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Federal Employees: You be the Judge


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Rivkah  
#1 Posted : Saturday, August 4, 2018 2:35:25 PM(UTC)
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Does anyone have a resource for attorneys willing to work on contingency in District Court?
frankgonzalez  
#2 Posted : Monday, August 6, 2018 4:03:56 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rivkah Go to Quoted Post
Does anyone have a resource for attorneys willing to work on contingency in District Court?
Good luck finding one! If a lawyer is any good, they charge from day one. If they are trying to break into a field of law (such as federal labor law), they might work on a contingency basis. But then you have someone who isn't experienced in the type of law you need...so, you may get what you pay for.

Without knowing the type of case you have, it is hard to otherwise advise you.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
Rivkah  
#3 Posted : Monday, August 6, 2018 5:01:13 AM(UTC)
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Disability discrimination
frankgonzalez  
#4 Posted : Monday, August 6, 2018 8:05:19 AM(UTC)
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If you are talking EEO complaints or MSPB complaint, the odds are against you finding one who will work on a contingency basis. I say this as the only way you can get attorney's fees is to win, and the vast majority of cases (97+%) are won by the agency, the odds of the attorney getting paid are fairly low.
You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
Rivkah  
#5 Posted : Monday, August 6, 2018 9:06:34 AM(UTC)
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Thank you, Frank.
oldschoolguy  
#6 Posted : Monday, August 6, 2018 1:31:45 PM(UTC)

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Yours:
Originally Posted by: Rivkah Go to Quoted Post
Does anyone have a resource for attorneys willing to work on contingency in District Court?

Mine:
The OFO might have informed you, "if you cannot pay the fees, costs, or security to do so, you may request permission from the court to proceed with the civil action without paying [...].  Similarly, if you cannot afford an attorney to represent you [...] you may request the court to appoint an attorney for you."

(Know that filing a civil action will also "terminate" the administrative processing of your claim.  And, maybe that's acceptable to you.) 
Rivkah  
#7 Posted : Monday, August 6, 2018 1:53:10 PM(UTC)
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I lost with the OFO and did not qualify for reconsideration, so District Court is my only option. That or give up.

They have a volunteer attorney program. They mandate a settlement conference. Once an attorney is assigned, you can't change without the judge's permission. There's no guarantee anyone will take the case or that they will take it on a contingency basis.

frankgonzalez  
#8 Posted : Tuesday, August 7, 2018 3:08:02 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Rivkah Go to Quoted Post
I lost with the OFO and did not qualify for reconsideration, so District Court is my only option. That or give up.
Should have said this up front. The odds of a contingency basis went from extremely slim to so close to zero you cannot see the gap.

What you are asking is for an attorney to risk their own money on a case that has already lost at the EEOC. Unless there is a smoking gun you just discovered or new case law decided by SCOTUS, why would anyone risk their money on your case at this point?

I'm not trying to be mean, but that is exactly the thoughts going through an attorney's head at this point. If you were at the beginning of the complaint...maybe. After all, they may be able to negotiate a settlement which includes fees and gets you to a better place. But now? After losing at OFO? What makes your case likely to win in District court at this point?

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
DroneBee  
#9 Posted : Tuesday, August 14, 2018 12:27:13 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Rivkah Go to Quoted Post
I lost with the OFO and did not qualify for reconsideration, so District Court is my only option. That or give up.



My advice is to give up, forget about all you went through, and live your life to its fullest from now on. Don't give these b*stards any more of your time or money. God Speed.
Hawaiiannative  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 3:17:30 PM(UTC)
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I would agree to move forward from the negativity. You probably won't get the perpetrators fired, and it is unlikely to generate a huge award. In addition, few to none attorneys will work on a case against the government for free. The agency has teams available to fight these types of attacks, it is a stacked deck. Not unlike stacking deck chairs on the Titanic during the shipwreck.
FrankJr  
#11 Posted : Wednesday, August 15, 2018 4:50:01 PM(UTC)
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The EEOC complaint process results in an additional 12-24 months. Ultimately employment will be terminated but the additional 12-24 months enables the employee to stage the next career move. The private sector uses mass layoff as opportunities to address individuals involved in EEOC complaints, as an example. Employment terminated via a mass layoff does not have the stigma associated with termination for cause. Legal counsel is of value but the $5000 - $10000 minimum is a high price to pay.
DroneBee  
#12 Posted : Sunday, August 19, 2018 2:31:00 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: FrankJr Go to Quoted Post
The private sector uses mass layoff as opportunities to address individuals involved in EEOC complaints, as an example.


