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.

Aaron Wersing at Desk

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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What Should Whistleblowers Know Before They Act?

Whistleblowers are underappreciated heroes, and calling out wrongdoing in the federal workplace is a noble action. However, it is not something you should do lightly. Before you do anything, you need to know what a whistleblower is. On top of that, it is vital that you understand your rights as a whistleblower before you act.  So if you are considering reporting wrongdoing, read this whistleblower guide carefully. We will discuss the definition of a whistleblower and the protections that a whistleblower action provides. You should also contact one of our attorneys at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC for specific legal advice regarding your situation. What Whistleblowers Should Know First: The Definition of a Whistleblower The most important thing you need to know is what makes you a whistleblower according to the law. In other words, to become a whistleblower, what actions do you need to take?  In the federal workplace, you need to make a “protected disclosure” to qualify for whistleblower protections. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) defines a “protected disclosure” as “any disclosure of information that an employee, former employee, or applicant for employment” reasonably believes shows one or more of the following: Violation of any law, rule, or regulation, Gross waste of funds, Substantial and specific danger to public health and safety, Gross mismanagement, or Abuse of authority. This means that complaining about your boss’s curt comment or your coworker’s annoying personal habits will probably not rise to the level of “protected disclosure.”  However, these terms use broad wording intentionally to encompass a wide variety of other inappropriate behaviors.  When crafting these laws, Congress sought to give federal employees the benefit of the doubt in a whistleblower action. One of the ways they accomplished this goal was by requiring that whistleblowers only “reasonably believe” the information they passed along constituted evidence of misconduct. Put another way, if you disclose alleged misconduct in whistleblower action that turns out not to be prohibited behavior upon further investigation, you still receive whistleblower protection as long you reasonably believed the behavior was inappropriate.  Whistleblower Protections Federal law protects whistleblowers from any and all retaliatory “personnel actions.” But what is a personnel action? Federal law defines that phrase to include the following: A position appointment, A promotion, A detail, transfer, or reassignment, A restoration, A performance evaluation, A change in pay, A change in benefits, and An award. Orders to undergo psychiatric testing or examination and “any other significant change in duties, responsibilities, or working conditions” are also personnel actions. That means that if your employer demotes you, changes your duties, rescinds an award, or gives you a bad performance review because of your disclosure, they have broken the law.  How Should I Disclose Wrongdoing? The law does not require whistleblowers to make a protected disclosure to a certain person. On the contrary, whistleblowers have wide latitude on how to make a protected disclosure. For example, they can disclose wrongdoing to their first-line supervisor or second-line supervisor. They can also disclose wrongdoing to their agency’s Inspector General, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), or even Congress itself. You will receive whistleblower protections as long as you reasonably believe that your whistleblower action reveals misconduct. Can I Choose to Remain Anonymous? It depends. When you make a protected disclosure to the OSC, you can choose to remain anonymous. Furthermore, most agencies’ Inspector General offices have anonymous hotlines that you can use to make a protected disclosure. But the OSC can publicly reveal your identity if they determine it necessary because of imminent danger to public health or safety. Further, if you want to claim whistleblower retaliation, you must generally show that your whistleblowing contributed to the retaliatory action. This may be harder to show if you remain anonymous.  Can Probationary Employees Receive Whistleblower Protections? Yes. Federal employees are considered “probationary employees” for their first year of federal service. As probationers, they enjoy far fewer rights than non-probationary employees. For example, probationary employees cannot appeal adverse actions, including terminations, to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). However, probationary employees can appeal alleged acts of retaliation for whistleblowing to the MSPB. Consult a Lawyer Before You Become a Whistleblower Even though most people applaud whistleblowers, becoming one can change your career forever. Unfortunately, whistleblower retaliation is an all too common sight in the federal workplace. So before you make a protected disclosure, it’s best to reach out for legal advice from an experienced federal employment attorney.  Here at the Federal Employment Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing, our talented legal team can help you file a complaint with the OSC or your employer. We can also verify that your complaint meets the standard of a “protected disclosure” so that you can qualify as a whistleblower. With our decades of experience protecting federal employees, we know what retaliation looks like and how to fight it. So we are prepared to defend you aggressively against retaliation by your employer and protect your rights.  Don’t risk your federal career by going it alone. Reach out online or call us at 833-833-3529 to set up a free initial consultation today.

