Government employees receive greater protection against discrimination than private sector employees do in many situations. They are protected against discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, and disability, like private sector employees. They also may be protected against discrimination arising out of parental status, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and certain conduct. Different procedures must be followed by government employees who have a claim of discrimination. If you are dealing with government employee discrimination, you should consult with the experienced Dallas employment lawyers at Rob Wiley, P.C.Federal Government Employee Discrimination
If you are a federal government employee, you may be able to seek remedies before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Whether you should pursue a remedy before one agency or the other can involve a complex analysis. There are cases in which you could file a complaint with either agency because it is a mixed case. You should be aware that you will not be able to switch back and forth between agencies; after you have picked one agency, you will need to see the claim through on that path. It is wise to retain an attorney with experience handling claims on behalf of government employees so that you can choose the best path to recourse.The MSPB
The MSPB protects the federal employment merit system. It resolves complaints related to prohibited personnel practices. It hears discrimination matters that count as prohibited personnel practices under 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b). Your federal government employer cannot discriminate against you based on your race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, handicapping condition, marital status, political affiliation, or on certain other grounds. You can attack these prohibited personnel practices in different ways. The Office of Special Counsel has the authority to investigate your allegations. If it cannot get a satisfactory correction of the practice from the agency at which it happened, it can ask the MSPB to grant a corrective action. If it proves the claim, the MSPB can order a corrective action. While investigating, the Office of Special Counsel could ask the MSPB to stay a personnel action to which you were subject.
The MSPB is authorized to discipline your supervisor or manager for committing a prohibited personnel practice. Once there is a hearing, the MSPB can impose a disciplinary action that ranges from reprimand to removal or debarment from federal employment for a maximum of five years, or it can assess a civil penalty of a maximum of $1,000.
Sometimes it is possible for a government employee who is subject to a prohibited personnel practice to bring an appeal before the MSPB on their own. It can hear and determine appeals from adverse actions, such as demotions, suspensions longer than 14 days, removals, furloughs for up to 30 days, and reductions in grade and pay. Often, if an agency takes an otherwise appealable action against you over which the MSPB has jurisdiction to hear an appeal, it can consider your claim of government employee discrimination arising out of a prohibited reason under 5 U.S.C. § 2302. This claim is considered an affirmative defense.The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Meanwhile, the EEOC is an agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). Title VII prohibits discrimination based on race, national origin, color, religion, and sex. Under Title VII, you cannot be terminated based on your race, for example. The ADA prohibits discrimination based on a disability. The ADEA prohibits age discrimination if you are 40 or older.
These federal laws enforced by the EEOC also make it unlawful to retaliate against a federal government employee. It is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for filing a complaint, getting involved in the complaint process in somebody else’s case, or opposing discrimination.
Usually, you will be given permission to pursue damages in a federal discrimination lawsuit if you disagree with the EEOC’s determination about your case. Sometimes government units participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR can involve mediation, arbitration, or expedited hearings before an administrative judge or hearing officer.Consult an Experienced Employment Lawyer in the Dallas Area
If you are a government employee who has been affected by discrimination in Texas, it is important to discuss your situation with a skillful attorney. The attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. represent people in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, Rockwall, and Ellis Counties. Call us at (214) 528-6500 or complete our online form.