The government uses reorganizations, reducing positions, etc., as a way to get rid of EEOC complainants, as well as firing. For anyone reading... DO NOT START AN EEOC COMPLAINT! All the hype you read from the agency about EEO matters is just to check the square. The agency will rally around the most horrible perpetrators and you will be left without a job. If you have a terrible work environment, get another job!



nightchop  
#13 Posted : Tuesday, August 21, 2018 9:29:39 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: DroneBee Go to Quoted Post
The agency will rally around the most horrible perpetrators and you will be left without a job.


This is true; however, I don't agree with the advice that you shouldn't file. If you feel your rights have been violated, absolutely take advantage of the resources available to you. Just embark on the path fully aware of the consequences, and be prepare to accept them.

I must say, DroneBee, this advice is disheartening coming from you. You spent years here looking for support, and when you got another federal job, we heard not a peep. Instead, you encourage people not to file. How about sharing how you persevered ans found another job despite the odds and show others the support you got while going through the process? Stop all the "sky is falling" rhetoric. It's not at all helpful. Most people know the odds are stacked against them when they file, and they do it anyway. Thank God for all the people who sacrificed their careers to do the right thing so legislation could be passed that enabled YOU to be gainfully employed again, instead of being marked and unemployed forever.
Rivkah  
#14 Posted : Tuesday, August 21, 2018 2:58:40 PM(UTC)
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Thank you night chop. I have already been constructively discharged, so there's not much more they can do to me.

I have been fighting discrimination for years and will not stop unless I run out of options.

If everyone that was treated poorly by management either accepted it or left, it would be so much worse for everyone. Quitting is not in my nature.
nightchop  
#15 Posted : Tuesday, August 21, 2018 5:26:45 PM(UTC)

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You're welcome, and I'm sorry it happened to you. I can relate.

I was railroaded, wrongfully terminated and had my federal career ruined in what felt like seconds because a senior manager targeted me. This person searched my name on the internet and found something I wrote shortly after college. Not only did they make this piece about them (a person I didn't even know existed), but they tried to spin it into a race issue and make it seem like I was the one with problem. How insane is that? They had no business conducting searches on me anyway unless they were part of the team doing my background check, but I digress. This person decided early on that they were going to show me who was boss. They may have also had a problem with the fact that they had no involvement (at least to my knowledge) in my hiring. I had at least two strikes against me before my EOD, and I had no idea what I was walking into.

I did everything to avoid filing a formal claim. I contacted the agency to get an internal investigation started, thinking they'd do some sham investigation that would come back: "no problem here". Guess what? They couldn't even be bothered with THAT. Meanwhile, a bad situation was spiraling totally out of control. This manager had all their underlings and eventually the entire office (including contract staff) against me. It was textbook workplace mobbing. Every mechanism the agency had in place to prevent these things failed. Every single one. I was in a legally hostile environment. From my standpoint, I had no choice but to file. It at least got the unstable manager off my back for a while (though they up'd the number of proxies they used to target me). I would absolutely do it all over again if facing the same situation. Getting that tyrant to back off reduced the massive amount of stress I was under. It was worth it for that reason alone.

I am not trying to come down on DroneBee, because he/she has helped me. But I think it's terrible to lean on people in this forum for support, ask them to post their success stories but not share your own. Advising people not to file adds insult to injury. You don't know what people have gone through. I was completely aware of the consequences of filing. I was at a new agency and didn't want to be labeled a troublemaker, but the agency left me with no choice. They put me in an impossible situation where their only solution was "be resilient." I'd like to see them be resilient while at the mercy of a manager who is allowed to break the law with impunity. This person took full advantage of a workplace culture where getting all your demands met, no matter how unreasonable or unethical, is a perk of rank, and what your colleagues and superiors think of you takes precedence over everything. This manager planned a well-executed smear campaign against me and succeeded, as I was terminated based on their lies.

