Discrimination |
June 22, 2021

Government Employee Rights

All individuals employed by the United States government, a state, a local county or city, or other public sector employers, including the transportation agencies or school districts, are classified as public sector or government employees. As such, they have the same employment rights afforded to private or non-government employees but are provided further protections against specific unlawful practices. To find out more about your rights as a government employee, consulting with a reputed California employment lawyer is recommended. 

The Rights of Every Employee

All employees, whether working for the government or a private employer, are legally entitled to

  • Not be discriminated against, treated less favorably, harassed due to race, religion, color, disability, age, national origin, genetic history, or sex, which includes pregnancy, gender identity and expression, or sexual orientation.
  • Be paid equally for equal job duties.
  • Expect that all genetic or medical information they share with employers will remain confidential.
  • Obtain reasonable accommodations that are required due to their religious beliefs or medical conditions, as required under the law. 
  • Report any instance of discrimination, engage in an investigation or file a lawsuit regarding discrimination, or oppose discrimination, such as threatening to file a complaint about discrimination, without fear of being punished or retaliated against. 

Special Protections for Government Employees

Besides the protections mentioned above, other laws that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) enforce further protect government employees from specific practices. Under the US Code, any government employee who is authorized to approve or recommend, take, or direct other employees to take personnel actions cannot: 

  • Consider or solicit employment recommendations founded on factors not related to records or personal knowledge of job-related characteristics or abilities.
  • Willfully deceive or stop an employee’s right to apply or compete for a job opportunity.
  • Force the political activity of employees or retaliate against employees who refuse to participate in political activity.
  • Engage in or promote nepotism. 
  • Bestow unauthorized advantage or preference to other employees to impede or improve other applicants’ or employees’ employment prospects.
  • Influence employees to withdraw their applications for a job opportunity to impede or improve the employment opportunities of other employees.
  • Enforce or implement a nondisclosure policy or agreement lacking notification regarding whistleblower protections and rights.
  • Violate the preference requirements of veterans.
  • Discriminate against employees due to conduct that does not negatively impact work performance
  • Retaliate against applicants or employees who have exercised their right to complain, testified or helped another individual in exercising such rights, refused to follow an order that’s against the law, or cooperated with the Special Counsel or Inspector General. 
  • Take personnel actions against employees, which violates a regulation, rule, or law that imposes a merit systems principle.

Consult with an Experienced California Employment Lawyer Now

If you suspect that your rights as an employee have been violated, talk to a California employment lawyer as soon as possible. One of our lawyers here at Minnis & Smallets will help you figure out the facts of your case and the best legal options available to you. Fill out our online form or get in touch with us by phone to schedule to arrange your appointment.