about what specific standards apply to your role, a trained advocate with the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing can help. Headed by award-winning federal attorney Aaron D. Wersing, our firm has spent years counseling government workers on various employment disputes. To learn how we can help you, contact our office online or by phone.  

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Which Federal Employees Are Title 38?

Title 38 employees are in a unique position compared to other civil servants. If you’re a healthcare professional at the Veterans Administration (VA) or the National Institute for Health (NIH), your rights and obligations as a federal employee may differ significantly from those of your coworkers.  So, what is a Title 38 federal employee? This blog post will shed some light on this particular employee category for medical professionals. We’ll examine how Title 38 status impacts your benefits, compensation, and protections as an employee. What Is a Title 38 Federal Employee? Put simply, Title 38 employees are a special category of workers not covered by Title 5 of the U.S. Code, the primary law governing federal employment. Title 5 outlines most federal workers’s standard working conditions, pay scales, benefits, and holidays.  However, certain VA or NIH medical professionals are regulated by a different part of the U.S. Code, Title 38.  What Is Title 38 in the Federal Government? Title 38 is a portion of U.S. law governing the benefits provided to military veterans by the VA. It outlines the rules for administering disability compensation, pensions, educational assistance, employment, and other rights and services veterans are entitled to. Since it regulates healthcare, Title 38 also sets the standards and benefits for certain specialized medical professionals employed through the VA. Who Are Title 38 Employees? Title 38 employees are healthcare providers who work for the VA or the NIHealth. Some medical professionals who fall under Title 38 include: However, not all health professionals at the VA or NIH are Title 38 employees. Some may fall into a special category involving a mix of Title 38 and Title 5 policies. Providers who often fall into this hybrid Title 38 category include dental hygienists and assistants, mental health counselors, pharmacists, physical and occupational therapists, and dietitians.  Be aware these aren’t definitive lists. Many other types of medical professionals may also fall into either of these categories. The best way to know what type of employee you are is to talk to your Human Resources department or consult a federal employment attorney. What Makes Title 38 Federal Employees Different? Title 38 workers face several different rules and procedures as employees compared to their Title 5 counterparts. Here are some of the significant unique features of Title 38 employment status. Non-Standard Working Hours Under Title 5, most federal employees work during regular business hours from Monday–Friday. However, it’s common for medical professionals under Title 38 to be available 24/7 for work, even on weekends. Different Pay Scale Salaries for Title 5 employees follow one of two pay scales: the General Schedule (GS) or the Executive Schedule (ES). However, Title 38 allows the federal government to use a different—and often more competitive—pay structure to recruit and retain qualified medical professionals.  Longer Probationary Period Your two years of work as a Title 38 employee are treated as a probationary period to ensure you meet the high standards for clinical competency and patient care expected by the VA and NIH. For Title 5 employees, this probationary period only lasts one year.  Complex, Administrative Appeals Process  Unlike most federal workers, Title 38 employees can’t appeal adverse or unjust employment decisions to the standard Merit Systems Protection Board. Instead, they have to take their appeal through a Disciplinary Appeal Board—run by their employer. Because the VA has discretion over these appeals, overturning a disciplinary action can be more challenging for employees. What Rights Do Title 38 Federal Employees Have? Despite the differences between Title 38 and Title 5 status, Title 38 employees still receive important protections under federal law. Some of the rights that Title 38 employees enjoy include: Although Title 38 employees face unique challenges appealing an employer’s decision, they can contest disciplinary actions, including suspension, pay reduction, license revocation, and termination. Importantly, you also have the right to legal representation in hearings where disciplinary actions are at issue. Dedicated Experts for All Federal Employment Concerns At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, we know firsthand how challenging it is to make sense of your rights as a civil servant and medical professional. Generic advice from HR or attorneys without experience in federal employment law won’t cut it. For a clear understanding of what your Title 38 status means, it’s essential to contact a qualified federal employment attorney. Our law firm proudly represents medical professionals serving in the federal healthcare system. Our team has years of experience guiding federal workers through various complex employment disputes, from unlawful license revocation to hostile work environments. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our office online or by phone.

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