Information


Rosemary Dettling

Rosemary Dettling

The Federal Employee Legal Services Center represents federal employees in EEOC and MSPB cases.

Federal Employee Legal Services Center
1629 K St., N.W.
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006

202-390-4741
202-379-9772

rdettling@felsc.com

http://www.felsc.com

About Me:

Recent Case Accomplishments:

JONES v. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Judge orders FBI to reverse termination and reinstate client.
On April 30, 2018, Administrative Judge Jeffrey S. Morris, from the Merit Systems Protection Board’s (MSPB) Atlanta Regional Office, reversed our client’s termination from the United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and ordered the FBI to reinstate him. Our client, an Intelligence Analyst at the FBI’s facility in Miami, Florida, was terminated for excessive absences. After a hearing, Judge Morris issued a decision reversing the FBI’s termination. Judge Morris stated the agency failed to prove its charge of “excessive absences.” There was no dispute that our client had absences from the workplace on the dates and time periods in question. There was also no dispute that the absences were unexcused. The Administrative Judge found in our favor, however, because the agency failed to show through testimony and/or evidence that our client was absent on the dates in question for “compelling reasons beyond his control.” The Judge stated that because the agency used the word “failed” in all of its specifications (which indicated an element of choice on our client’s part), the agency effectively eliminated any claim by the agency that our client’s absences were “beyond his control.” This case is important because it is a reminder that MSPB judges can only assess the specific charges before them. If, as here, the agency mislabels the charge or fails to prove each element of its charge, the MSPB will reverse the adverse employment action.

CARR v. NASA: $100,000 awarded for disability discrimination.
On January 24, 2018, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge Bryan M. Douglas, from the EEOC’s Birmingham District Office, concluded that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) intentionally committed an act of employment discrimination in violation of federal law. Judge Douglas found that NASA intentional discriminated against our client based on her known disability when it delayed approving her leave, failed to engage in the interactive process to discuss her disability limitations and multiple requests for reasonable accommodation, delayed accommodating her, and denied her request for telework. Judge Douglas awarded our client $100,000.00 in compensatory damages, among other relief.

MOORE v. U.S. AIR FORCE: U.S. Air Force guilty of sexual harassment, retaliatory harassment, and constructive discharge.
On December 15, 2017, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge Sharon Alexander, from the EEOC’s Washington Field Office, held that the United States Air Force subjected our female client to same-sex (sexual) harassment and retaliatory harassment. Judge Alexander held that the female manager made sexually inappropriate comments to our client on several occasions. Although it was brought to management’s attention, the Army failed to prove it exercised reasonable care to prevent the harassing behavior and failed to take prompt remedial action to remedy the harassment. Judge Alexander held that Army’s managers subjected our client to a hostile work environment. Judge Alexander stated the Army subjected our to increased and unfair scrutiny of her work and schedule, subjected her to unfair schedule changes, and made attempts to get her professional licensure revoked. According to the Judge, the Army went so far as to stymie her efforts to find a new job, by suggesting to her would be employer that she should not be hired, and by interfering with the credentialing process associated with a position she had already been offered. The Administrative Judge concluded that the harassment made our client’s working conditions so intolerable that she had no choice but to resign. In a rare finding, the Judge found the Air Force liable for our client’s “constructive discharge” from her job in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A damages hearing was held in April 2018. The parties are awaiting a ruling on damages.

TELESCA v. U.S. ARMY: Army ordered to reverse termination; client wins $65,000 and five years backpay.
On December 1, 2017, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge Ricardo Cuevas, from the EEOC’s New York District Office, held that the United States Army intentionally committed an act of employment discrimination in violation of federal law. Judge Cuevas stated that the Army unlawful terminated our client without first engaging in the interactive process to determine if her disability (dwarfism) could be accommodated. Instead of interacting with our client and determining if the Army could reasonably accommodate her disability, the Army unlawfully terminated our client, in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. AJ Cuevas ordered the Army to immediately reinstate our client to her job, pay her back pay and benefits dating back to the termination in 2013. The EEOC Judge also awarded her $65,000 in compensatory damages, among other relief.

LEWIS v. U.S. ARMY: Army found guilty of retaliatory harassment.
On April 27, 2017, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge Cynthia McKnight, from the EEOC’s Washington Field Office, held that the United States Army subjected our client to a hostile work environment and retaliation. AJ McKnight assessed the credibility of the witnesses and held that the Army manager demeaned, belittled, and humiliated our client during a meeting. AJ McKnight concluded that the manager’s actions would have deterred a reasonable person from opposing discrimination or participating in the EEO complaint process. AJ McKnight concluded that our client successfully proved that she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her participation in the EEO process. This is an important case because it shows that an agency can be held liable for harassment, even if only occurred in one meeting.

