Legal Articles

Court-Ordered Benefits

Divorce and Federal Employee Retirement Benefits

Kimberly H. BerryCourt-Ordered Benefits

Federal employees and their spouses should be aware of the special rules governing federal retirement benefits while negotiating the terms of their divorce.

Creditable Service

Redeposit Issues Affecting Federal Employee Annuitants

Kimberly H. BerryCreditable Service

Former federal employees who retire prior to reaching the minimum retirement age or required length of service and withdraw from their retirement contributions based on misinformation can potentially redeposit their retirement contributions.

Disability Retirement

5 Important Questions to Consider Before Applying for OPM Disability Retirement

Kimberly H. BerryDisability Retirement

The following five questions identify a few of the initial considerations that federal employees should examine when determining whether they should pursue OPM disability retirement.

Disability Retirement in the Federal Sector

Kimberly H. BerryDisability Retirement

Federal employees considering disability retirement should seek legal advice early to avoid potential mistakes.

Discrimination and EEO

How do Employees Prove a Hostile Work Environment?

John V. BerryDiscrimination and EEO

Hostile Work Environment claims for employees are discussed in this article.  

Changes to Employment Sexual Orientation Laws and Enforcement

John V. BerryDiscrimination and EEO

Until the last few years, employees had very few, if any, protections from discrimination in the workplace due to their sexual orientation. However, there have been some significant changes to sexual orientation discrimination laws and enforcement in recent years.

Federal Adverse and Disciplinary Actions

Responding to Proposed Disciplinary Actions

John V. BerryFederal Adverse and Disciplinary Actions

When federal employees receive proposed disciplinary actions, there are a number of important issues that they must consider before submitting a response.

Indefinite Suspension for Federal Employees

John V. BerryFederal Adverse and Disciplinary Actions

Federal employees facing indefinite suspension without pay must be provided with a written notice, an opportunity to respond, and due process.

Performance Improvement Plans for Federal Employees

John V. BerryFederal Adverse and Disciplinary Actions

Federal employees facing a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) should take the process very seriously.

The Douglas Factor Defense for Federal Employees

John V. BerryFederal Adverse and Disciplinary Actions

One of the most important areas in defending federal employees in agency disciplinary and adverse action cases involves arguing the application of the Douglas factors.

Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA)

Could You Be In The Wrong Federal Retirement System?

Kimberly H. BerryFederal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA)

Federal Erroneous Retirement Coverage Corrections Act (FERCCA) errors can arise when a federal employee experiences a break in service, especially during the mid-1980s when the Federal Employees Retirement Systems (FERS) plan was created. 

Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

Are You Representing Yourself At The MSPB?

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

Federal employees who represent themselves in their own Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal should know that the process is very similar to court proceedings and has a number of legal technicalities. 

The Importance of Discovery During an MSPB Appeal

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

It is important for a federal employee to take advantage of the discovery process during an MSPB appeal by utilizing Production Requests.  The amount of information that one can uncover through this process can make all the difference in pursuing a successful appeal.

What to Expect During an MSPB Hearing

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

This article focuses on what federal employees can expect during a typical MSPB hearing.

Due Process Issues in MSPB Cases for Federal Employees

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

Before federal employees can be disciplined for alleged misconduct or performance deficiencies, they are entitled to due process of law.

The MSPB Pre-Hearing Process

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

During the litigation of MSPB appeals, the pre-hearing written submission and pre-hearing conference are important.

Appealing a Final Federal Agency Decision: MSPB vs. Arbitration

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

When federal employees receive a final federal agency decision sustaining a removal or significant suspension of 15 days or more, there are two possible options if they want to appeal the final decision.

Taking Depositions of Relevant Witnesses at the MSPB

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

Deposing key witnesses during an MSPB appeal can potentially increase a federal employee’s ability to obtain a positive settlement or hearing result in a case if important facts are uncovered during the process.

A Federal Employee’s Guide to Burden of Proof Issues at the MSPB

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

It is important for federal employees to understand how a federal agency will attempt to prove its allegations against them during an MSPB Appeals hearing process.

The Completion and Submission of an MSPB Appeal

John V. BerryMerit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

Federal employees who plan to initiate an MSPB appeal should file in a timely manner and follow proper guidelines.

