This is the next post in our series on the handling of wrongful termination cases involving federal employees. Our last article discussed the EEO process for wrongfully fired federal workers. It is important to understand that a worker who does not follow that process can lose their right to file a lawsuit. This is due to the requirement that one must “exhaust their administrative remedies before proceeding to Federal Court. In this article we will discuss specific issues which relate to matters involving discrimination. If you have been fired, and believe your rights were violated, then contact us to speak with a federal employment attorney.
It is important to understand that one cannot automatically claim discrimination simply because they were terminated and they are part of a protected class. If an employer can point to a legitimate reason for one’s firing, and the terminated worker was not treated differently than other employees, then the action will likely be considered lawful. Say, for example, someone is habitually late to work and violates other policies of employment. These are legitimate reasons for one to lose their job. Some people think that they have an inherent right to their job and that they can bring a case simply because they were fired. This is not accurate.
The most obvious form of discrimination occurs when a federal employer blatantly terminates someone due to their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Say, for example, the employer calls the worker a derogatory name and immediately fires them. Such “disparate treatment” of the employee provides an obvious case that should be taken to an EEO counselor immediately. If the worker’s job is not restored then they may be entitled to lost wages, the costs associated with retraining for finding new employment, as well as compensation for the pain and suffering associated with the incident.
The most common form of discrimination occurs when a federal employer or office manager puts a policy in place which is not explicitly discriminatory but has the effect of hurting a particular group. Such policies are considered to have a “disparate impact” on the class of affected individuals. Proving that the policy was meant to impact a particular class of people can require analysis of agency documents, emails, memos, and other records. Such matters often require an extensive investigation by the EEOC and discovery by your lawyer should a lawsuit be filed.
If you work for the U.S. government and believe you have been illegally fired then contact our office to speak with an employment law attorney. We have extensive experience in handling such matters and are prepared to assist you with the process. We will use your initial consultation to gain an understanding of what happened and to put a plan in place for resolving your situation. We understand that few things are as serious as one’s job. We will take your case seriously. Contact us today.