Getting legal help

If you believe your rights have been violated, you should consider seeking representation. There are several places you may be able to find representation, described below.

The information on this page is current as of April 9, 2018.

Lawyers

Several law firms represent federal government workers. Some firms offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and whether the firm can represent you. After the initial consultation, lawyers typically charge an hourly fee. In some cases, a firm may offer a “contingency” arrangement in which you pay little or no fees unless you prevail in your case. Some firms or non-profits may offer free representation, referred to as “pro bono.”

This website is maintained by James & Hoffman, a law firm that represents federal employees, as well as private employees and unions. To speak with an attorney at the firm about whether the firm may be able to represent you, send an email to inquiries@jamhoff.com.

The National Employment Lawyers Association maintains a directory of lawyers who represent employees.

In some cases, you may be able to receive free legal representation through a non-profit organization. Some of these organizations focus on low-income workers, i.e., those whose income is below a certain level. Lawhelp.org can help you find legal aid organizations near you that offer free representation. The ACLU may provide legal assistance in some circumstances.

Unions

If you are represented by a union, your union may provide representation for claims to enforce your rights. Unions representing federal employees include The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)The National Treasury Employee Union (NTEU), The National Association of Government Employees (NAGE), and The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). We are not aware of any convenient place to check whether you are represented by a union. However, here is a guide to the jurisdiction of several unions representing federal government employees:

  • AFGE represents 700,000 federal and DC government employees at the Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, Social Security Administration, Department of Education, U.S. Mint, Defense Logistics Agency, Border Patrol, ICE, and other agencies. (Longer list here.)
  • NTEU represents 150,000 federal employees at the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of the Interior, Department of the Treasury, and other agencies. (Longer list here.)
  • NAGE represents employees at the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security, National Marine Fisheries, Department of Transportation, and other federal corporations and agencies. (List here.)
  • NFFE represents employees at the Department of the Interior, General Services Administration, Department of Defense (as well as Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and other defense agencies), Department of Agriculture, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Commerce, and other agencies. (Longer list here.)

Office of Special Counsel

For claims of whistleblower retaliation, you can file a claim with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which will investigate your claim and may decide to pursue the claim on your behalf. You can find more information about this process on this site’s whistleblower page or on the website of the Office of Special Counsel.

You do not need a lawyer to file a claim with the Office of Special Counsel, but a lawyer may be able to assist you during the process.

Disclaimer: This site is not responsible for any attorney’s advice that you receive from anyone contacted from the above directories.

[Image from pixabay user jessica45.]