SCOGGINS v. U.S. ARMY: Judge ordered Army to reverse termination; client wins three years backpay.
On September 19, 2016, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) rejected the Army’s appeal and upheld the MSPB Administrative Judge’s finding of whistleblower retaliation. Our client worked as a Security Specialist with the Army’s Compliance and Surety Directorate of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity (BGCA), in Richmond, Kentucky. During routine security checks, he noticed serious security violations that compromised national security. He disclosed those violations to his managers. Instead of remedying the violations, the Army terminated his employment. The Administrative Judge who oversaw the case, Dorothy L. Moran, from the MSPB’s Central Regional Office, determined that our client made protected whistleblower disclosures to his bosses and to the Office of Special Counsel. Judge Moran determined that the termination notice and other personnel actions were directly related to our client’s protected whistleblower disclosures. After a lengthy hearing, the MSPB Judge held that the Department of the Army failed to prove that it would have terminated our client in the absence of the protected whistleblower disclosures. The Administrative Judge ordered the agency to reinstate our client to his job, pay him back pay and benefits, among other relief. See Scoggins v. Army, MSPB Docket No. CH-1221-14-0228-W-2 (2015).

THORNSBERRY v. U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: Postal Service found guilty of sex discrimination.
On September 7, 2016, Administrative Judge Vincent Hill, from the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, issued an Order Entering Judgment and Decision on Damages determining that our client was subjected to disparate treatment based on her sex when she was sent home and charged with leave without pay for a week. The Judge awarded her $10,000 in compensatory damages, among other relief.

DOHERTY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: Client awarded $110,000 in Compensatory Damages.
On July 1, 2016, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC or Commission) Administrative Judge Lisa D. Sirkin, from the EEOC’s New York District Office, held that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) subjected our client to a hostile work environment, sex discrimination, and retaliation. Administrative Judge Sirkin issued a decision in favor of the Complainant. She found in favor of our client on all issues brought before the Commission. Judge Sirkin found that the agency subjected our client to disparate treatment based on her sex. She concluded that the agency retaliated against our client for her participation in protected EEO activity. She further concluded that the agency subjected our client to a hostile work environment based on her sex and EEO activity.

CAROS v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Judge ordered DHS to reverse termination; client wins three years backpay.
Administrative Judge Michael T. Rudisill, from the Merit Systems Protection Board’s Northeastern Regional Office, ordered the Department of Homeland Security to reinstate our client after he was terminated. Our client was employed by the agency as a Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) Officer, GS-11, assigned to Dover Air Force Base, Dover, Delaware. By notice dated October 25, 2010, the agency informed our client that it proposed to remove him from federal employment for one specification of conduct unbecoming; one specification of false statements; one specification of lack of candor; and two specifications of failure to follow supervisory instructions. The agency needed to only win one specification to have the removal upheld by the MSPB. We aggressively litigated the case and argued that the agency could not prove any of the charges leveled against our client. We also alleged that the agency removed our client from his employment in retaliation for the filing of an EEO complaint of discrimination. A hearing was conducted on December 20, 2012 and January 9, 2013. On January 18, 2013, the Administrative Judge issued a decision REVERSING the agency’s removal action. Judge Rudisill agreed with us and concluded that the agency failed to prove, by preponderant evidence, that our client was guilty of conduct unbecoming, false statements, lack of candor, and failure to follow supervisory instructions. None of the agency’s charges were upheld. The Administrative Judge also concluded that the agency removed him from his federal position in retaliation for his protected EEO activity. See Caros v. Department of Homeland Security, MSPB Docket No. PH-0752-12-0402-I-2, Initial Decision (Jan. 18, 2013); Caros v. Department of Homeland Security, MSPB Docket No. PH-0752-12-0402-I-2, Final Order (Feb. 25, 2014).

GARRATY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Client awarded $35,000.00 in compensatory damages.
On November 8, 2015, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge Monique J. Roberts, from the EEOC’s New York District Office, held that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was liable for a hostile work environment based on sex and co-worker harassment. Our client had complained that the co-worker was engaging in inappropriate and bullying behavior, but the agency failed, at every single juncture, to investigate the allegations. The Judge concluded that the agency failed to take prompt remedial measures to end the harassment. The Judge also determined that the agency retaliated against our client after she engaged in protected EEO activity. The AJ awarded our client $35,000 in compensatory damages, among other relief.

WHITFILED v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: VA liable for same sex harassment.
On September 29, 2015, Frances del Toro, an Administrative Judge from the EEOC’s Washington Field Office determined that a manager at the Department of Veterans Affair’s Washington DC VA Medical Center sexually harassed our client and retaliated against him for engaging in protected EEO activity. In an instance of same sex harassment, our client’s supervisor told people he hated our client; told our client he would not receive a higher rating, promotion, or a cash award; and allowed two co-workers to sit in during his annual review. The Judge determined that the VA harassed our client when his supervisor gave him a poor performance rating, told people he terminate our client, and made inappropriate, explicit, and vulgar comments that were sexual in nature. The AJ awarded our client $17,000 in compensatory damages, among other relief.

FLORY v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: VA found liable in a mixed-motive termination case.
On August 18, 2015, Administrative Judge Dawn M. Edge from the EEOC’s Philadelphia District Office held that the Department of Veterans Affairs retaliated against our client for engaging in protected EEO activity when they terminated her employment.

