Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)
We have extensive experience litigating before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and focus on bringing stability to our clients’ professional lives by employing our in-depth understanding of the processes and attention to detail. We explore all options, using a professional approach to facilitate resolutions with agency officials while zealously litigating before the MSPB on behalf of our clients. We use this same zeal and professionalism when submitting petitions for review of initial Board decisions to the full Board. In addition to numerous resolutions that have protected our clients’ interests, examples of results of our litigation before the MSPB include:
Reversal of a suspension of a Assistant United States Attorney charged with committing professional misconduct during a high-profile prosecution of a United States Senator. Goeke v. Department of Justice, 122 M.S.P.R. 69 (2015);
Reversal of an employee’s removal when the deciding official considered ex parte communication in violation of the employee’s due process rights;
Reversal of an employee’s removal when the Agency did not prove the misconduct alleged and violated the employee’s due process rights by appointing a deciding official that made the risk of unfairness to the employee intolerably high;
Mitigation of an employee’s demotion when the Agency failed to establish that the penalty of expulsion from a training class and the resulting demotion was reasonable;
Award of back pay through enforcement of a contested interpretation of a settlement agreement; and
Enforcement of a contested oral settlement agreement with the Office of Special Counsel.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
We represent clients in appealing Board decisions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Notably, our appellate representation led to the precedential decision of Wrocklage v. Department of Homeland Sec., 769 F.3d 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2014). In this case, the Court agreed with our argument that the MSPB erred in sustaining an employee’s removal for the charge of Unauthorized Disclosure of a record protected by the Privacy Act when the agency did not prove “actual viewing or imminent viewing [of the record] by another.” The Court also agreed that substantial evidence did not support either specification of the agency’s “Lack of Candor” charge and that the penalty of removal was unreasonable for the remaining charge regarding improper possession of a record.
When an employee cannot appeal a disciplinary action before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), we advise and represent employees with respect to pursuing appeals of these actions through internal appeal processes, such as an administrative grievance procedure. We develop an appeal strategy specifically tailored to the forum, implementing an approach that we believe would be most persuasive within that forum in the particular circumstance. To do so, we assess not only the merits of the particular charge(s) and reasonableness of the penalty imposed but also the political environment and administrative context of the action to develop the most persuasive presentation.
Security Clearance Revocation Appeals
We appeal revocations of security clearances on behalf of clients to the designated authorities with the department. Each department of the federal government maintains discretion over the clearances it affords to its employees and its own policies and procedures for appealing clearance revocations. We have represented clients before several agency boards, including the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA), Personnel Security Programs within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Treasury’s Security Appeals Panel, the Office of Security (OS) for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Security Division for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
We represent clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pursuing claims of discrimination and retaliation when doing so is the best way to defend against actions that threaten our clients’ long-term career goals. We are a defense firm and are more often defending managers against claims that they have discriminated and retaliated against subordinates than pursuing these claims against managers, but we raise these claims on behalf of our clients when warranted and necessary to protect our clients’ interests. Our defensive perspective and experience brings sound judgment in knowing when and how to pursue these claims.
Office of Special Counsel (OSC)
We defend managers alleged to have committed prohibited personnel practices (PPPs), such as retaliation for whistleblowing or granting unfair advantage, as well as employees subject to adverse action in retaliation for disclosing wrongdoing. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigates and prosecutes such PPPs, and we defend clients targeted by such investigations as well as assist victims in requesting OSC to investigate and prosecute on their behalf. As with pursuing EEO claims, we provide sound recommendations as to when and how to pursue such claims.