We are some of the most sought after attorneys in the industry. We have worked hard to build a reputation as tough litigators who are passionate about our clients’ interests and will not stop until our clients are placed in the best possible position for success. We provide very honest feedback at the outset about your case and chances of success and continue with feedback throughout litigation as the case develops. This sets us apart from other law firms, since we will not accept a case that we believe lacks merit. If you have been wronged by your employer, standing up for your rights may seem intimidating. At the Law Office of Jonathan Bell, we understand the pressure that you are facing, and we are here to help. Mr. Bell and his team of experienced attorneys are dedicated to asserting the rights of federal employees nationwide and private sector workers in New York and New Jersey.
We are confident that no other law firm consistently gets similar results on behalf of federal employees to what we have obtained. Our firm has garnered a high level of respect from Judges, Agency Counsel, and peers in the industry.
Some of the matters in which we have assisted government employees include security clearance and background investigations (federal employees and contractors), employment discrimination, Office of Special Counsel complaints and whistleblower retaliation, proposed disciplinary and performance actions, Merit Systems Protection Board appeals, retirement and employment benefit matters, classification issues, and disability retirement applications. We have represented employees of many federal agencies, ranging from DHS, USDA, and DOD to USPS, FDIC, and NASA. Attorney Bell can assist workers in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proceedings, Oral Conference Hearings, Mediations, and in OPM matters. We serve federal employees nationwide and overseas. At the Law Office of Jonathan Bell, every client will be assigned a managing attorney, with a minimum of 10 years of experience who will supervise your case. We can handle your case from beginning to end.Advocacy for Federal Employees Facing or Appealing Disciplinary or Performance Actions
Federal employees may find themselves subject to agency disciplinary and performance actions. For some, this may come in the form of a proposal for a removal, downgrade, or suspension. If you are in this position, you have the right to provide an oral and/or written reply, as well as submit witness statements and other documentation. Employees must be afforded due process during certain proceedings, and they may be able to assert affirmative defense(s), such as discrimination by the agency, a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act (USERRA), and procedural due process errors.
It may be difficult for a federal employee to fight an unfair disciplinary or performance action on his or her own because of complexities inherent to the proceedings. These include nuances in the burden of proof that the agency must meet, depending on issues such as whether the employer is alleging misconduct or non-performance. Also, in many cases a group of mitigating factors known as the Douglas factors should be considered before a decision on a proposal is made. Some of the Douglas factors include the nature and seriousness of the offense, the employee’s past disciplinary record, and the consistency of the penalty when compared to other employees charged with similar offenses.
We can also assist federal employees with appeals from decisions of the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB), a board that was established as part of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA). The purpose of the Board is to protect federal employees from unfair or inappropriate employment actions in the federal workplace, specifically executive branch agencies. The Board must act solely on merit, not taking into account a federal employee’s race, age, disability, gender, religion, or other protected trait. Our attorneys can represent federal employees with MSPB cases pertaining to removal, suspension, involuntary transfer, reduced compensation and downgrades, involuntary retirement or resignation, unfavorable suitability determinations, and related issues.Wage and Hour and Other Employee Claims in the Private Sector
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as state laws, employees are entitled to receive a minimum wage from their employers. In 2016, the minimum wage in New York will increase to $9.00 per hour. There are, however, exceptions to this minimum wage requirement, for example for those employees who receive tips. Employers, however, must be mindful to follow the tip credit law and provide written notification of such to all applicable employees. Eligible workers also must receive overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours in a week, or 44 hours in some occupations. When a business violates their rights, employees can bring a wage and hour action to pursue what they are owed.
To avoid complying with the law, a company sometimes attempts to classify a worker as an independent contractor rather than an employee. A technical misclassification may not be used to deny an individual’s rights, if that person meets the definition of an employee.
Another common area where disputes can arise in the workplace is discrimination. These claims may arise under several federal statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). Workers in New York also can take action under state and city laws, which apply to a broader range of employers and employees than the federal laws.
Generally, a victim of discrimination must belong to a protected class. Some common examples include groups defined by race, national origin, sex, age, and disability. Discrimination can result from the improper treatment of a current employee (i.e. promotion, transfer, compensation, leaves of absence etc.), and it also can result from a failure to hire a qualified applicant. It is also unlawful to subject an employee to unlawful harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or status in any group protected by state or local law. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an employee for engaging in prior EEO activity.Protect Your Rights as an Employee by Consulting with an Experienced Attorney
If you need help fighting a disciplinary action or other workplace issue in New York, Washington, D.C., or elsewhere in the U.S., you should speak to a lawyer experienced in this area as soon as possible. To schedule a free appointment with the Law Office of Jonathan Bell, call us at (855) 566-2355 or contact us online. We have offices in New York, Washington, D.C., and Florida, and we are able to assist federal employees in any state nationwide. Let us put our accumulated experience practicing in this complex area to work for you.
Jonathan Bell, federal employment attorney, joined Dave Lucas on NewsChannel 8 ABC in Washington DC to talk about the impact of the government shutdown on federal employees.
Jonathan Bell began his career at one of the largest litigation law firms in New York. Despite gaining vast experience in multi-million dollar claims, Mr. Bell was dissatisfied with not being able to select his own clients and, therefore sometimes had personal conflicts in handling cases where he believed to be "on the wrong side." Thereafter, he started his own law firm, which allowed him to select his own cases, handling them with passion in realizing he has made a personal commitment to each client.