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Can You Lose Federal Retirement Benefits for Disciplinary Actions?

Federal employees enjoy many competitive benefits with the government, including a generous retirement package. However, if you are a federal government employee facing possible disciplinary actions, then you may be understandably concerned about your federal retirement benefits. How do disciplinary actions affect your retirement benefits? The good news is that most disciplinary actions do not affect your federal retirement. However, there are a few exceptions. The ultimate answer depends on your specific situation and whether you have committed one or more specific federal crimes. That said, if you or a loved one are facing disciplinary actions, then there are other things at stake besides your retirement benefits. Take action immediately. Consult one of our dedicated federal employment attorneys at the Federal Employment Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC. Understanding the Basics of Federal Retirement Benefits Virtually all federal employees are eligible to receive retirement benefits under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). The FERS retirement package consists of three components. The first part is the Thrift Savings Plan, which is essentially a 401k program that the government administers. You can choose to contribute a portion of each paycheck to your TSP account, and your agency will make a matching contribution. Once you reach a certain age, you can draw on your TSP funds. The second retirement component is the FERS Basic Benefits Plan, a defined benefits plan that takes a part of your pay to guarantee you a monthly retirement pension. Social Security benefits make up the third and final portion of the plan. Your final retirement benefits depend on several factors, including your average pay, years of service, and whether you have a disability.  Can My Retirement Benefits Be Interrupted for Disciplinary Action? In most situations, federal employees cannot lose their retirement benefits because of disciplinary actions. Even federal employees who face termination for misconduct or poor performance can usually rest easy. The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is a federal agency that allows employees to appeal disciplinary actions that they have received from their employer. The Board also occasionally resolves key questions regarding federal employment law, including issues revolving around federal retirement benefits and disciplinary actions. In Morrison v. Department of the Navy, the Board made clear that federal retirement benefits are “available upon separation from federal service, even when the separation is agency initiated.” Consequently, if you are facing removal from federal service for alleged misconduct, you do not need to resign to “save” your retirement benefits.  How Can Federal Employees Lose Their Retirement Benefits? It is very difficult for federal employees to lose their retirement benefits. 5 U.S.C. § 8312 states that you need to be convicted of committing one or more specific crimes for this to happen. Specifically, there are only about 20 crimes that can cause you to lose your federal retirement benefits, including: Espionage, Sabotage, Treason, Rebellion, Seditious conspiracy against the United States, Advocating the overthrow of the government, Perjury, Subversive activities, Wrongly disclosing classified information, and Fleeing the country to avoid prosecution or conviction. As you can see, all of these crimes are very serious and rarely occur. So as long as you do not receive a conviction for any of these crimes, your retirement benefits will be safe.  What About Federal Employees Outside the Federal Employee Retirement System? FERS covers all employees who began work with the Federal government after 1987. However, Federal employees who began their service before 1987 receive retirement benefits under a different plan, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Although CSRS offers different retirement benefits to eligible federal employees, you cannot lose those benefits because of disciplinary action except for the reasons stated above. Want to Learn More About How to Protect Your Federal Career? It’s reassuring to know that your federal retirement benefits are safe when you are facing disciplinary action. However, disciplinary actions are still very serious. They can leave a black mark on your career and reputation, lower your income, and jeopardize your job prospects. That said, if your employee is proposing disciplinary action against you, you need to consult a federal employment attorney right away.  Here at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, we take pride in protecting federal employees. We care deeply about the outstanding men and women who serve the government every day. That means we’re committed to helping them defend their livelihoods and careers. If you are facing disciplinary action, we can work with you to build your case and protect your rights. We can also aggressively negotiate with your employer and take action against them for retaliating or discriminating against you.  Even if you’re not sure you have a case, come see us right away. Don’t wait. Schedule a free initial consultation today by calling 833-833-3529. You can also send us a message online. 