It's one thing to warn others about the negative consequences of filing, but it's wrong to discourage them because of your fears. People going through this need all the support they can get, Many, many people with similar stories DO NOT talk about their experiences for fear of retaliation. So a situation where you already feel alone is made infinitely worse. I'd think a survivor would be more supportive.
Hawaiiannative  
#16 Posted : Friday, August 24, 2018 8:11:02 PM(UTC)
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The original question was how to find an attorney who would work for free. The answer is that it is almost impossible to even find one that you can pay, who will take on the government.

As for supporting others? I have posted, when you see the handwriting on the wall, bail. When you have the union on speed dial, and spend more time in mediation than working, leave. Make it on your terms, not theirs.
nightchop  
#17 Posted : Saturday, August 25, 2018 1:49:52 AM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Hawaiiannative Go to Quoted Post
As for supporting others? I have posted, when you see the handwriting on the wall, bail. When you have the union on speed dial, and spend more time in mediation than working, leave. Make it on your terms, not theirs.


When they've already begun trashing your OPF, there's no leaving on "your" terms. I DID try to leave. I started applying for new jobs two months in. We all know how difficult and long the federal hiring process is. I do not qualify for any type of preference. I was able to get interviews but couldn't land a new position. In hindsight, I believe senior management was badmouthing me to the federal community in the area (it was not a large metro). The most senior managers in my office were on a federal board with other agency managers. I remember having a really odd interview with another agency. It was totally off-script, and they asked an inordinate amount of questions about how well I get along with coworkers and what I think my coworkers would say about me. I had never had a federal interview (or any interview, for that matter) focus so much on interpersonal relationships. It was not a coincidence that the interview questions focused on the area my managers claimed I lacked skill (and were disciplining me for). The targeting manager from my office was going to ensure they had complete control of my career or, in this case, the lack thereof. I spent the first half of my time there trying to find a new job. That became impossible once the harassment kicked into high gear. It was about survival from that point until the termination.

No agency should get away with illegal terminations and ruining an employee's career because they don't want to take responsibility for a bad manager. This person represents the agency and gets paid six figures to lead--not create legal bills and a potential PR nightmare. Judging by my experience and their lack of decisions in the MSPB database, I get the impression that the agency does this frequently (terminate for dubious and/or illegal reasons). What a shame for an agency held in high esteem. If only people knew what was behind the veneer.

Edited by user Saturday, August 25, 2018 12:33:06 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

DroneBee  
#18 Posted : Sunday, August 26, 2018 11:48:21 PM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: Hawaiiannative Go to Quoted Post
when you see the handwriting on the wall, bail.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Per Federal Court - once you are bringing your case to this level, there is little chance of winning. "The odds against winning discrimination cases have some employee lawyers reluctant even to try." (https://wislawjournal.com/2008/09/22/plaintiffs-only-win-15-of-job-discrimination-claims/). So, it may be hard to find an attorney (other than one who just needs your money) to represent you, and, I would assume, zero percent of finding an attorney who would take a contingency due to the low "win" rate.

Just so everyone knows, my advice to go on with your life and drop complaints is to help the complainant. I've been through it all - my agency even stated in court that the agency purposefully destroyed files and altered files - and more. I had years of torment and brought this baggage to my family and friends, which hurt them. I was fired and all my work-friends turned against me. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. The chance of "winning" an EEO case is 0% to 2%, which are agency statistics.

The new report by EEO is really amazing. Instead of saying what all complainants want to know - what is my chance of winning? - the report goes on and on about how great the EEOC is - go to https://www.eeoc.gov/fed.../fsp2015/index.cfm#6.23; however, Figure 6. 19. Rate of findings of discrimination, FY 2011-FY 2015 (B15) shows the number - 108 wins of 6009 cases - that's 1.8% wins. That percentage should be front-and-center on the first page. Do not believe what it says on the bottom of your federal calendar - the EEOC is a total and complete sham. According to the EEOC, there are virtually no wins for the complainants, so there is no discrimination (according to the EEOC). The best advice I can give you, my friend, is to stop - let all this go - keep your money, hold your love ones close, be a good friend, and let God take revenge for you: "'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

Good luck and God Speed.

