With its numerous assortment of federal defense and recreational sites, the Centennial State hosts countless federal employees. And it’s no surprise that many of these workers will require the expertise of a federal employment law attorney that serves Colorado.
It may surprise you, but federal employees actually encounter a wide range of unique legal issues. These include confronting Title VII discrimination, seeking reasonable accommodation, and filing MSPB appeals to counter improper discipline.
For federal employees facing legal challenges, it’s imperative to seek the services of an experienced Colorado federal employment lawyer. Pines Federal has established itself as a leading federal employment law firm thanks to our ability to leverage our comprehensive knowledge and experience of federal employment law.
Whether it’s battling discrimination, navigating the intricacies of federal disability retirement, or any other federal employment issue, we are here to support you.
What Legal Needs Can a Colorado Federal Employment Law Firm Help With?
Our firm can help you in countless ways. Let’s touch on some of federal employees’ most important legal challenges.
Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
We take it for granted that we’ll always be able to do our jobs and be in perfect health. Therefore, it can be devastating when a disability or medical condition suddenly interrupts our ability to perform our jobs. Fortunately, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) entitle you to receive reasonable accommodation. More specifically, your employer has to make modifications necessary for you to perform your job effectively with your disability, provided it does not place an undue burden on their operations.
That said, you still have to navigate the process of requesting an accommodation. You’ll also face several common pitfalls, like obstinate or retaliatory employers. A federal accommodation attorney can assist in countless ways with an RA request. First, we can assess whether your condition qualifies under the ADA and advise on the reasonable accommodations that might be appropriate. We can then guide you through the process of requesting accommodations. We’ll help to formulate a request that enunciates your needs and the ideal accommodation. After that, we can step in as intermediaries between you and your agency, facilitating an interactive discussion to help find a mutually agreeable solution. And if your employer denies your request for reasonable accommodation, we’ll uncover the reasons for the denial. And unless those reasons comply with the law, we’ll challenge your employer’s decision by initiating formal procedures and negotiations. Our services even extend to representation in formal hearings or litigation.
Applying for Disability Retirement Through OPM
The vast majority of federal employees possess several different retirement options, including normal retirement, early retirement, and disability retirement. The third option is an incredibly important provision for federal employees who can’t do their jobs anymore because of a medical condition. Naturally, there are a couple of requirements for obtaining disability retirement.
- Have at least 18 months of creditable service in an eligible federal job, and
- Suffer from a medical or physical impairment that makes you unable to do the core duties of your job.
In addition, your condition must be expected to last at least one year. Finally, your agency must certify that they cannot provide an adequate accommodation that allows you to perform your duties.
Applying for disability retirement requires you to submit a detailed application to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). OPM is responsible for handling most matters revolving around employee pay, benefits, and retirement matters. OPM is fairly rigorous in its assessment, so it’s vital you provide a complete, thorough, and credible application.
Our OPM disability retirement law firm can assist you in this task in countless ways. First, we’ll help you examine your options leading up to retirement to ensure it is the best fit for your needs. Next, we’ll prepare and review your application so that it is free from errors. We’ll also collaborate with your medical team to obtain rock-solid evidence that backs up your application. Finally, we’ll submit your application, monitor its progress, and manage your response in case of denial.
Together, our services will save you countless hours and spare you a great deal of stress. In addition, they will maximize your chances of an ideal outcome so you can enjoy a comfortable retirement.
The Constitution and other federal laws grant most government employees due process rights to their jobs.
This means your employer must :
- Fire or discipline you only for good cause,
- Explain why they’re taking disciplinary action against you,
- Grant you the right to legal representation,
- Give you the right to respond orally or in writing, and
- Furnish you with all relevant evidence they’re relying on.
Despite these ample protections, federal agencies often fail to provide these rights. Or they use discipline as a mask for retaliatory or discriminatory behavior. Whatever the case, you can appeal any adverse action to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). The MSPB is a pseudo-judicial agency that allows federal employees to receive a hearing whenever they suffer an adverse action. You can often force your employer to revoke their adverse action and restore your reputation. You can even obtain compensatory damages when you demonstrate that your employee discriminated against you.
