No federal employee ever imagines that they’ll face a possible suspension.
Not only is it a black mark on your record, but it can also deprive you of pay for days, weeks or even months.
And in most situations, a proposed suspension catches you completely off-guard.
Employee suspension laws are complex, so you may not know where to turn.
However, if you’re facing a suspension, there’s no need to panic or just give in without a fight.
As a federal employee, you have rights. Take a moment to learn more about federal employee rights in the workplace.
After that, consult an experienced federal employment attorney at the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC right away to learn about your options.
A Federal Employee’s Rights in the Workplace
A federal employee facing any punishment (including suspension) is protected by several laws that guarantee their right to due process.
Depending on the length of the proposed suspension, a federal employee may receive additional rights.
Under federal employee suspension laws, there are two kinds of actions a federal agency can take against its employees: disciplinary actions and adverse actions.
Disciplinary actions include less serious punishments like:
- Oral or written counseling,
- Letters of reprimand,
- Letters of warning, and
- Suspensions of 14 days or less.
On the other hand, adverse actions refer to more serious punishments, like suspensions of 15 days or longer, demotions, and removals.
Because the “stakes” are higher for an employee facing an adverse action, the law grants them additional employee suspension rights to protect their careers.
Rights for Employees Facing Shorter Suspensions
If you are facing a suspension of fewer than 14 days, then you have the right to know why the federal agency is taking action against you.
In the letter proposing your suspension, the agency needs to include a specific charge (like insubordination, inappropriate conduct, etc.).
Next, It must include a detailed description of the circumstances surrounding your alleged wrong behavior, like when and where it happened.
Furthermore, you have the right to receive a copy of the evidence that your employer is relying on to propose your suspension.
You have other rights as well, like the right to respond to the proposal letter.
To respond, you can choose to submit a written response and/or meet with the deciding official and provide a verbal response.
Finally, you have the right to legal representation. Your representative can be a friend, colleague, union representative, or attorney.
Rights for Employees Facing Longer Suspensions
Federal law considers suspensions of more than 14 days to be adverse actions.
That means that a federal employee facing a 15-day suspension has even more rights than an employee facing a 5-day suspension.
In addition to the rights that we just discussed, federal employees facing longer suspensions have the right to receive advance notice of the suspension.
If you are facing a longer suspension, your agency needs to notify you of the proposed suspension at least 30 days before it begins.
They must also allow you to work without any interruption before and after the proposed suspension.
Your agency must give you a longer period—at least seven days—to respond to the adverse action.
Finally, if your agency actually suspends you, you can appeal the suspension to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).
Don’t Wait. Contact an Attorney Right Away
As you can see, a federal employee facing suspension has several rights.
However, if you are facing a suspension of any length, it’s critical that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
A skilled federal employment attorney can help you craft your response, analyze the government’s evidence, and determine if there were any illegal or discriminatory motivations behind the suspension.
They can also help you negotiate with your employer, plead your case before a judge, and even obtain compensation if your rights were violated.
With the Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing, PLLC, you can enjoy unparalleled client representation.
We delight in standing up for our clients and making sure they receive only the best treatment.
Additionally, Mr. Wersing has a tremendous amount of experience protecting federal employees’ rights.
Thanks to his experience and dedication, our clients are more than happy to share their success stories.
Employee suspension rights is an area we focus us, so let us help you defend your rights and protect your federal career.