GROGANS v. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: Client awarded $125,000.00 in compensatory damages and backpay.
On July 14, 2015, Administrative Judge Richard Schneider from the EEOC’s Washington Field Office found that the Social Security Administration retaliated against our client for engaging in prior EEO activity in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, when: 1) the agency subjected her to harassment and a hostile work environment from April 2008 until October 1, 2008; 2) From August 22, 2008, onward, management accused her of being confrontational towards a co-worker; 3) In September 2008, issued her a letter of warning; and 4) On October 1, 2008, the agency terminated her from her probationary appointment. The Administrative Judge awarded our client $125,000 in compensatory damages and ordered the agency to vacate the removal; expunge her records; award her backpay dating back from October 2008 until September 2009, when she found a new job. The Judge also awarded our client restoration of her leave, retirement benefits, among other relief.

RIOS v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE: Dep’t. of Commerce guilty of whistleblower retaliation.
On December 8, 2014, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) held that the Department of Commerce retaliated against our client for engaging in protected whistleblowing. Our client filed an IRA appeal in which he contended that the agency gave him a lower performance rating for rating year 2009 and did not support or forward his application for a noncompetitive promotion to pay band IV in December 2009 in retaliation for protected disclosures he made to the agency, Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Special Counsel (OSC), and others. The Administrative Judge found that the agency failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same actions absent our client’s whistleblower activity. She ordered the agency to reevaluate and recompute his 2009 rating and award him pay adjustments that would have occurred as a result of the adjustments. She further ordered the agency to reevaluate his 2009 promotion. See Rios v. Commerce, MSPB Docket No. NY-1221-10-0261-B-1.

AMES v. DEPT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: VA failed to accommodate disabled employee.
On July 21, 2014, after conducting a hearing at the EEOC’s Indianapolis Regional Office, EEOC Administrative Judge Johanna Philhower Maple concluded that the Department of Veterans Affairs unlawfully discriminated against our client under the Rehabilitation Act when, from November 2011 through February 14, 2012, it failed to engage in the interactive process and failed to provide her accommodation in the form of a chair with lumbar support for her disability.

PIERRE v. U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: $35,000 awarded in compensatory damages after a finding of disability discrimination and retaliation.
On August 22, 2013, Molly Powell, an Administrative Judge from the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office, issued a decision in favor of our client. Administrative Judge Powell stated that the Postal Service discriminated against our client on the basis of sex when it “subjected her to harassment and created a hostile work environment which was exacerbated by the agency's failure to notify our client of the steps it took to remedy the harassment.” Judge Powell stated that the agency also discriminated against our client based on her disability and in retaliation for her prior EEO activity when it took away her reasonable accommodation. Our client was awarded $35,000 in compensatory damages, among other relief.

RODROCK v. U.S. ARMY: Judge orders Army to pay client $110,000, reinstate her to her job, and provide years of backpay; Army guilty of failure to accommodate, reprisal, and wrongful termination.
On June 29, 2012, Judge Player, an Administrative Judge from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s San Francisco District Office, issued a finding of discrimination against the U.S. Department of Army. Administrative Judge Player held that the Army violated the Rehabilitation Act when it failed to accommodate our client’s disability and failed to prove that providing telework (telecommuting) would have imposed an undue hardship on the agency’s operations. The Judge held that the agency discriminated against our client when it required onerous medical documentation, began coding our client’s absences as AWOL instead of LWOP, subjected her to adverse working conditions in February and March 2010, and removed her from her employment instead of providing a reasonable accommodation. The EEOC Judge also held that the agency retaliated against our client for requesting reasonable accommodation. The Judge stated that the “agency did not make any effort to provide meaningful, effective accommodation to [the complainant] in 2009 and 2010, choosing instead to terminate her employment.” The Administrative Judge held that the agency could not establish in any respect that it made “good faith efforts in consultation with the person with the disability” to provide reasonable accommodation. After considering all of the relevant factors and the applicable case law, the EEOC Judge found that our client suffered significant emotional pain, loss of self-worth, and loss of enjoyment of life, as a result of discriminatory conduct. Accordingly, Judge Player awarded our client $110,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages, reinstatement, back pay, benefits, a posting of notice of discrimination, among other things.

WELLARD v. DOJ: $70,000 awarded in compensatory damages; DOJ liable for disability discrimination and reprisal.
On March 30, 2012, after a lengthy liability and damages hearing, Administrative Judge Richard E. Schneider, of the EEOC’s Washington Field Office, issued a Decision on Liability in favor of the Complainant. Judge Schneider found that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), discriminated against our client because of her disability (mental and physical) and retaliated against her for engaging in prior EEO when: 1) the granting of her reasonable accommodation request was delayed or denied by the agency; and 2) she was subjected to a hostile work environment. AJ Schneider held that the FBI discriminated against our client when it failed to ensure that Complainant had an accessible entrance into the Pocatello facility; failed to ensure that devices, such as automatic door openers, were in good working order; delayed and denied providing appropriate office equipment and furniture; and failed to provide a better location to allow her to take naps during the day. The AJ found that the agency subjected our client to a hostile work environment on the basis of her disability when the agency told her co-workers not to talk to her, questioned her honesty and integrity, and publicly embarrassed her. The Administrative Judge held a separate hearing to determine damages. After that hearing, he ordered the FBI to provide complainant with specific reasonable accommodations, including a quiet place to nap during the day, a proper ergonomic chair, and proper wheelchair access through the front entrance of the facility. The Administrative Judge also awarded our client back pay, restoration of leave, $70,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages for emotional harm, among other relief.

