Given its proximity to Washington, D.C., Maryland is home to thousands of federal employees. With that large population comes ample exposure to a wide variety of employment issues. These include many kinds of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. There are also disciplinary issues, disability applications, whistleblower claims, and reasonable accommodation requests.
As you can see from this extensive list, federal employment law is complicated. However, you can tackle virtually any of these issues with the assistance of a qualified Maryland federal employment lawyer. Whatever your situation, we can help you understand your legal rights and options. While we meet your legal needs with outstanding representation, we’ll also provide outstanding customer service.
If you or a loved one are facing a federal employment issue, contact one of our outstanding federal employment attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland today. Give us a call at (800) 801-0598 or send us an online message today for a consultation.
“I was so pleased working with Pines Federal. I had peace of mind knowing I would not have to deal with the federal agency and all was taken care of by Pines. They are professional and responsive. I was very happy with the outcome of my case. Hiring Pines was the best decision I made.”
What Does a Maryland Federal Employment Attorney Do?
Federal employment is unique compared to private-sector. That’s because a different set of laws and regulations apply to employment in the government. Thus, a Maryland federal employment attorney has the specific skills and knowledge to resolve these issues.
Merit Systems Protection Board Appeals
Unlike most private-sector employment, federal employees have due process rights for their jobs. That means their employer cannot fire them whenever they wish. Nor can federal employees receive discipline without obtaining certain procedural rights. The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is a quasi-judicial agency that works to protect the rights of federal employees facing certain kinds of judicial action.
When a federal employee faces an adverse action such as a significant suspension, demotion, or termination that they believe is unjust or improperly executed, they have the right to appeal to the MSPB.
The types of cases you can appeal include:
- Adverse actions. Adverse actions refer to negative actions that agencies take against employees for disciplinary or performance reasons. Specifically, the phrase includes removals, suspensions of more than 14 days, demotions, pay reductions, and brief furloughs.
- Retirement appeals. This category includes disputes over retirement benefits, claims of forced retirement, and denials of disability retirement claims.
- Whistleblower retaliation. Whistleblowing occurs when an employee discloses information that demonstrates a violation of law, gross mismanagement, or a danger to health and safety. When whistleblowers suffer discipline or discrimination because of their activities, they can file an appeal to the MSPB.
Separately, the MSPB works with the Office of Special Counsel to correct Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP). PPPs include discrimination that stems from things like your race, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, or political affiliation. Oftentimes, you can include these violations in your appeal as affirmative defenses.
How a Maryland Federal Employment Lawyer can Help You with Your MSPB Appeal
Whatever the basis for your appeal, our attorneys excel in representing you before the MSPB. This includes thoroughly analyzing the agency’s action against you and the reasons they provided. After our analysis, we’ll assist you with filing your appeal and preparing for the hearing before an administrative judge. We’ll collect favorable evidence, assemble and prepare witnesses, and protect your rights with stellar oral arguments. If necessary, we’ll appeal a less-than-favorable initial decision to give you another chance at obtaining justice.
OPM Disability Applications
When federal employees face medical conditions preventing them from performing their duties effectively, they may be eligible for disability retirement through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). However, successfully maneuvering through the OPM disability application process is daunting. Even more intimidating is requesting a reconsideration after receiving a denial. Fortunately, using the services of a Maryland federal employment law firm can prove invaluable.
To successfully apply for OPM disability, you must complete at least 18 months of service in a position under a valid federal retirement system. You also have to have a medical condition that prevents you from doing your job with or without reasonable accommodation. Meeting this burden requires copious amounts of documentation as well as cooperation from your agency. If OPM denies the initial application, you can request reconsideration. However, you must submit additional evidence or clarifications to support your disability claim.
How an OPM Disability Retirement Lawyer can Help with Your Disability Claim
Here are a few key ways an experienced OPM disability retirement lawyer can assist with these kinds of claims:
- Guiding applicable requirements. Our attorneys can clarify the complex eligibility and documentation requirements. In doing so, we’ll help ensure that your initial application is as comprehensive and persuasive as possible.
