Legal Review Site Notice

The purpose of the Legal Review site is to supply substantive legal information of a
general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for directly applicable
legal advice. The legal information provided is not intended to be specific to any
particular facts and circumstances so should not take the place of consulting competent,
outside counsel who knows the applicable law.  Finally, users of this site should
not consider this to constitute an attorney-client relationship because we are unable to
represent anyone. (See "Advocacy vs. Representation") position paper also available on this site.


"Employees Removed for Political Activity Violation"

Government Employees Removed for Hatch Act Violations

The Office of Special Counsel, the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting violations of the Hatch Act restrictions that prevent government workers from participating in certain political activity, recently announced that severe penalties were imposed against two employees in separate enforcement actions.

An employee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was terminated for violating the Hatch Act by soliciting political contributions and inviting 63 people, including NIH employees, to a fundraiser at her home in Bowie, Maryland. She also made an online political contribution using her government computer while on duty and in her NIH office.

The second enforcement action involved a New Jersey state employee who had duties in connection with federally financed activities. This employee violated  the Hatch Act restrictions against running for partisan political office and pursuant to a settlement agreed to retire and be barred from employment with any state or local agency within the State of New Jersey for 15 months. For more information, see the attached OSC press release.

Details on political activities that public servants are allowed under the modern

Hatch Act. From the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.




                                   Tully Rinckey

                                        “Ask the Lawyer”   
                                                             By, Neil A.G. McPhie, Esq.

1. What do you do if you accuse an agency of racial discrimination and it responds with some bogus explanation?

2. Does a supervisor have to specifically threaten a personnel action for it to count as whistleblower retaliation?

I won my appeal of an adverse action, and I just received a notice stating that I am being “indefinitely suspended” because the agency is appealing the decision. Can the agency do this?

 I received a notice informing me that I am being disciplined for failure to follow the appropriate leave procedure even though I had the leave time available. Can the agency really fire me for taking leave that I had available?

5. I suffer from sickle cell anemia. Is this considered a disability under the Rehabilitation Act?

6. Ever since I blew the whistle, my supervisor has been reducing my work responsibilities and undermining my authority. Is this legal?  

Does the Rehabilitation Act protect me against my agency’s attempts to remove me because of my drug addiction?

8. I was arrested while off duty. Am I going to be suspended while my case is pending?

9Ever since my surgery, I have been having difficulty performing functions that involved lifting heavy objects. Can I get the agency to make co-workers help me with some of this heavy lifting?

10. I have been a wreck ever since my supervisor retaliated against me for previously filing a discrimination complaint. How much money can I expect to receive for the emotional pain, stress and depression my supervisor put me through?

11. My agency dismissed my race discrimination complaint. It said I failed to state a claim. What can I do?

12. How do agency deciding officials reach the conclusion that certain employees do not have the potential for rehabilitation? 

 What is the difference between the charges of failure to follow managerial instructions and insubordination?

14. I know federal employees can be removed for serious misconduct, but at what point does a minor offense become serious misconduct?
Am I allowed to use confidential personnel records to support my EEO complaint?

16. What’s the difference between the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?   

17. What happens if the agency is uncooperative in an investigation into my race
discrimination complaint?

Can an agency remove an employee for stealing government property that is relatively inexpensive?

19. I heard a manager at my agency is doing something illegal. If I report what I heard about his illegal activities, will I be protected against whistleblower reprisal?

20.  My agency had proposed removing me, but now it is offering to keep me on if I sign a last chance agreement. What do I need to know about this type of agreement?

21.  I was extremely depressed after my supervisor subjected me to disability discrimination,
so I was late in contacting my agency’s EEO counselor. Does that mean my case is finished?

22My agency has offered me a clean record agreement to settle my appeal to a removal action. Should I accept it?

23. If a federal employee can no longer perform his duties because of an addiction problem, can he apply for disability retirement?

24. I want to challenge my suspension, but I don’t want any sensitive personal details to be made public. can I file an appeal with the MSPB and remain anonymous

25. I think my agency is trying to make me take a fitness for duty examination in retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint. When are agencies allowed to order employees to take these exams?

26.  At what point would an employee’s venting qualify as a threat

27. When does a federal employee’s conduct amount to using a public position for private gain? 

I have diabetes. Does that mean my agency should provide me with a reasonable accommodation?

29. What does it mean if a federal employee has been charged with failure to fulfill a condition of employment?

30. How much trouble can a federal employee get into for accidentally failing to file his federal tax returns?

31. What are consequential damages and when are they awarded to federal employees?

32. How much trouble can federal employees get in for cursing in the office?

33. Can an agency punish an employee for doing something not specifically prohibited by a written rule?
34.  I’m a probationary employee and my agency is trying to terminate me. Can I file an appeal with the MSPB? 

               Tully Rinckey PLLC Has Partnered with Blacks In Government

Through our new partnership, Blacks In Government members are entitled to two free half-hour phone consults per year regarding federal employment, security clearance or military issues. Members pursuing claims receive a 10% discount on legal fees.

At no extra cost, BIG members will also benefit from:

• Federal career protection webinars

• Tully Rinckey PLLC Client Extranet

• Attorneys’ direct-dial phone numbers

• Google Wallet payment option

• Videoconferencing and Skype capabilities

• Live Chat feature on our Website

• An attorney on call 24/7

Call 1-888-529-4543 to learn more about our partnership with Blacks In Government and schedule your FREE consultation!

Let us provide you with personalized, professional, and affordable legal services.

1800 K Street NW, Suite 1030 | Washington DC |

                     Please click on the below links to review various videos

Tully Rinckey PLLC Virginia Managing Partner Neil A.G. McPhie, Esq. discusses the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board

Tully Rinckey PLLC Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Chair John P. Mahoney, Esq. addresses federal employee EEO rights

Tully Rinckey PLLC Of Counsel Attorney Christopher Graham outlines who can obtain a security clearance

Tully Rinckey PLLC Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Chair John P. Mahoney, Esq. examines whistleblower representation

Tully Rinckey PLLC Labor & Employment Law Practice Group Chair John P. Mahoney, Esq. delves deeper into federal employment law

                          Blacks In Government: Legal Representation vs. Advocacy

                                                  Ms. Ashanti Huey, ESQ
                               BIG National Legal Review Committee Chair