LANE-PORTER v. U.S. ARMY: Default Judgment entered against United States Army; Judge Ordered Army to pay $80,000 plus four years backpay.
On February 22, 2012, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington Field Office Administrative Judge found in our favor in a rare “default judgment.” Judge Abigail Coleman, who was assigned to the case, issued an “Order Entering Default Judgment Against the Agency.” In this case, the Army representative failed to comply with the Judge’s discovery orders. We aggressively litigated the case, filed numerous sanctions motions against the agency, and pointed out the Army’s failure to comply with the Administrative Judge’s Orders. Administrative Coleman granted our motion for sanctions and ordered the agency to pay the client’s attorney fees. After filing three Motions for Sanctions and a Motion for Default Judgment against the agency for continued failure to comply with the Judge’s orders, the EEOC granted our Motion for Default Judgment. The Judge found in our favor on all counts, without a hearing, because the agency failed to cooperate and follow the Judge’s orders. The client was awarded reinstatement, back pay for four years, $80,000 and other relief.

BENSON V. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Settlement agreement voided.
On February 3, 2012, the EEOC’s office of Federal Operations granted our request to void a settlement agreement and remand the case back to the agency for processing. When we met the client, he had signed a settlement agreement and regretted doing so. On appeal, we successfully argued that the agreement should was void because it failed to contain language which protected our client. The Office of Federal Operations held that the agency failed to comply with the requirement of the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act because the settlement agreement makes no reference to the complainant's ADEA claim and does not indicate that the complainant was waiving his rights under the ADEA be executing the settlement agreement. Because the settlement agreement lacked express OWCPA language, the Office of Federal Operations found that the agreement was void. The case was remanded back to the agency for processing.

GUESS V. EPA: $100,000 awarded in a reprisal discrimination case.
On March 9, 2011, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Administrative Judge Lisa D. Sirkin, from the EEOC’s New York District Office, held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) retaliated against a FELSC client under Title VII when it transferred her from her Project Officer position into a Senior Quality Assurance position, where she was required to do “data entry.” The transfer was a lateral transfer with no change in pay or grade. In finding discrimination, Judge Sirkin determined that the agency’s evaluations did not show that the transfer was necessitated by the employee’s performance. After the EEOC issued its finding of discrimination, the EPA filed a Motion for Reconsideration. The agency argued that it was improper for the EEOC Judge to find discrimination on the transfer issue because the transfer issue was not an accepted issue in the case. The agency argued that the transfer issue was not investigated and, hence, was not properly before the court. Judge Sirkin denied the agency’s motion and re-affirmed her finding of discrimination. She stated that the agency waived objection to inclusion of the transfer issue when it addressed the details of the transfer during discovery, in prehearing submissions, and at the hearing. Judge Sirkin further noted that she had the authority to add an issue at the hearing. After briefs were submitted on the issue of damages, Judge Sirkin awarded our client $100,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages for the emotional distress and physical ailments she suffered as a result of the discriminatory transfer.

BARTRON v. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: $92,500 awarded in compensatory damages, with back pay, reinstatement and other relief.
On March 3, 2011, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations held that the Department of Defense (DOD) discriminated against a FELSC client, Patricia Bartron, when it denied her request for reasonable accommodation. When Ms. Bartron came to FELSC, the agency had already denied her request for accommodation and she had submitted an application for disability retirement. FELSC sent the agency a letter requesting that it explore reassignment options so that she would not have to resign. The agency ignored our letter and the complainant resigned. An EEOC hearing was held in Washington, DC. At the conclusion of the hearing, EEOC Administrative Judge Abigail Coleman, from the EEOC Washington Field Office, found that the DOD discriminated against Ms. Bartron under the Rehabilitation Act because of her disability, when it failed to explore reassignment options. The Judge noted that the agency’s failure to accommodate complainant resulted in her inability to work and in the loss of income. The client testified that due to the loss of her job, her house was foreclosed and she was separated from her grandchildren and children, who lived with her. Judge Coleman awarded our client $92,500 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages, along with back pay, reinstatement, and other relief. See Bartron v. Department of Defense, EEOC Appeal No. Appeal No. 0720100054 (March 3, 2011). Ms. Bartron was represented by Rosemary Dettling.

