Federal Employment Grievances Procedures

The Negotiated Grievance Process

Every collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, between a union and agency provides for a mechanism to ensure the law and contract are being followed. That mechanism is the negotiated grievance procedure.  A grievance can have several meanings and is generally defined in the CBA between the Agency and Union.

A grievance typically involves any complaint filed by any employee, a group of employees, the Union and/or Agency concerning any matter relating to:

1. The employment of one or more employees;
2. The effect or interpretation, or a claim of breach, of a provision in a collective bargaining agreement; or
3. Any claimed violation, misinterpretation, or misapplication of any law, rule, or regulation affecting conditions of employment.

The scope of a grievance, who can file a grievance, how to file a grievance and when a grievance must be filed are all generally provided for in the CBA.  It is critical, therefore, that if you believe you have been subjected to any action and/or suffered from a personnel decision that should be the subject of a grievance that you read and review the grievance procedures set out in the CBA, contact your union and/or contact our firm immediately to discuss your rights.  Some examples of the most common types of grievances are disputes over tours of duty, working conditions, overtime and other premium pay, and appeals of disciplinary actions.

The Process of Filing a Grievance

While the procedures for filing and pursuing a grievance vary depending on the CBA, most grievance procedures include a one to three step process that requires the employee or union to file successive grievances.  In some cases, a grievance must be filed on a specific form; in those cases, forms are typically included in an Appendix to the CBA and the grievance should be submitted using that form.  If there is no grievance form, then a grievance can be filed in any format, but typically must be in writing.  Each successive grievance is elevated to a higher level, Agency official.

The step one grievance is usually filed with the immediate supervisor or lowest level agency manager that can resolve the dispute.  In some cases, the CBA will require the parties to meet and confer to try to resolve the dispute at step one; some contracts may require the parties to engage in an informal step prior to step one.

The time limits for filing a grievance also vary, but generally range anywhere from five to fifteen days to file each successive grievance.  At each step, the grievance will be reviewed by the relevant Agency official, who will issue a grievance decision, which then starts the clock for the next step of the grievance procedure.

Proceeding to Arbitration

If, after all steps of the grievance procedure, the matter has not been satisfactorily resolved, the union has the right to invoke arbitration.  Arbitration is the binding determination of a dispute, by an independent third party, or Arbitrator.  The Agency and Union agree to hand over the power to decide the dispute to the Arbitrator and to be bound by the Arbitrator’s decision.  Arbitration is an alternative to and is less formal than court action, but has the same finality and is binding on all of the parties.

If you would like to discuss the grievance process, or believe that you have a viable grievance call or email our law firm today.

Snider & Associates, LLC

Federal Laws That Protect Federal Government Employees

Federal employees spend a large portion of their lives in the workplace; so, it’s important for each individual to feel safe, protected, and respected each day.  While these factors can be interpreted differently for everyone, the law works to set a basic standard for all federal employees nationwide.  For example, employment discrimination is one of the main forms of mistreatment that’s universally intolerable and unlawful.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC)

While federal employees are protected under the law from discrimination and other forms of mistreatment, such as retaliation and harassment, this doesn’t stop all employers from mistreating their employees.  Through a complex complaints process, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) handles mistreatment cases that have already occurred.  Investigations are performed on every viable case.

We help employees who have been victims of mistreatment by their employers.  We can assist you in filing a complaint through the EEOC, stand by you through every step of the process, and, if necessary, escalate your complaint to a lawsuit. A federal employment lawyer from our team can ensure you feel supported, cared for, and heard.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the primary federal act established to protect employees from discrimination in the workplace.  This act makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of color, sex, national origin, religion, or race.  Many states reinforce and expand this discrimination law by making their own discrimination laws.

For example, the state of Maryland has a discrimination law that states that it’s unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry or national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or genetic information.

Other Antidiscrimination Employment Laws

There are other federal antidiscrimination laws in place that protect specific minority groups from discrimination in the workplace.  These laws and other labor laws can often be used to support your case when filing an employment complaint.  Some of the antidiscrimination statutes include:

* The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
* The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
* The Americans with Disabilities Act
* The Equal Pay Act
* The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

It’s important to note that antidiscrimination laws also protect employees against retaliation and harassment.  Retaliation includes any mistreatment from an employer that may be brought on because an employee took some action that the employer isn’t happy about.

Harassment includes mistreatment that makes the workplace feel hostile in any way.  While petty annoyances and isolated incidences typically won’t be considered worthy of a claim, harassment that effectively ruins the workplace environment will usually be found unacceptable under the law.

Reach Out to a Federal Employment Attorney

Speaking to an experienced attorney from Snider & Associates, LLC can help you better assess the mistreatment you’ve experienced and determine whether you have grounds for an official complaint.  In some circumstances, your complaint can be escalated to a civil lawsuit in which you may be able to obtain liquidated damages for your suffering.

If you’re ready to speak with a federal employment lawyer about your case in greater detail, call us to schedule a consultation.

Snider & Associates, LLC