Disciplinary and Performance Actions
One demotion, suspension or removal does not just affect your current livelihood. It also has the potential to completely ruin your chance at gainful, fulfilling employment in the future. With so much at stake, it is imperative that you work with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you get your job back.
Each of our attorneys at The Bell Law Group, PLLC, has more than 10 years of experience handling federal employee law matters. We are especially suited to handle disciplinary and performance actions as we have pursued an innumerable amount of these cases before the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB).Using the Douglas Factors to Fight Proposals for Suspension or Removal
We craft persuasive arguments using the Douglas factors, or mitigating factors, to seek a reduction or dismissal of a proposed adverse action against our federal employee clients. These factors include:
- The employee’s past employment records, including disciplinary records, length of service, performance ratings and awards
- The consistency of the penalty with regard to applicable penalty tables and the penalties applied to other employees in similar situations
- The effect the purported offense has had on the employee’s work performance
- The ability of the employer to rehabilitate the employee or offer alternative sanctions
We understand that the goal here is to reduce or eliminate the disciplinary or performance-based adverse action. We will do everything in our power to get your agency to dismiss the suspension or removal proposal. In the event that this doesn’t happen, we will pursue additional reviews and appeals as far as possible.Misconduct vs. Non-Performance Allegations
The burden of proof that the agency must show in support of its allegations depends on the type of allegation that led to your removal, demotion or suspension:
- Misconduct allegations require the agency to prove that misconduct by a preponderance of the evidence. This generally means that the agency must show that the misconduct more than likely happened (a 51% or greater likelihood).
- Non-performance allegations require a considerably lower burden of proof, called substantial evidence. As this burden of proof weighs heavily in favor of the agency, the employee must put forth greater evidence that shows that non-performance is a non-issue.
We can help you understand which burden of proof applies in your situation and what we must do to build a comprehensive, persuasive case to support your claim.
Receiving a Proposal for a Removal, Downgrade, or Suspension is a traumatic experience, usually exemplifying the lowest point in a Federal Employee’s career, and sometimes even his or her life. If the Proposal is for Removal, the stress is amplified in that an entire career, and everything one has worked for, is now in real jeopardy.
At this office, we understand the seriousness of such an action and do everything in our power to fight the Proposal. We are knowledgeable and experienced attorneys and have learned “tricks of the trade” that no other firms would know unless well versed in the field. We think creatively, and often advise our clients to take steps to proactively defend against these actions.
What distinguishes this firm from others is that our primary attorneys who work here have over a decade of experience in all matters concerning disciplinary actions, performance actions and the Merit Systems Protection Board.
We know your rights, including your right to be represented by an attorney, to review the materials relied upon, to submit an Oral Reply and a Written Reply, and to submit witness statements. We understand all Due Process violations, as well as other Affirmative Defenses such as USERRA, Discrimination, and how these defenses can be used in responding to the Proposal.
Additionally, in Responding to a Proposal, this firm has complete knowledge of the different burdens of proof the Agency has in trying to substantiate the charge. For example, the burden of proof is different for actions based on alleged misconduct as opposed to alleged non-performance. Normally, we can utilize this information to explain to the Deciding Official how the Agency’s charges and specification cannot be sustained.
In submitting our reply, we provide an extensive Attorney Brief that goes through the Douglas Factors, which are mitigating factors and must be properly analyzed before a Decision on a Proposal is rendered.
We have successfully argued these cases, getting Proposals for Removal, Downgrades, Suspensions, etc. significantly reduced or thrown out all together. We have represented GS-05s all the way up to SES. We take these cases very seriously in that fighting these cases at the lowest level can save your job with the least expense and heartache. During the time you are fighting the proposal, you are still on paid status. If removed, you are no longer on paid status even if fighting the matter at the MSPB.
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Discuss Your Adverse Disciplinary or Performance Action With Our Legal Team
Based in Washington, D.C., our federal employee law attorneys at The Bell Law Group, PLLC, are available to represent clients across the U.S. We have used our more than 100 years of combined legal experience to help our clients achieve their federal employment goals. Let us seek to do the same for you. Call us at 855-JON-BELL or send our employee law firm an email to discuss your particular concern. We are here to help.