DAVIS v. FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Department of Transportation Ordered to reverse demotion.
On January 13, 2011, Administrative Judge Pamela B. Jackson, from the Merit Systems Protection Board’s (MSPB) Atlanta Regional Office, ordered the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to reverse its decision to demote our client. The client appealed the FAA’s decision to demote him from the position of Supervisory Airway Transportation Systems Specialist, FV-21-1-J, to the position of Airway Transportation Systems Specialist, FV-21-1-I, effective September 12, 2010. The agency demoted him after charging him with 1) two counts of failure to follow instructions; 2) one count of misrepresentation, and 3) three counts of conduct unbecoming a manager. The MSPB hearing began in Jackson, Mississippi and concluded in Washington, DC. After the hearing, Judge Jackson held that the agency failed to prove any of its charges. Judge Jackson ordered the agency to rescind our client’s demotion and retroactively restore him to the position of Supervisory Airway Transportation Systems Specialist, FV-2101-J.

FIVECOAT v. US AIR FORCE: $100,000 awarded for sex harassment and reprisal discrimination.
On December 23, 2010, EEOC Administrative Judge Anita Foye Richardson, from the EEOC’s Raleigh District Office, determined that the United States Air Force subjected a FELSC client to a hostile work environment based on her sex and prior EEO activity. Judge Foye Richardson held that our client was subjected to a hostile work environment by her first-line supervisor, an Air Force Flight Chief, when he spoke to her in curt and rude tones; called her and other women derogatory names; micromanaged her; criticized her publicly and privately; undermined her in front of her subordinates; blamed her for problems that he was responsible for; undermined her authority; excessively scrutinized her; publicly criticized her; and forced her to witness harassment of her female coworkers. After the finding of discrimination, the Administrative Judge scheduled a damages hearing. At the conclusion of the damages hearing, Administrative Judge Richardson found that the complainant was entitled to an award of $100,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages. The Judge noted that statements from complainant, her coworkers and her husband showed that complainant experienced substantial emotional and physical problems, including depression and loss of enjoyment of life, because of the discrimination. The Judge found that the award was consistent with awards in similar cases, and was not “monstrously excessive.”

JACKSON v. U.S. AIR FORCE: $125,000 awarded for sex harassment and retaliation.
On December 23, 2010, after a lengthy bifurcated hearing, EEOC Administrative Judge Anita Foye Richardson, from the EEOC’s Raleigh District Office, determined that the United States Air Force subjected our client to a hostile work environment based on her sex. After the damages hearing in December 2010, the Administrative Judge found that the client was entitled to an award of $125,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages for the harm she suffered as a result of the discrimination.

CLIFFORD v. U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: $40,000 awarded for sex, age, and reprisal discrimination.
Following a finding of sex, age, and reprisal discrimination, EEOC Administrative Judge David Treeter of the EEOC’s Indianapolis District Office, awarded our client, among other things, $40,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages. On appeal, the Commission concurred with the AJ’s award. He said that our client was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure as a result of the discrimination. Our client was treated by a physician for these conditions and took medication. In addition, various witnesses testified regarding the change in our client’s personality following the discrimination, noting that she became emotionally distraught. See Clifford v. U.S. Postal Serv., EEOC Appeal No. 0720100010 (May 18, 2010).

LAMPKINS v. U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: $25,000 awarded for disability and reprisal Discrimination.
A FELSC client filed a formal EEO complaint alleging that he was subjected to disability discrimination when his employer, the United States Postal Service, disseminated private medical information during a pre-disciplinary meeting and subjected him to reprisal discrimination when the agency issued him a 14-day suspension. Following a hearing, EEOC Administrative Judge Katie Duderstadt, of the San Antonio District Office, found discrimination with regard to both matters. On appeal, the Commission affirmed the Administrative Judge’s decision. According to the record, during the pre-disciplinary meeting, a union steward and a supervisor were given a copy of a report that contained detailed medical records, including documentation of complainant’s symptoms when he was admitted to the hospital, and the resulting diagnosis. The Commission noted that documentation concerning an individual’s diagnosis is without question medical information that must be treated as confidential under the EEOC Regulations. Thus, the agency’s release of complainant’s medical information was a per se violation of the Rehabilitation Act. With regard to the suspension, the Commission noted that management was aware of complainant’s prior EEO activity and issued the suspension within a period of time such that a retaliatory motive can be inferred. In addition, while the agency asserted that complainant submitted altered medical documentation in support of a leave request, the Administrative Judge credited complainant’s testimony that he did not intend to defraud the agency when he submitted “sanitized” medical documentation. In addition, as complainant had no previous discipline, the 14-day suspension was not commensurate with the agency’s progressive discipline policy, and the agency had previously accepted similarly redacted medical documentation. The agency was ordered to pay complainant $25,000 in non-pecuniary compensatory damages for pain and suffering, as well as rescind the notice of suspension and restore any leave used as a result of the discrimination. See Melvin D. Lampkins v. United States Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 0720080017 (December 8, 2009).

ARTHUR v. COMMERCE: Attorney fees awarded in the middle of the hearing, as a sanction against the Commerce.
On November 3, 2009, Marianna Warmee, an Administrative Judge from the EEOC’s San Francisco District Office, issued an Order in the middle of the hearing sanctioning the agency for its failure to comply with her prior Order granting Complainant's Motion to Compel. Administrative Judge Warmee stopped the hearing and ordered the agency to reimburse our client for any attorney fees and costs incurred in relation to resolving the discovery dispute at issue, including any travel costs incurred by having to return to Billings, Montana to cross-examine the agency's remaining witnesses.

