Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – Age Discrimination in Law Enforcement

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

A recent MSPB ruling, Isabella, cited that the government could not discriminate on the entry age for federal law enforcement jobs. My agency is hiring persons into law enforcement positions past the age of 37 with no mandatory retirement age. However, I turn 57 next year and am being forced to retire. An employee who I supervise was recently selected to transition into a law enforcement position and is currently attending law enforcement school. He is currently 58 years old and, as such, will be past the age of when I must retire when he is just starting his law enforcement career; theoretically, able to go to the age of 78 before retiring with 20 years of law enforcement service.

Isn’t this age discrimination? How can MSPB and Congress allow age discrimination on one end and not on the other?

A:

Both the mandatory law enforcement retirement provision and the age discrimination in employment are federal statutes. The mandatory law enforcement retirement age is read as an exception to the ADEA.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.

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Q & A Session – Retaliation Complaint

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

After I submitted allegations of EEO discrimination and an informal investigation was completed, I was transferred to another agency for being disruptive and causing lack of productivity. That’s something I have never done. Can I hold the agency and it’s leadership accountable for not taking any action against my supervisor and transferring me?

A:

The EEO system will adjudicate your complaint. You also may file a retaliation complaint for your reassignment. The process is slow and imperfect, but it’s pretty much your most effective remedy and it may be your only remedy.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.

 

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Q & A Session – Mandatory Retirement

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

What is mandatory retirement? Couldn’t this be considered age discrimination?

A:

Age discrimination is a federal statute. Mandatory retirement for law enforcement and air traffic controllers is a federal statute. Yes, Congress is allowed to enact legislation setting forth discriminatory treatment for different groups of people.

 

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.

 

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Q & A Session – Termination Based on Insubordination

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

After working in the federal government as a contractor for nine years in an at-will state, I was terminated. My manager had made comments that I felt were distasteful, embarrassing, belittling, derogatory and threatening. I had not had problems with managers in the past. My manager began to take tasks away from me, removed my restricted computer access and became very angry when I asked for a task assignment in writing. I emailed HR and was told this would be in my file. I was then terminated for insubordination. Were my actions insubordination? Do I have any recourse?

A:

The facts you describe, occurring almost 1 ½ years ago, are beyond any time limit for recourse. It may be that there was little to be done anyway since you were an at will employee, but sometimes hostile remarks like those directed at you can be used to prove discrimination. But, the time limit for EEO has to be observed and you are too late.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.

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Q & A Session – Termination for Filing a Complaint

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

I filed a discrimination complaint and am in the discovery process. Can I be fired for filing an EEOC complaint?

A:

It is illegal retaliation to fire someone solely because he or she has filed a discrimination complaint. The burden of proof is on the person claiming discrimination. In other words, you must be able to overcome or disprove the legitimate reason an agency will undoubtedly provide for a removal action.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.

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Q & A Session – EEO Reprisal

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q:

What is it called when a federal manager tries to stop an employee’s attempt to file an EEO complaint? How serious is this type of violation?

A:

Trying to stop any employee from exercising EEO rights is reprisal, plain and simple. It’s a very serious violation and often easier to prove than the other types of discrimination.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.

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