- Preparing and reviewing documentation. They can assist in gathering and organizing necessary medical evidence and work history documentation, ensuring that all paperwork meets OPM’s criteria.
- Interacting with your agency. Our lawyers can communicate with your agency to help guarantee that they provide OPM with the information you need to receive a successful application. We can also interface with them regarding ancillary issues, such as reasonable accommodation claims.
- Handling denials and reconsideration. If your application is denied, we can evaluate the reasons for denial, advise you on your chances of a successful reconsideration, and help you prepare a comprehensive appeal.
In some cases, a federal employment attorney can be your voice when dealing with OPM. Their powerful advocacy and negotiation can be decisive in producing an ideal outcome.
Reasonable Accommodation Requests
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act provide sweeping protections for federal employees with disabilities. Chief among these protections is the right to request reasonable accommodation. These accommodations are modifications or adjustments to a job or work environment that enable an individual with a disability to perform essential job functions or enjoy equal employment opportunities. Yet, requesting a reasonable accommodation can be long and complicated. Having a federal reasonable accommodations attorney by your side significantly smooths the process and increases your chances of success.
The process begins when you identify your need for reasonable accommodation to a supervisor or manager. There are no magic words for this request. However, a written request with extensive medical documentation makes it much more likely that your employer will accept it. Once you deliver your written request to your employer, the law obligates them to interact with you to find an ideal reasonable accommodation. Your employer can reject your request if they show it produces an undue hardship for the agency. While this is an onerous burden, employers frequently try to provide alternative accommodations that don’t meet the employee’s needs.
How We can Assist You with Your Reasonable Accommodation Request
Regarding RA claims, a lawyer’s first service is to inform you of your rights under applicable laws. As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed. Once you understand your rights, we can assist you with your request for reasonable accommodation. We can liaise with your healthcare team to get detailed medical information so your request is unassailable.
Our aid doesn’t stop there. Once the RA process is underway, we can represent you in discussions with the employer, advocating for adequate accommodations and ensuring that the employer meets its legal obligations. And if your employer denies your request, we can assist in resolving disputes and taking legal action if necessary.
Other Federal Employment Issues We Handle
In addition to MSPB appeals and reasonable accommodation requests, our legal experience extends to a broad spectrum of other federal employment matters.
Our team is well-versed in tackling the following:
- USERRA appeals. Employees in the Armed Forces enjoy special rights through the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). When employers violate these rights, we intervene to protect the employee’s welfare while returning to civilian employment after military service.
- Employee civilian VA representation. Most Department of Veterans Affairs employees enjoy different rights and privileges than most other government employees because of their work in healthcare. We have extensive experience addressing employment issues unique to VA employees.
- Federal Union Representation. Our firm regularly represents employees in matters involving union rights and negotiations. Through our legal actions, we work to safeguard their collective bargaining rights and workplace interests.
Finally, we handle complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC handles allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Specific issues include race, sex, gender identity, age, disability, and religious discrimination and harassment. Whatever the exact claims, we expertly guide clients through filing and pursuing complaints. As the litigation process continues, we work tirelessly to prevail at a hearing or to resolve cases through settlement.
Pines Federal Is Ready to Take on Your Federal Employment Needs
Not all firms are the same. They vary greatly in quality, integrity, and capabilities. When you encounter any kind of federal employment issue in Maryland, you need to connect with a firm that specializes in these types of employment issues. You should also consult a law firm with an outstanding reputation, sterling reviews, and a track record of success.
Pines Federal meets all of these requirements. We have decades of collective experience vindicating the rights of our clients. Our passion is to protect the rights and welfare of all federal employees. Over the years, we’ve accumulated countless success stories and produced many happy clients. When you need an outstanding Maryland federal employment firm, go with Pines Federal. You can set up an initial appointment by calling (800) 801-0598 or filling out our online form today.
Our office is located at the following address:
1212 Reisterstown Road
Pikesville, MD 21208