Edited by user Sunday, August 26, 2018 11:49:39 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

frankgonzalez  
#19 Posted : Monday, August 27, 2018 4:23:54 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: DroneBee Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Hawaiiannative Go to Quoted Post
when you see the handwriting on the wall, bail.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Per Federal Court - once you are bringing your case to this level, there is little chance of winning. "The odds against winning discrimination cases have some employee lawyers reluctant even to try." (https://wislawjournal.com/2008/09/22/plaintiffs-only-win-15-of-job-discrimination-claims/). So, it may be hard to find an attorney (other than one who just needs your money) to represent you, and, I would assume, zero percent of finding an attorney who would take a contingency due to the low "win" rate.

Just so everyone knows, my advice to go on with your life and drop complaints is to help the complainant. I've been through it all - my agency even stated in court that the agency purposefully destroyed files and altered files - and more. I had years of torment and brought this baggage to my family and friends, which hurt them. I was fired and all my work-friends turned against me. I don't want this to happen to anyone else. The chance of "winning" an EEO case is 0% to 2%, which are agency statistics.

The new report by EEO is really amazing. Instead of saying what all complainants want to know - what is my chance of winning? - the report goes on and on about how great the EEOC is - go to https://www.eeoc.gov/fed.../fsp2015/index.cfm#6.23; however, Figure 6. 19. Rate of findings of discrimination, FY 2011-FY 2015 (B15) shows the number - 108 wins of 6009 cases - that's 1.8% wins. That percentage should be front-and-center on the first page. Do not believe what it says on the bottom of your federal calendar - the EEOC is a total and complete sham. According to the EEOC, there are virtually no wins for the complainants, so there is no discrimination (according to the EEOC). The best advice I can give you, my friend, is to stop - let all this go - keep your money, hold your love ones close, be a good friend, and let God take revenge for you: "'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."

Good luck and God Speed.
Or it could be the majority of cases where there was potential to win at hearing, the agency settled. And settlements do not count as wins or losses for hearing numbers.

In my 20+ years in this arena, the vast majority of complaints fail due to the individual not coming forward in a timely manner, or fails to state something that is actual discrimination. I am not saying something bad wasn't happening, but simply that it wasn't illegal discrimination. Treating everyone badly? Not discrimination. Treating you badly because you are under 40...not illegal. And so on.

Sometimes a complainant is a winner...but if you hire an attorney, they will (or should) look at your case dispassionately and give you a good estimate of your chances of winning. If they say
"slam dunk! You have no chance of losing!!", I suggest you run far away as no case is that clear and judges and juries can be weird at times. If they say "I think you have a good chance at hearing due to.." and then spells out the theory(ies) of discrimination they think would apply and why the evidence supports this...then you may have a good attorney.

Plenty of good law firms out there: Gilbert and Assoc, Tulley Rinckey, Passman & Kaplan, and many others. Down side... plan on about $15-40K for a hearing. If you settle or win, you can get those fees back.

You should have voted Cthulu...the greatest of all Evils
nightchop  
#20 Posted : Monday, August 27, 2018 4:58:16 AM(UTC)

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Very true about the judges, frank. Speaking of which...the MSPB judge on my case is ACTIVELY helping agency counsel, to the point that the judge is basically rewriting my case to ensure an agency win. Not that I needed any, but it is further proof that the agency screwed up in the way they handled my situation. I am still trying to decide how I'm going to handle the issue with the MSPB judge. This person is completely out of line. I found a case of theirs that went to court. The litigant was pro se. I assume this particular AJ takes advantage of pro se complainants in this way, which is horrible. So much abuse of taxpayer money between the agency and MSPB in my case.

Even though you're pretty pro management (frank), I can at least appreciate that you do not actively discourage complainants from deciding what's best for them.

Edited by user Monday, August 27, 2018 5:03:53 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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