BATSON-RILEY v. DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS: VA culpable for retaliating against employee after she engaged in protected EEO activity.
On June 15, 2009, EEOC Administrative Judge Steven Gaffin, out of the EEOC’s Seattle Field Office. issued a Decision in favor of our client. Administrative Judge Gaffin found that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs retaliated against Complainant under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 701 et seq., as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 20002 et seq., when it retaliated against her.

KELLY v. U.S. POSTAL SERVICE: Postal Service discriminated against client based on perceived disability.
On November 17, 2008, Administrative Judge Robert Duffy, from the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office, issued a Decision on liability in favor of our client. On November 18, 2008, Judge Duffy issued his bench decision on damages. Judge Duffy found that the U.S. Postal Service discriminated against our client based on disability and retaliated against her for engaging in the EEO process.

SIMON v. U.S. POSTAL: Postal Service found guilty of race discrimination.
On October 22, 2008, EEOC Administrative Judge Christopher H. Juge, from the EEOC’s New Orleans Field Office, issued a Decision in favor of our client. Administrative Judge Juge found that the U.S. Postal Service discriminated against our client and subjected her to a hostile work environment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, § 701 et seq., as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 20002 et seq., on the basis of her race (African-American), for at least eight months.
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-In a negotiated settlement, FELSC secured $98,000 in compensatory damages for a U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee, a transfer to Florida, and plus other benefits.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee at an EEOC hearing in Detroit. After the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge awarded the employee a retroactive promotion, backpay, $2,000 in compensatory damages, and attorney fees. The Commission also directed that a notice of discrimination be posted at the employee's workplace and that the responsible management officials be required to undergo training.

-In a negotiated settlement, FELSC secured $40,000 for a U.S. Department of Justice employee.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Postal Service Letter Carrier at an EEOC hearing in Kentucky. After the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge awarded the employee compensatory damages for emotional distress arising from the discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. The Commission also directed that a notice of discrimination be posted at the employee's workplace and that the responsible management officials be required to undergo appropriate training to prevent future occurrences of retaliatory conduct.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee at an EEOC hearing. After the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge awarded the employee $10,000 in compensatory damages. The Commission also directed that a notice of discrimination be posted at the employee's workplace and that the responsible management officials be required to undergo training.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Postal Service employee at an EEOC hearing in Atlanta. After the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge awarded the employee $20,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employee at an EEOC hearing in Seattle. After the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge awarded the employee $10,000 in compensatory damages and attorney fees. The Commission also directed that a notice of discrimination be posted at the employee's workplace and that the responsible management officials be required to undergo training.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Postal Service employee at an EEOC hearing in New Orleans. The EEOC Judge awarded the employee $5,000 in compensatory damages. The Judge told the Postal Service to consider imposing discipline on the employees and officials found to have been involved in the violation of the client's rights.

-FELSC assisted an employee of the EEOC with her appeal for Workers Compensation for a work-related injury. When the employee came to FELSC, her OWCP claim had been denied by the OWCP. FELSC provided additional information to the OWCP and the decision was overturned. The OWCP accepted the employee's injury as compensable.

-FELSC recovered over $8,000 in attorney fees against the U.S. Department of Justice as a sanction during litigation. The EEOC Administrative Judge appointed to the case awarded attorney fees early in discovery because DOJ failed to conduct a timely investigation and failed to provide the EEOC and FELSC with a copy of the Report of Investigation.

-One week prior to a hearing, FELSC settled a male military employee’s sex harassment case against his female supervisor. FELSC obtained attorney fees and the employee’s desired reassignment to another military base.

-A federal employee came to FELSC after he was put on administrative leave and charged with threatening to kill his supervisor. FELSC represented the employee at an internal disciplinary hearing. After the hearing, the agency charged the employee with misusing a government computer. The agency set up a second disciplinary hearing. FELSC represented the employee at the second disciplinary hearing. Shortly thereafter, FELSC filed an EEO complaint on the employee’s behalf. Within one month of filing the complaint, the agency agreed to settle the employee’s case. The agency agreed to (1) drop the internal investigations, (2) close them out with a finding of no wrongdoing, (3) pay attorney fees and back pay, and (4) move the employee to a new supervisor.

-In a negotiated settlement, FELSC obtained an award of $2500 in compensatory damages and an upgraded performance evaluation for an employee of a federal defense agency who alleged discrimination based on race, age, gender and retaliation.

-In a negotiated settlement, FELSC obtained an award of $5,339 in compensatory damages and an upgraded performance evaluation.

-In a negotiated settlement agreement, FELSC convinced a government agency to (1) remove information from an employee's personnel file related to a proposed five-day suspension without pay, (2) restore 40 hours of annual leave, (3) agree to not initiate an investigation of the employee by the Office of the Inspector General, and (4) pay attorney fees.


