Understanding Individual Right of Action Appeals

Individual right of action (IRA) appeals allow an individual the right to appeal a decision or action that affects a federal employee’s personal rights or interests. If a government agency takes an action that adversely affects an individual’s rights or interests, that individual may have the right to appeal the agency’s decision to a higher authority or a court. This appeal allows the affected individual to challenge the legality or fairness of the agency’s action. 

In the context of civil rights, an individual might have the right to appeal a decision related to their constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech, due process, or equal protection under the law. They can appeal a lower court’s decision if they believe their rights have been violated. 

The specific procedures and rights associated with an individual right of action appeal can vary depending on the legal system, jurisdiction, and the nature of the rights or interests at stake. Our team of federal employment attorneys are well-versed in individual right of action appeals and have successfully defended before the MSPB on our clients’ behalf.   

Individual Right of Action Appeals Process

An IRA is a specific type of appeal that is often associated with whistleblower and other employment-related claims. The process for an Individual Right of Action appeal under the MSPB typically involves the following steps: 

Filing the Appeal: The appellant (the federal employee or applicant) must file their appeal with the MSPB in accordance with the deadlines and requirements specified in the regulations. This typically involves submitting a written appeal that outlines the issues and claims in dispute. 

Preliminary Review: The MSPB will conduct a preliminary review of the appeal to determine whether it meets the jurisdictional requirements. The appellant must establish that their case falls within the MSPB’s jurisdiction, which may include proving that they are taking protected action (such as whistleblowing) or asserting a violation of certain statutory rights. 

Discovery: Discovery is the process by which parties exchange information and evidence relevant to the appeal. This may include document requests, depositions, interrogatories, and other forms of discovery, as allowed by MSPB regulations. 

Settlement Negotiations: Parties may engage in settlement negotiations at any point during the process. Many cases are resolved through negotiated settlements. 

Pre-Hearing Conference: The MSPB may schedule a pre-hearing conference to clarify issues, identify evidence, and discuss other procedural matters. 

Hearing: If the case does not settle, a hearing may be held before an Administrative Judge (AJ) at the MSPB. The appellant, represented by an attorney if desired, will present their case, call witnesses, and submit evidence. The agency involved will have the opportunity to present its defense. 

Post-Hearing Submissions: After the hearing, both parties may submit post-hearing briefs summarizing their positions and arguments. 

Initial Decision: The Administrative Judge issues an initial decision, which includes findings of fact and conclusions of law. This decision may affirm, modify, or reverse the agency’s action. 

Petition for Review: Either party can petition for review of the initial decision by the full MSPB, also known as the three-member Board. The petition must identify errors of fact or law in the initial decision. 

Final Decision: The MSPB issues a final decision, which may affirm, modify, or reverse the initial decision. The final decision is binding unless appealed to a federal court. 

Appeals to Federal Court: If dissatisfied with the MSPB’s final decision, either party may appeal to a U.S. federal court, typically the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court reviews the case based on legal errors, abuse of discretion, or violations of constitutional rights. 

Individual Right of Action Appeals Attorneys

It’s important to understand your rights as a federal employee. If an adverse action has been taken against you, you have the right to appeal.  Individual right of action appeals can be filed only after going through a complaint procedure with the Office of Special Counsel.  

Our team of experienced federal employment attorneys have vast experience in individual right of action appeals before the MSPB. We stand ready to help you fight for your rights.  Contact us today for a consultation.  

What Makes Us Different

From EEO complaints to adverse actions, our experienced federal employment attorneys ensure your entitlement to due process and legal representation every step of the way.

Represent government employees at all federal agencies, nationwide and overseas

Highly-skilled MSPB appeals attorneys with a proven track record

Notable success in EEO complaints and appeals

Frequently Asked Questions

Federal employees are protected from discrimination based on sex, gender, color, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability, and have the right to file an EEO complaint against their agency should they face discrimination. Federal employees also have the right to due process before being subjected to an adverse action  

Yes, federal employees can sue for discrimination, but first you must exhaust administrative remedies, which includes filing a formal complaint with your agency and letting 180 days pass. In many instances, federal employees elect to pursue their EEO complaints through the EEOC’s hearing process instead of filing a civil action. 

Federal employees must initiate contact with an EEO Counselor within 45 days of any act of discrimination. After an informal complaint stage, you will be issued a Notice of Right to File a formal complaint, which will permit you 15 days to do so.  

Federal employees do not have the right to sue for wrongful termination the way private sector employees do, but most federal employees have the right to appeal a removal to the MSPB, which will adjudicate whether the Agency can sustain any charges raised against you.  

Yes, most federal employees can file a complaint against their agency with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) if they are facing whistleblower retaliation. If OSC does not accept your complaint for investigation and prosecution, OSC will issue you an Individual Right of Action (IRA) notice giving you the right to pursue corrective action at the MSPB. Federal employees do not have the right to sue in court under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Speak with an individual right of action Action Appeals Attorney today