About the Merit Systems Protection Board

What to do if you have been unjustly terminated from federal employment

Losing a job is always stressful and unpleasant, but it is especially difficult when you have been unjustly terminated. If you are a federal career employee who has completed the probationary employment period, then you have certain protections against unjust terminations. For example, your employer cannot fire you for discriminatory reasons, your employer cannot fire you for poor performance without giving you the required opportunities to improve your work, and your employer cannot fire you in retaliation for exercising your legal rights. If you have been unjustly terminated, then you may have the right to appeal your termination and to seek justice.

Hire an Employment Law Attorney

They say it is hard to fight city hall. Well, it is even more difficult to fight the federal government. If you have been terminated, then you can be sure that the government is going to stand by its decision and defend itself if you appeal. That does not mean, however, that you cannot win a case if you have been unjustly terminated. It does likely mean, however, that you are going to need help.

An experienced employment law attorney can help you at each stage of your appeal. For example, your lawyer can contact the agency from which you were terminated and represent you in internal appeal proceedings, if applicable to your situation. If that is not an option, or if you are unsuccessful in exercising that option, then an employment law attorney can represent you in an appeal to the appropriate government agency which has jurisdiction to hear your appeal and to federal court, if necessary.

Where to Appeal

Generally, you have the right to appeal to:

The agency from which you were fired: Most agencies have internal procedures for appeal. For example, you may be able to seek a review from the agency’s inspector general or another official. It is important to present a well thought out and documented appeal that explains why your termination was unjust.

The MSPB, EEOC, or other federal agency with authority to hear your appeal:A quasi-independent federal agency such as the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), may have also have jurisdiction to hear your appeal. If you appeal to the MSPB, for example, then you can enter the MSPB appellate mediation program or request that an MSPB administrative law judge decide your claim.

Federal Court: You may have the right to appeal the decision of the MSPB, EEOC or other federal agency in federal court.

Remember, your job as a federal employee is valuable to you. Not only does it provide you with regular wages but it also provides you with health insurance, retirement benefits, paid time off, and other employee benefits that may be difficult to match in the private sector. Therefore, many employees find their federal jobs worth fighting for – especially if they were unjustly terminated and did nothing that gave their federal employer the legal right to end their employment position.