-In a negotiated settlement, FELSC secured expungement of a U.S. Department of Transportation employee’s personnel files and attorney's fees.

-FELSC secured a paid early retirement for a U.S. Postal Service employee after the employee was told in writing she was going to be terminated.

-FELSC represented a U.S. Postal Service employee at a hearing before the EEOC. After the hearing, the EEOC Administrative Judge awarded the employee $25,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress arising from retaliation and attorney fees. The Commission also directed that a notice of discrimination be posted at the employee's workplace and that the responsible management officials be required to undergo training to prevent future occurrences of retaliatory conduct.

-Just prior to a hearing, an agency agreed to settle the case and agreed reinstate our client.

-Just prior to a hearing, an agency agreed to expunge the termination from our client’s personnel record.

-In a negotiated settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, we were able to get our client a coveted detail from the Island of Saipan to Florida.

-We were able to get the Department of Defense to change a termination to a demotion.

-In a reduction-in-force appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), we were able to negotiate a favorably settlement package for three employees.



Client Testimonials:

"Ms. Dettling has been my lawyer for about two years now, She has shown the professionalism, expertise and passion it takes, in my opinion, to deal with very intricate and detailed federal cases. My personal cases are both whistleblower retaliation for protected disclosures against the U.S. Army, one for removal from my security compliance duties, and one for my termination.
Though Ms. Dettling knew nothing about my duties when I first selected her as my Counselor, She took the time necessary to understand the issues and by the hearing dates She was able to communicate and cut through the bureaucracy as if she new my profession inside and out. Ms. Dettling has acquired nothing but positive results in both cases."

CS, California

"In 2007 I filed an EEO Complaint against my employer for a hostile work environment and later included retaliation when I was denied a promotion. The case went to mediation and I won my promotion and a 2-step increase, however I was responsible for my attorney fees. My attorney at the time warned me that this would not be the end of it. As soon as the agreement was signed, the retaliation began in earnest, subtle at first and later to the point that I was falsely accused of unprofessional conduct. I contacted my first attorney to represent me but he declined the case. I then contacted what I thought to be a reputable law firm in DC, only to be bled dry of what little savings I had as well as what I had to borrow against my 401K before we even got to hearing. Ultimately that was the point I realized that my attorneys had no intention of going to hearing, even though I was adamant upon hiring them that this time I had to go to hearing.
This firm switched my attorney three times in the three weeks prior to the actual depositions, and during the deposition phase failed to properly represent me. When I declined to sign a new retainer for responding to Agency’s Motion for Summary Judgement, which was due in one week, my attorney stated that “This time they would really fight for me and in the next breath stated he had a great idea to get agency to settle”. At that point, I hung up the phone and searched desperately for a new attorney to represent me. That is when I found Rosemary Dettling. She took my case at the 11th hour (less than 1 week to respond to agency’s motion for SJ), received my file less than two business days prior to the response date because my former law firm dragged their feet in releasing my file) and was able to make such a compelling argument to deny SJ that we were granted a hearing date. The hearing was held last week and when I tell you that Rosemary Dettling is the ONLY attorney you should have represent you before the EEOC, that is a huge understatement! She was able to get all of agency’s witnesses to admit wrongdoing when I think they actually believed they were credible witnesses! We have not received a decision yet from the hearing, but I am confident that we will prevail.
Rosemary Dettling is the most competent, knowledgeable and compassionate attorney I have ever met and I would not be in the position I currently find myself in without her. You will not find better representation anywhere! As frightening as it was to switch attorneys at the last minute, it was the best decision I have made in my adult life! I highly recommend Rosemary Dettling, and I am proud to call her my attorney."

Ms. Dettling has been my lawyer for about two years now, She has shown the professionalism, expertise and passion it takes, in my opinion, to deal with very intricate and detailed federal cases. My personal cases are both whistleblower retaliation for protected disclosures against the U.S. Army, one for removal from my security compliance duties, and one for my termination.
Though Ms. Dettling knew nothing about my duties when I first selected her as my Counselor, She took the time necessary to understand the issues and by the hearing dates She was able to communicate and cut through the bureaucracy as if she new my profession inside and out. Ms. Dettling has acquired nothing but positive results in both cases.

LD, Rhode Island

"Rosemary Dettling is an amazing lawyer! Let me start off by saying she has showed me a great deal of compassion and understanding as my case has been very stressful for me. She has taken the time out of her personal day to assure me of my case and laid my anxiety to rest. She is straight forward with her rates, I believe she is very comparable in pricing, there are no hidden fees. Rosemary took my case when no one else would. Her knowledge of my case, confidence and professionalism during court presenting my case exceeded my expectations! I would and have recommended Rosemary Dettling to anyone needing an EEOC lawyer. There are no words that can describe my gratitude for R as she believes in me and my case.
Thank you Rosemary."

DN, New Mexico

"I never expected to have to fight Goliath; the process is completely overwhelming. I have worked for the government for 20 years and I trusted them to take care of their employees. I never understood how quickly my life could change. I would never have made it through the twists and turns of dealing with the government without the help of someone who really knew what they were doing. I would have given up long ago without the help of Rosemary, who has given me and my family hope that this will all end with a positive outcome, that it really is possible to start rebuilding our lives again."