Filing an MSPB appeal is very similar to filing a lawsuit in court. There are conferences with judges, pleadings to file, and various other legal processes. Without quality legal representation, these tasks can be nearly impossible to handle.
Fortunately, one of our Colorado federal employment lawyers can help you by:
- Brainstorming all possible defenses and arguments;
- Analyzing the weaknesses in the agency’s case;
- Filing your appeal in compliance with all procedural requirements;
- Submitting discovery requests to your employer to collect vital information;
- Obtaining, preparing, and questioning witnesses;
- Advocating on your behalf before the MSPB; and
- Negotiating on your behalf with your employer.
Even if the initial decision is not in your favor, your attorney can prepare and launch an appeal. These services often make the difference between a spotless career and an unnecessary and unfair removal.
A host of laws prohibit discrimination that stems from the following inherent characteristics:
- Age (over 40),
- Genetic information,
- Sexual orientation,
- Prior protected activity, and
- Gender identity.
Discrimination includes any kind of adverse treatment involving the federal workplace.
Here are just a few examples:
- Changes in your workload,
- Social exclusion,
- Loss of job perks,
- Reduction in pay or job hours, and
- A denial of promotion.
The twin sister of discrimination is harassment, which takes place when people make your working environment objectively hostile through their negative actions. Maybe it’s sarcastic comments, slurs, or even threats of physical violence.
Regardless of the exact form you’re facing, discrimination and harassment are illegal and unacceptable. If you’re experiencing them, it’s vital you contact an EEO counselor at your agency right away. It’s also critical for you to obtain an attorney. We can help you collect evidence supporting your claims, assist in filing your complaint, and be your voice to your employer.
Title 38 and Hybrid Title 38 Employees
Title 38 employees typically work as medical professionals for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Because of their line of work, a different set of rules and regulations apply to them. These rules include disciplinary actions, pay schedules, working hours, and other matters. Moreover, some employees are “Hybrid” Title 38 employees, with some rights under Title 38 and others under Title 5 (the regulations covering most federal employees).
As you can imagine, throwing in a whole new series of rules leads to legal issues. Very few attorneys are familiar with these kinds of regulations. But whether you’re a VA employee in Denver or Colorado Springs, a VA federal employment lawyer can provide you the legal service you need to maneuver through every Title 38 issue you encounter.
Federal whistleblowers help the government run more effectively by reporting legal violations, mismanagement, and abuses of power. Over the years, countless lives have been saved by the actions of whistleblowers. Nonetheless, they perpetually act under the shadow of whistleblower retaliation. As with other kinds of retaliation, the law empowers employees with impressive protections against retaliation. However, these rights are only a paper barrier against injustice if employees don’t act to enforce their rights.
If you’re a whistleblower who is encountering retaliation, then you should consult a federal employment whistleblower attorney. A qualified Colorado attorney can vindicate your rights in court while safeguarding your identity.
We’ve only begun to touch on all the issues our attorneys can help you with. We also assist clients with appeals under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). In addition, we regularly assist clients with any union-related issues. These include filing grievances, attending arbitrations, and identifying unfair practices.
Contact the Skilled Legal Team at Pines Federal
Federal employees face a surprising collection of legal issues that are pretty unfamiliar to most attorneys. All the same, these issues often dictate the course of your career and life. When you’re facing these problems, the last thing you want to do is go it alone.
Instead, trust Pines Federal to be your guardian. Whether you’re in Grand Junction or Denver, a federal employment lawyer from our firm can assist you. We concentrate our practice entirely on representing government employees. That means we understand the nuances of this kind of law. We’re also deeply familiar with the standard tactics of employers and bad actors.
Armed with this experience, we can provide you with outstanding legal service. Be sure to check out our reviews from happy clients.