Federal employees have specific rights in law to ensure fair treatment in the workplace. Like other places of employment, these laws aren’t always followed, and you need an attorney to advocate for you.
At Pines Federal, our federal employment attorneys have devoted their practice to fiercely protecting federal employees including Title 38 Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors and nurses. Our seasoned San Francisco federal employment attorneys are ready to fight on your behalf in court should the need arise.
Areas of Practice Representing Federal Employees in San Francisco
We are a firm that represents all types of federal employees, and our experience covers a wide range of employment law. We have more than 60 years of combined experience and have a deep understanding of the laws and procedures that are unique to federal employment.
The team at our San Francisco federal employment law firm fiercely protects the rights of federal employees. If you have a concern related to your employment at any federal agency, contact us online for a confidential case evaluation or call (800) 801-0598 today. We can provide targeted legal insight to federal employees in any of the following types of cases, as well as any other issues involving federal employment.
Adverse Actions, MSPB Representation
Federal employees have the right to take legal action against employers for adverse actions. When a case is appealed before MSPB, they use the Douglas Factors (nature of the offense and past disciplinary record, plus much more) to determine whether disciplinary action should be taken and, if so, the disciplinary action is commensurate with the offense. The MSPB is an independent entity of the executive branch with quasi-judicial powers to hear complaints or appeals from federal workers about certain personnel actions taken against them.
This board evaluates each case individually, considering various factors, including but not limited to the consistency of the discipline with that imposed on other employees and the potential for the employee’s rehabilitation. Their decisions can set important precedents for future cases.
Disciplinary actions might include the following:
- Suspension that lasts 14 days or more;
- Termination from serving as a federal civil employee;
- Demotion from federal employment to a lower-paying one or reducing one’s responsibilities;
- Reassignment that affects your promotion prospects or alters your working conditions; and
- Certain performance-based actions.
The MSPB also addresses cases involving whistleblowing or violations of veterans’ preference rights. These cases can be particularly sensitive because they relate to unique protections under the law.
If you believe you have been subjected to a suspension, demotion, or termination that is arbitrary, unfair, or discriminatory, you may be able to take your complaint to the MSPB.
Our experienced San Francisco federal employment and MSPB lawyers can provide guidance on the MSPB process, help you understand your rights, and represent you effectively in front of the board.
Federal Employee Disability Representation
Reasonable accommodations or reassignment must be provided to federal employees with a disability. When that’s not possible, workers may be eligible for disability benefits. Physiological, neurological, and psychological disorders are categorized as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was formally applied to federal employees by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Having cancer, epilepsy or an intellectual disability can qualify as an impairment that limits a major life activity as well. Conditions such as chronic pain, severe arthritis, and certain heart conditions also fall under this umbrella.
Major life activities include walking, speaking, learning, eating, hearing, and seeing. Determining the existence and extent of your disability and its impact on your employment is often a nuanced process. Requests for reasonable accommodations often require thorough documentation and expert medical opinion, especially when agency managers are unfairly obstructive or reluctant to accept your request.
Our legal team loves advocating for federal employees who face challenges in securing their rights under these disability protections. In addition, we have ample experience maneuvering through the intersection of federal employment law and disability rights on behalf of our clients.
We can help you with federal employment matters related to:
- Disability Discrimination,
- Social Security Disability,
- Federal Workers’ Compensation, and
- Federal Disability Retirement Benefits.
Our involvement includes a wide variety of possible tasks. We assist clients in preparing and submitting accommodation requests and represent them in disputes related to a denial of reasonable accommodation or disability discrimination. Regarding retirement applications, we frequently guide clients through the application process. We also tirelessly ensure all necessary medical and employment documentation is accurately presented.
Federal Union Representation
At Pines Federal, we have more than two decades of experience providing counsel for federal unions. Our founding attorney, Eric L. Pines, Esq., serves as in-house counsel for the largest federal local in the U.S., AFGE Local 1923 in Maryland, as well as for the federal unions for VA hospitals and Army Depots.
Pines Federal provides comprehensive legal services with a sole focus on representing federal labor unions and federal employees. Our experience includes representing Unions ranging from AFGE, NFFE, NTEU, and IAM. We offer scalable monthly contracts to federal labor unions as well as individual case representation agreements priced according to the size of each Union’s Membership and the scope of services needed.
As your attorneys, we can help you with:
- Expert drafting of grievances. Quality counts when it comes to our pleadings. Together, we’ll craft grievances that are clear, legally sound, and effective.