MSPB Retirement Appeals

MSPB Takes Action Where OPM Fails to Issue Final Decision in Retirement Case

Kimberly H. BerryMSPB Retirement Appeals

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) recently held that when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) fails to issue a final appealable decision, engaging in substantial delays, the MSPB may be able to hear the appeal on the merits without waiting for a formal decision from OPM.

Security Clearance

The Whole-Person Concept in Security Clearance Cases

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

Understanding the Whole-Person Concept in Security Clearance Cases

Responding to the Statement of Reasons in a Security Clearance Matter

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

Responding in a timely and accurate fashion to a Statement of Reasons can provide a federal employee or government contractor with the best opportunity to mitigate security concerns raised in connection with a security clearance.

Security Clearance: The Duty to Self-Report

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

Federal employees and contractors holding a security clearance have a duty to self-report serious security concerns or they will risk losing their security clearance.

Disclosing Criminal Violations in the Security Clearance Process

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

Federal agencies may consider disclosing an individual’s criminal violations to law enforcement if investigators or polygraphers come across them in the security clearance process.

Psychological Conditions and Security Clearances

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

There are a number of security concerns relating to psychological conditions that can be potentially mitigated if the right evidence is presented.

Requesting Reconsideration After a Security Clearance is Denied

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

When federal government contractors lose their security clearance or are unsuccessful in obtaining one, the most common question they ask is “When can I reapply for one?”

8 Tips for the Security Clearance Process

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

8 tips for federal employees and government contractors when facing security clearance issues.

Meeting With Security Clearance Investigators

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

Preparation for the initial security clearance meeting with an investigator can make the difference between a government contractor/federal employee successfully obtaining a security clearance or being denied a security clearance.

A Summary of the Security Clearance Appeals Process

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

When an individual receives a security clearance denial, there are a number of appellate options for federal employees and government contractors.

Seeking Information Regarding Security Clearance Incident Reports

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

When government contractors and federal employees encounter problems in attempting to resolve Joint Personnel Adjudication System (JPAS) Incident Reports, the first step is to formally request a copy of all of their security documents.

Polygraph Examinations for Federal Employees and Contractors

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

Federal employees and government contractors may be expected to undergo a polygraph examination in connection with their security clearance process.

The Importance of Properly Completing Security Clearance Forms

John V. BerrySecurity Clearance

When security clearance issues arise or if there is reason for concern when completing a security clearance application, individuals should seek advice from an attorney prior to submitting the application.

Suitability

Keys to Suitability Appeals for Federal Employees and Applicants

John V. BerrySuitability

Representing federal employees and applicants in suitability appeals

Filing Sexual Harassment Complaints in Virginia

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

Filing complaints of sexual harassment for Virginia employees.

Final Wages Owed to Virginia Employees Must Be Paid

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

In Virginia, final wages to former employees must be paid in a timely manner.

Fairfax County Office of Human Rights Complaints

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

This article discusses the legal issues that arise for employees in Fairfax County filing discrimination complaints before the Fairfax County Office of Human Rights.

Employee Access to Personnel Files in Virginia

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

This article discusses the ability of employees in Virginia to review and/or obtain a copy of their personnel file. 

Virginia Non-Compete Agreements for Employees

Kimberly H. BerryVirginia Employment Law

This article discusses the legal issues that arise for Virginia employees faced with signing a non-compete agreement.

Wrongful Termination in Virginia

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

A number of legal issues arise for Virginia employees when they face wrongful termination.

8 Tips When Facing Virginia Employment Law Problems

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

It is important for employees who are experiencing workplace problems in Virginia to keep focused while issues are developing and to follow 8 general guidelines.

Virginia’s Grievance Process for State Employees

John V. BerryVirginia Employment Law

Employees who are employed by an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia and file an initial grievance to resolve an employment dispute will proceed through a 3-step grievance process.

Whistleblower and Office of Special Counsel

Filing Complaints at the Office of Special Counsel

John V. BerryWhistleblower and Office of Special Counsel

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) principally investigates complaints filed by federal employees involving prohibited personnel practices and Hatch Act violations.

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