Recently, a Federal employee argued the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) “abused its discretion” by failing to appoint (and pay for) an attorney to represent her.
“When should I contact a consultant? Should I wait until the Agency proposes an action or makes a decision?” Also, “Will my union pay associated fees or help me in any other way?”
The representation of federal employees in discipline and adverse actions is complicated. In our experience, most local labor unions are not technically prepared to provide such representation to safeguard an employee’s career and future financial security.
During the course of your federal career, you may find yourself the subject of a proposed agency action. Frankly, the longer your career and more complex your job functions, the greater this likelihood.
Rarely is the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as clear on other questions as they are with this question. Unless your Master Agreement or other negotiated instrument (such as a supplemental or local MOU) explicitly provides otherwise, the answer is an unequivocal NO.