“When should I contact a consultant?” Should I wait until the Agency proposes an action or makes a decision?” What about for an EEO Complaint? Also, “Will my union pay associated fees or help me in any other way?”
As soon as possible. This is the same advice we provide to agency supervisors, managers, and executives concerning all aspects of employee and labor relations or EEOC matters. Typically, the earlier we are brought into a situation, the less costly it is for the affected employee (as well as more efficient) for usually one of two reasons. First, if we are brought in late, we often must “unravel” what has already happened or spend a large amount of time figuring out what has happened. Second, if we are brought in late, it is often difficult to apply corrective or preventative measures that may have resulted in a favorable outcome early on. Also, as you progress through an issue, whether part of a disciplinary process or through the EEO process, your options become limited; we would rather provide you a wider range of options when possible. Keep in mind, this same advice applies for contacting your union representatives as well (if you have one). In the end, when you contact a consultant can only be answered by you.
As for union assistance, it has been our general experience many unions will reimburse you for fees or even front consultation fees. Some local unions have contracted our services directly on your behalf even assigning a union representative to assist (it reduces billable hours). There is nothing that prevents any union from reimbursing you or paying fees upfront.
The contents of this website (InformedFED.com) are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. Consultants at InformedFED are not attorneys. They are senior level practitioners of employee labor relations and EEO. The contents of this website, and the posting and viewing of the information on this website, should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or employment advice in any particular circumstance or situation. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal or regulatory developments. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. InformedFED is comprised of independent senior level practitioners and consultants who are not employees of InformedFED.