Working for the United States federal government is unlike working in the private sector in many ways, from hours to required qualifications to the transparency and accountability standards you have to uphold every day. Another important difference? The rights you have as an employee.
Generally speaking, federal employees have all the rights private employees have, plus many more. If you are a federal employee, knowing about these rights and how to act on them can make a big difference in the progress and security of your career.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
You Might Be Protected
Federal, state, and city governments all have employment discrimination laws that protect private employees who belong to certain protected classes from discriminatory treatment or harassment in the workplace. These laws vary in many respects, from what classes of people are included in the protection to what kinds of discrimination is prohibited.
The broadest laws are those covering federal employees — more people are protected from more kinds of discriminatory conduct. For example, national origin is a protected class for federal employees, which means any discriminatory policy or action based on where you were born is prohibited.
If you think you’ve been discriminated against, you might be in a protected class and eligible to file a discrimination complaint and not even know.
After A Year, You Can Appeal Or Contest Treatment
Once you’ve been a federal employee for a year, you have the right to appeal and contest any adverse action taken against you. An adverse action is defined as a negative experience or change of status: anything from proposed termination of your employment to discriminatory treatment to a change in office location that you believe is a retaliatory act.
After a year, you have the right to appeal and potentially have such an action reversed, but you need to act quickly. That’s because...
Appeal Deadlines Are Short
Your right to appeal comes with a deadline. It varies by situation, but sometimes you have just 45 days to appeal a decision or file a complaint. So if you get a “proposal of removal” (an attempted termination notice), or feel you have been the victim of retaliation or discrimination, you need to take action immediately and file an appeal or complaint.
But if you make this move, don’t do it alone.
You Need Help
The laws covering rights and responsibilities of federal employees are detailed and complex, and unless you’re a federal employment law specialist, you risk a misstep in the complaint process. If you file a complaint to the wrong commission or board, miss a deadline, or forget to include an important piece of information, you may miss the chance to rectify your situation.
So what should you do? Hire a Federal Employment Rights lawyer. They will know what to do, what not to do, and when to do it. And with Morgan & Morgan, the consultation will always be free: you won’t be charged at all unless we win for you.
If you believe you’ve been mistreated, and are trying to protect your job and career, your first call should be to a Federal Employment Rights attorney who can guide you through the complaint process and fight on your behalf.