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In the BLOG

How to file an MSPB appeal

Most federal employees have the right to file an MSPB appeal if they are removed, demoted or suspended for more than 14 days.  You can file an MSPB appeal electronically by going to and clicking on “file appeal” in the Quick Links.  The electronic filing process will take you through the information that you need to provide for the appeal.

Do I have the right to file an MSPB appeal?

Generally, you have the right to file an MSPB appeal if you have been removed from your job, demoted or if you received a suspension for more than 14 days.  However, not all employees have the right to file an MSPB appeal.  For example, you do not have the right to file an appeal if you are a probationary employee. In addition, employees of certain agencies, such as the intelligence agencies, are excluded from filing an appeal.  Employees who do not have the right to file an MSPB appeal may be able to file a complaint with the agency’s EEO office, if they believe the adverse action was based on discrimination or a grievance.  In most cases, the adverse action letter will tell you what your appeal rights are.

When do I have to file?

You must file within 30 days from the effective date of the adverse action.  However, you can’t file an appeal until after the effective date.    Therefore, if your removal does not become effective until a date in the future, you must wait until that date passes before filing your appeal.

What are the steps in the appeal process?

After you file your appeal, an administrative judge will issue an order directing the agency to file certain documents and directing the parties to engage in discovery such as interrogatories, requests for production of documents and depositions.  The judge will also give the parties the opportunity to engage in mediation in order to try to settle the case. Following the discovery period, the judge will schedule the hearing if you requested one.  Some appeals are decided on the record.

How long will the appeal take?

The appeal process is supposed to take 120 days; however, in our experience, it often takes longer.  For example, if the parties decide to engage in mediation, the case could be stayed during the mediation period.  The process could also take longer if there are jurisdictional issues that the judge needs to consider at the outset.

Do I need an attorney to file an MSPB appeal?

While you do not need an attorney to file an MSPB appeal, it is always a good idea for an experienced attorney to represent you during the appeal process.  An attorney can help you formulate your defenses to the adverse action, which must be included in your appeal, as well as conduct discovery and the hearing.  Sometimes it is best not to go to hearing but instead have the judge decide the case on the record.  An experienced attorney can help you decide whether a hearing would be beneficial in your case. If you have received a removal decision, a demotion or a suspension for more than 14 days, or have questions about MSPB’s appeal process, Alan Lescht and Associates can help.  We represent federal sector employees nationwide and around the world in MSPB appeals, as well as federal employees facing discipline.

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