As a federal employee, you're entitled to certain rights and protections when it comes to your job. However, sometimes those protections may be violated or challenged, and you find yourself facing an adverse action or an unfavorable decision that could affect your career and future. That's where the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) comes into play.
The MSPB is an independent federal agency that serves as the final administrative appeals forum for federal employees, providing them with a chance to appeal personnel actions taken against them. If you're facing an unfair or unlawful adverse employment action, the MSPB appeals process is an important option to consider. However, it can also be incredibly complex, time-consuming, and intimidating. That said, working with an experienced MSPB appeals attorney can be invaluable as their guidance can help you navigate the appeals process more smoothly.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the common issues that an MSPB appeals attorney can help you with.
When to Consider an MSPB Appeal
If you have an employment dispute with a federal agency, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) may be able to help. To file an MSPB appeal, you must have received an adverse action such as termination, demotion, or suspension from your job. Additionally, most MSPB appeals must be filed within 30 days of receiving the adverse action. Depending on what kind of action was taken against you and the specifics of your case, there may be other important deadlines that you will need to abide by.
Common issues that may require filing an appeal with the MSPB:
- Reductions in grade or pay: If you have been unfairly demoted or your pay has been wrongfully reduced, you may be able to challenge the agency's decision through an MSPB appeal. Federal agencies must follow specific statutes when making these types of performance-based actions. Generally speaking, the agency must follow the guidelines found in either Chapter 43 or Chapter 75 of Title 5 of the U.S.C.
- Suspensions lasting more than 14 days and/or indefinite suspensions: Suspensions typically must adhere to Chapter 75 of Title 5 and cannot be taken under Chapter 43. When appealing, the MSPB judge will consider whether the agency had a valid reason for the suspension and if the penalty is reasonable based on the circumstances.
- Individual Right of Action (IRA appeals) in whistleblower retaliation cases: As a federal employee, you have the right to report misconduct or violations of laws, rules, and regulations without fear of retaliation. If you believe you have suffered retaliation because of your whistleblowing activity, you can file an individual right of action (IRA) appeal with the MSPB.
- Involuntary removals: If you've been involuntarily removed from your job, you may be able to appeal the removal with the MSPB depending on the circumstances of your case. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the removal notice.
- OPM denials of disability retirement: If the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has denied your application for disability retirement benefits, appealing the decision with the MSPB may be a good option for you. An MSPB appeals attorney with experience with OPM appeals can help you navigate the complex OPM administrative process and identify the strongest legal arguments to bolster your case.
The Benefits of Working with a Skilled MSPB Attorney
Facing an adverse action or decision in your federal employment can be stressful and intimidating. The MSPB appeals process can be complex, and achieving a successful outcome frequently requires knowledge of the law, the evidentiary rules, and legal strategy, as well as experience dealing with the MSPB Board. That's why it's important to have an experienced MSPB appeals attorney on your side.
An MSPB appeals attorney can help you build a strong case by gathering evidence, preparing legal arguments, and presenting your case before the MSPB judge. They can also negotiate with the agency to reach a settlement that satisfies your concerns. Further, an experienced MSPB appeals attorney can help you gather and present evidence that supports your case, as well as cross-examine any witnesses presented by the agency.
The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC, has a deep knowledge and track record of successfully handling complicated MSPB cases, including all the issues discussed in this blog. If you're facing an MSPB appeal or want to learn more about your MSPB rights, please contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced federal employment attorneys. We're here to help you navigate the MSPB appeal process and protect your rights as a federal employee.