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How Do You Know If You Are Eligible for Disability Retirement Benefits?

Many people enjoy being a federal employee because of the benefits it offers. One of these benefits is a generous disability retirement package under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). So if you have suffered an injury on the job, you might be considering applying for federal disability retirement.  But knowing whether you’re eligible for disability retirement benefits is not always straightforward. Read on to learn whether you might be eligible for federal disability retirement benefits. This guide will cover the basic eligibility rules and the benefits you can enjoy. If you want more specific advice for your situation, contact the outstanding team at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC. How to Determine Your FERS Disability Retirement Eligibility The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the federal agency responsible for regulating the rules for disability retirement. That means that their rules regarding disability retirement eligibility apply to most federal agencies. OPM states that you need to meet several criteria to be eligible for federal disability retirement benefits.  You must serve in the government for a minimum length of time. You need to have at least 18 months of federal civilian service under your belt to qualify for federal disability retirement.  You must become disabled due to disease or injury. And your disability must make you unable to perform the “critical” or “essential” duties of your position of record.  Your disability must last (or be expected to last) for at least one year. Disabilities that may resolve at some indefinite future time usually meet this standard. Your agency must certify that it cannot accommodate your disabling medical condition in your current position or a similar position. To meet this step, your agency needs to assess whether it could reassign you to a position of a similar grade or pay level. If you cannot be accommodated in a similar position, your agency may move to separate you from federal service.  You must apply for federal disability retirement benefits within one year of separation. Waiting beyond this time can sink your chances of a successful retirement application.  Finally, you need to apply for social security benefits, although there is no requirement to be approved for SSDI. And make sure you do not withdraw your social security application after applying for FERS disability retirement. If you do, OPM will reject your federal disability retirement application.   Federal Disability Retirement – Calculating Your Benefits  Let’s say you meet these requirements and successfully submit your application. What kinds of benefits can you expect to receive? The answer to that depends on several factors. The first one is your age. If you are over 62 years old, your annuity will generally equal one percent of your average salary from the three years you were paid the most (also known as your “high-three” salary) multiplied by your years and months of service. In other words, it’s the same as non-disability retirement for applicants over age 62. We will use an example to show you how this calculation process works. Let’s say your “high-three” salary is $100,000, and you have 10 years of federal government service. One percent of $100,000 is $1,000. And $1,000 times 10 (for your 10 years of service) is $10,000. So you’d receive $10,000 a year in disability benefits. If you are 62 years old and you have more than 20 years of government service, then you receive 1.1% of your “high-three” salary multiplied by your years of service. So if your high-three salary was $100,000 and you worked in the government for 30 years, your annual annuity would be $33,000.  But what if you’re under 62? In that case, you will get 60% of your “high-three” salary minus whatever payments you receive from social security during the first year, and then 40% of your “high-three” salary minus 60% of your SSDI benefits each year thereafter until age 62. Want to Learn More About Your Eligibility for Federal Disability Benefits? As you can see, the world of federal disability retirement is extremely complex. Knowing whether you’re eligible for retirement is just the beginning of obtaining FERS retirement benefits. You also need to fill out your application paperwork carefully, get the correct medical documentation and have a lot of patience. On top of that, federal agencies can wrongly deny your application, putting your future welfare in jeopardy.  If you want help filing your disability retirement application or if your retirement application has been denied, then you might need a federal employment attorney. At the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, we’re dedicated to helping federal employees make full use of their rights under the law. Mr. Wersing has extensive experience with all kinds of federal employment issues, including disability retirement applications. We can also help you if your employer has rejected your application for retirement. Together, we can help you achieve the benefits you need. Worried about the cost of an attorney? Don’t be. We never want legal fees to discourage you from coming to see us. That’s why we offer all potential clients a free initial consultation. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste. Give us a call at 833-833-3529 and tell us about your situation. You can also reach out to us online. 

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