What Is a Title 38 Employee & What Makes Them Different?

Needless to say, working for the federal government is much different from working for any private-sector employer. Because the federal government is such a massive employer that fulfills a variety of functions, however, there aren’t too many standards that apply across the board for all employees.

One group of employees classified differently from any other is Title 38, named for Title 38 of the U.S. Code. These are employees who are medical or healthcare workers employed by Veterans Affairs (the VA) or National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Occupations under Title 38 can include the following:

  • Physicians
  • Dentists
  • Podiatrists
  • Optometrists
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Physician’s assistances

There are many more than we can list here, but it’s important to understand that if you are a Title 38 employee, your rights are much different than those of other federal employees.

How Are a Title 38 Federal Employee’s Rights Different?

While most other federal employees – particularly Title 5 workers – subjected to adverse employment actions can appeal their employer’s decisions through the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Title 38 employees do not enjoy this right.

There are a Disciplinary Appeals Board and remedial scheme in place that protect Title 38 employees from suspension, demotion, or termination to an extent; but overall, their employers have more control over implementing these types of adverse actions than other federal employees’.

Other factors that make Title 38 employment unique include the following:

  • New employees serve a two-year probationary period, rather than the customary one-year period
  • Staff appointments and privileges are governed by the Professional Standards Board
  • Appeals concerning personnel matters can be handled through a Title 5 collective bargaining agreement

Investigations & Discipline

When a Title 38 employee is disciplined, the agency they’re employed by typically conducts an Administrative Investigation Board (AIB), which will consist of the employee’s peers. Interviews and evidence are gathered, making it crucial for the employee being investigated to seek legal representation to protect their rights.

If the AIB’s investigation results in a finding against the employee, the employee has an opportunity to defend themselves before a Disciplinary Appeals Board (DAB). This hearing is similar to a formal legal hearing, and the employee should be sure to retain legal assistance to represent them during this portion of the process. The DAB hearing could result in affirming the adverse employment action or deciding in favor of the employee.

Do You Need Legal Representation?

Pines Federal can represent any federal employee involved in a conflict with their employer. If you are a Title 38 employee facing an adverse action from your employer, we can provide the legal advice and services you need to protect your employment.

Learn more about what may be possible for you in your unique situation by scheduling an initial consultation with one of our attorneys. Get in touch with Pines Federal today by contacting us online or calling (888) 898-9902.