Preparing a Response to a Proposed Disciplinary or Adverse Action
If an investigation results in a federal agency deciding you are responsible for some form of misconduct, they will issue an advanced notice of proposed disciplinary or adverse actions. Agencies are required to give you sufficient notice to review and respond to the allegations and evidence.
If you receive a notice of proposed disciplinary or adverse action, you should immediately explore hiring qualified legal representation to assist with your case. We can aggressively represent you and will do everything we can to prevent proposed actions from taking effect.
Disciplinary actions are less harsh and include suspensions of 14 days or fewer or a letter of reprimand. These infractions will nonetheless still appear on your OPF permanently and thus should be taken extremely seriously. Adverse actions involve suspensions of more than 14 days, demotions, or terminations.
Whether you are charged with an adverse or disciplinary action, you have the right to request all of the evidence the investigating agency used in deciding to propose the action. You will then have the right to mount both an oral and written defense.
Never prepare a formal response to proposed disciplinary or adverse actions without professional legal guidance. Your response will serve as the basis for your defense and may also be reviewed in any ensuing appeals. Our legal team can help you prepare your response and strategize on how to best frame your case.
Once the agency has reviewed your response, they will issue an explanation of their final decision. This could result in a proposed disciplinary or adverse action being abandoned, the action being reduced or changed, or the original action taking effect.
Appealing Adverse or Disciplinary Actions
You still have legal options should you receive an unfavorable decision. The infraction will be reflected on your OPF and can have long-lasting negative consequences for your career and reputation, so it is important to consider all of your legal options. Depending on the nature of the complaint, disciplinary or adverse actions of any kind can typically be appealed through a grievance process, the MSPB, or the EEOC.
More serious adverse actions can be challenged through the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). If the agency agrees to hear the appeal, you will have the ability to partake in a discovery process and secure any additional evidence that might be relevant to the case. The appeal will then be heard by an MSPB judge. Should this appeal not result in a favorable decision, we can assist in further appeals to the full MSPB or even the United States Federal Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
In addition to helping you remove adverse and disciplinary actions from your official record, successful appeals in some cases can entitle you to compensation. Reversals of disciplinary or adverse actions involving suspensions without pay, demotions, or terminations can result in the recovery of back pay and benefits, restoration of your position, and reimbursements for legal fees.
Our federal employment attorneys at Legal Lion Employment Law Firm can help you understand and assert your legal rights throughout the investigation, disciplinary, and appeals processes. We are compassionate to how stressful and terrifying it can be to learn you are under investigation. Our team has a full understanding of federal employment law and will do everything possible to ensure that your rights and career are protected.