- Effective representation at arbitration hearings. Because oral advocacy is another pillar of obtaining outstanding results, we’ll offer robust representation in arbitration hearings to make your voice heard.
- Drafting and litigating Unfair Labor Practices (ULPs). ULPs are one of the key pleadings for defending the rights of the union and its members against unfair practices. We can draft you a sterling ULP.
- EEO and MSPB case analysis. We’ll provide specialized analysis and litigation services for all EEO and MSPB cases.
- Assessing master labor agreement violations. Using our legal writing and reasoning skills, we’ll help you make sense of potential labor agreement breaches.
Beyond these services, we’re happy to offer advice tailored to your union’s specific challenges and opportunities.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Cases
Congress created Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws to help federal employees obtain fair compensation and stop wrongdoing. Unfortunately, EEO complaints are made to employees who work for the same agency, and they may discourage employees from filing complaints.
Moreover, employees frequently have to contend with brutal, incompetent, and sinister managers who make it difficult to fire a successful complaint. As if that wasn’t enough, many agency human resources (HR) leave much to be desired when it comes to the initial handling of complaints.
An experienced federal EEO attorney from Pines Federal will be a strong advocate and ensure complaints are addressed.
Our firm has represented employees in all types of EEO cases, including the following:
- Sexual harassment and gender discrimination,
- Retaliation for asserting EEO rights,
- Disability discrimination,
- Racial discrimination,
- Religious discrimination,
- Age discrimination,
- Pregnancy discrimination,
- Gender identity and sexual orientation discrimination, and
- Religious discrimination.
We provide comprehensive support throughout the EEO process, from the initial filing of a complaint to representation at EEO hearings, mediation sessions, and in federal court if necessary. Our goal is not only to address the immediate issue but also to foster a fair and equitable work environment for our clients.
Federal Whistleblower Defense
The federal government, at least in policy, encourages employees to notify federal representatives or certain designated persons regarding unlawful conduct or practices by the employer. Anyone disclosing a wrongdoing should not be subjected to any negative actions because of their courage to step forward.
Unfortunately, the reality is that retaliation for whistleblowing is quite common.
Examples of typical whistleblower disclosures include:
- Rules or regulations violations,
- Gross mismanagement,
- Abuse of authority, and
- Substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Anyone experiencing negative changes in the work environment or job duties after blowing the whistle might face employer retaliation. This can manifest as demotion, suspension, termination, or adverse employment action. The Whistleblower Protection Act and the False Claims Act prohibit these kinds of retaliation. Consequently, the whistleblower has the right to legal recourse against anyone punishing them for bringing concerns to light.
More specifically, you can file a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) or your agency’s inspector general. If the responsible agency cannot resolve your complaint at this level, OSC will escalate it to the MSPB or the relevant courts.
Our whistleblower attorneys can help you file your complaint within statutory time limits. We can also gather and present evidence that supports your whistleblowing complaint and negotiate settlements with your agency. At every stage of the process, we aim to vindicate your rights and get you the remedies you deserve. Potential remedies include reinstatement, back pay, and compensation for any losses you suffered because of the retaliation.
VA Employee Representation
VA employees fall into one of three categories: Title 5 (nonmedical), Title 38 (medical), and Title 38 Hybrid (combination employees including therapists, pharmacists, and vocational nurses). The laws and procedures governing these positions are unique. These job classifications determine how disciplinary action and appeals are governed as well as how appointment, advancement, leave, and hours of duty are handled. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for effectively traversing employment issues within the VA.
Typical civil service rules apply for Title 5 employees, which means they have access to the MSPB for disciplinary action appeals. However, Title 38 and Title 38 Hybrid employees are subject to different rules.
For example, disciplinary action appeals for Title 38 employees, for example, go before an Administrative Investigations Board (AIB) and not the MSPB. This process involves a hearing before a panel of medical professionals, which reviews the evidence and issues a recommendation on the disciplinary action.
Title 38 Hybrid employees navigate a mix of the two systems. This mixture often creates even rarer challenges when it comes to understanding your rights and the appropriate avenues for appeal. For instance, Title 38 Hybrid employees may have Title 5 appeal rights but wage and hour rules from Title 38. Having a VA federal employment attorney who thoroughly understands all of these situations is vital for overcoming adverse actions and protecting your career.
Comprehensive Experience in Federal Employment Law
Are you looking for a team of dedicated federal employment attorneys that serves San Francisco? We can help. When you hire a San Francisco federal employment attorney from Pines Federal, you hire a track record of success. Our attorneys will tailor a strategy based on the law and the facts of your situation in an effort to achieve the best possible outcome.