Debra D’Agostino, a Founding Partner of The Federal Practice Group and leader of the firm’s federal employment law team, focuses on providing representation to federal employees worldwide in a wide range of matters against federal agencies, including EEO complaints and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearings, U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeals, U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) complaints, and replying to proposed adverse actions or disciplinary actions. She has more than 15 years of experience in this complicated area of the law and has obtained successful outcomes for her clients, including findings of liability in discrimination claims and reversals of adverse actions such as removals. Additionally, Ms. D’Agostino has represented clients in appellate matters before the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations, the MSPB, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal and D.C. Circuits.
Some of Ms. D’Agostino’s recent successes include the following cases:
Miskill v. U.S. Social Security Administration, United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, No. 2016-1598, (Decided July 20, 2017) Judith Miskill, who was represented by Ms. D’Agostino and Tom Gagliardo, AFGE Local 1923, prevailed in a challenge at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to an Arbitrator’s award sustaining her removal by the Social Security Administration for violations of the Agency’s time and attendance policy. Because the Arbitrator’s decision is not in accordance with law, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded the matter in a precedential decision clarifying the use of comparator information in a federal agency penalty analysis.
Appellant v. Central Intelligence Agency, EEOC Appeal No. 0120162226 (March 7, 2017) After the CIA dismissed the Appellant’s sexual harassment complaint for alleged untimeliness, Ms. D’Agostino successfully appealed the decision to the EEOC, which overturned the CIA’s decision to dismiss the complaint and ordered the CIA to investigate the claims.
Complainant v. Central Intelligence Agency, EEOC No. 570-2013-00431X (February 16, 2017) Ms. D’Agostino successfully represented a senior CIA employee who faced retaliation after reporting disability discrimination and harassment following treatment for cancer, in an administrative hearing before the EEOC. An Administrative Judge found the CIA liable for discrimination, and awarded appropriate relief.
Juel v. Department of Homeland Security, TSA, MSPB Docket No. DE-1221-14-0510-W-2 (December 12, 2016) Ms. Juel, a former TSA employee, blew the whistle on her management, which in turn removed Ms. Juel in retaliation for her whistle blowing. Ms. D’Agostino filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, and then an Independent Right of Action (IRA) appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board challenging the removal. Following a hearing, the Administrative Judge ruled in Ms. Juel’s favor and ordered corrective action and other relief as appropriate.
Shimko v. Central Intelligence Agency, EEOC No. 570-2012-0138X, (September 19, 2016) Ms. D’Agostino successfully represented a senior female employee who faced retaliation after reporting sex-based harassment, and then disability discrimination following treatment for cancer, in an administrative hearing before the EEOC. An Administrative Judge found the CIA liable for all claims raised, and awarded appropriate relief.
Complainant v. Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency, EEOC Appeal No. 012014863 (July 19, 2016) Ms. D’Agostino obtained a finding of liability against the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for pregnancy discrimination on behalf of a client who was denied necessary training as a result of her pregnancy, and was thus denied a lucrative overseas assignment. Ms. D’Agostino obtained this result without a hearing, on appeal to the EEOC after an Administrative Judge initially found for DIA on summary judgment.
Stewart v. Department of Defense, Defense Intelligence Agency, MSPB Docket No. AT-0752-15-0823-I-1 (May 9, 2016) Ms. D’Agostino successfully represented a Senior Intelligence Officer at USCENTCOM who prevailed at the Merit Systems Protection Board on her appeal of discipline for alleged misconduct. That same year, the MSPB ruled in favor of the Defense Department in 99.7 percent of the cases that it heard. The Administrative Judge ordered corrective action and other relief as appropriate, including the cancellation of a related reassignment.
Moncada v. Executive Office of the President, MSPB Docket No. DC-0752-15-0954-I-1 (April 26, 2016) An MSPB Administrative Judge ruled in favor of Mr. Moncada, who was represented at the Board by Ms. D’Agostino in an appeal of Mr. Moncada’s removal for alleged misconduct. Mr. Moncada was awarded reinstatement and other appropriate relief.
Miller v. Office of Personnel Management, MSPB Docket No. DE-0831-14-0340-I-1 (April 13, 2016) An MSPB Administrative Judge ruled in favor of Richard L. Miller, who was represented at the Board by Ms. D’Agostino in an appeal concerning Mr. Miller’s right to civil service retirement credit for civilian service time while he served in the armed forces. Following this decision, OPM appealed, and this matter is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Appellant v. DOD, MSPB Docket No CH-0752-15-0528-I-1 (February 26, 2015) An MSPB Administrative Judge ruled in favor of Ms. D’Agostino’s client who was indefinitely suspended. The MSPB determined the Agency lacked reasonable cause to indefinitely suspend the Appellant.
Ms. D’Agostino serves on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA). She is also a Sustaining Member of the District of Columbia Women’s Bar Association (WBA) and a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA).
Ms. D’Agostino earned her Juris Doctorate with honors from the George Washington University Law School, and her B.A. from New York University. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and New York state courts.