In our continuing discussion, “10 Ways to Lose an MSPB Appeal”, I would like to turn to a common problem in Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) cases – employees want to use their MSPB appeal (or EEOC case) as a tool to get revenge.
By the time most federal employees get in touch with my Firm, they have been pretty substantially harmed by their Agency. This occurs in any number of ways: they’ve lost their job (and as a result, their salary and sometimes their home), they’ve been embarrassed at work by being made the example for violating some minor rule or procedure, they’ve had to take substantial sick leave or annual leave to respond to the Agency’s allegations – the list goes on.
So, I suppose it is natural to be angry and want to get even. The employee want their manager disciplined or fired. They want a large monetary settlement to make up for all the pain and suffering. And sometimes, they just want the attorney to embarrass their manager.
But in the MSPB – and in any litigation – revenge is a dangerous motive. First, it consumes the person who is trying to extract a measure of revenge. It wears that person down, emotionally and physically. Second, and more importantly, it blinds the appellant from the weak points of their case. By the time they realize their case has a weak spot, it’s usually too late to address the problem.
I advise my clients who find themselves in this situation to focus their energy on the facts of their case. After all, it is facts that win cases, and proving the facts of the case to the Administrative Judge gives the Appellant the best chance of prevailing. That may be the sweetest revenge – winning your case and getting the relief to which you are entitled.
Federal employees succeed less than 20% of the time in their hearings before the MSPB. Why make it harder by using the hearing process as a tool for revenge?