RW, Pocatello, Idaho


"I want to thank you for doing this excellent job. It is everything I wanted to say but didn't know how. Even if my case doesn't go to a hearing you have told them the truth. My reputation is what really means the most to me. I worked hard all those years and all I care about is that everyone knows I am not the worker they made me out to be. At least I will be able to leave the Federal Government in peace. I owe you much. You are a great attorney."

MT, Alexandria, Virginia


“I had already exhausted a search in my state for a lawyer specializing in EEO Title VII Civil Rights cases and was directed to pursue my quest with several lawyers in the Washington DC area. None specialized in EEO Civil Rights cases, but I was advised that Rosemary Dettling was definitely the lawyer I wanted for my EEO/Civil Rights case. That statement proved to be absolutely correct. Ms. Dettling is savvy, formidable, keen, quick to identify an effective course of action, extremely articulate and knowledgeable and consistently exhibits a forceful yet professional, respectful and classly style of defense. I have been working closely with Ms. Dettling for 1.5 years and I am without a doubt that I have retained the best EEO/Civil Rights defense lawyer for my case hands down."

JS, Elkins, WV


"After contacting several lawyers in my local area, it became evident that I would need a lawyer well-versed in Federal employee's rights under OPM law and regulations. I spoke to two firms in the Washington, D.C. area and was most impressed by Rosemary Dettling's common-sense approach to my legal needs and her patience and understanding in dealing with these matters. She discussed all the legal options, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and updated me on these matters as she and I obtained additional information about the information filed against me. She helped immensely in helping me make the best choices by considering my particular needs, my situation, and my options.”

EH, New York, NY


“Ms. Dettling is a fine attorney. I have worked with attorneys for nearly 35 years and would like to say that I can identify the best. Ms. Dettling was able to review a complex discrimination case, and prepare a motion within days. I am very pleased with the outcome of my case to date, and I expect that she will prevail not only in my case but many others to come. If you are looking for an attorney that is professional, trustworthy and knowledgeable, Ms. Dettling is the attorney you want working for you. She is without equal.”

MD, Arlington, VA


“I went to your website today and was very impressed by the testimonials. I wholeheartedly agree with the comments made by your clients. You are an outstanding attorney, and I am fortunate that I found you. I was extremely disappointed after being misadvised by my previous counsel, and I had given up when by a stroke of luck, I saw your website and wrote you about my situation. Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my e-mail and discussing my case with me. You understood my situation and immediately began working on my case. Now, thanks to you, my issues are being addressed by the EEOC Judge. Regardless of the outcome, I will always be thankful to you. You have given me a chance that would have otherwise been lost if it was not for your knowledge and compassion for others in the pursuit of justice in the federal employment legal system.”

RE, Myrtle Beach, SC


“Within the first few minutes of our telephone conversation, I knew that Ms. Dettling understood what was happening to me. Ms. Dettling was able to weed out irrelevant issues and bring the focus of EEO misconduct forward, to the Administrative Judge. My case was complex at times, and I felt somewhat overwhelmed by the system and its legal terms. Ms. Dettling reassured me about the developments of my case and was always straightforward and patient when answering my questions.

I am not assigned to the Washington DC area and I could only speak with Ms. Dettling via telephone. The distance was irrelevant to my case, as Ms. Dettling was able to complete all needed documents via email and fax, in a most timely fashion. After eighteen months of involvement with my case, Ms. Dettling’s additional strengths were shown when she arrived for the EEOC Hearing. The agency never took my complaint seriously, instead making up issues about me, where there were none. After Ms. Dettling’s cross-examination, it is to their regret, I’m most certain. I am very grateful to have met Ms. Dettling.”

JA, Houston, TX


“Rosemary took my case in May of this year. When I thought about going up against a Federal Government agency, I was nervous, Rosemary was not! I was so impressed with her professional attitude, positive demeanor and strong knowledge of my rights. She worked had to force the defendants attorneys to turn over necessary documentation. She fought hard to ensure all evidence and witnessed were admitted. She was always going the extra mile to get things done. She cared about my case and fought hard for me. My case was settled out of court with a positive outcome on my behalf. I could not have done it without Rosemary and I will be forever grateful.”

RS, West Virginia


“When I finally was able to locate an attorney that was experienced in federal government employee/employment issues I was truly at my wits end. There are a lot of attorneys out there who deal with all sorts of legal issues surrounding disability compensations, etc., but finding experienced legal experts who understand the civilian federal government employment issues is very difficult. Having 27 years of federal government employment years, and suddenly having to deal with the possibility of losing my position based on issues totally outside of my control, I was, sufficed to say, fearful of the possible outcomes. I’ve never had to retain the services of an attorney on any issues in my 49 years — and I was very insecure about the whole attorney/client process. Ms. Dettling put my insecurities to rest during our first initial phone contact just by her assurances that she would represent me by maintaining my interests and needs were going to be her primary concern.

Ms. Dettling’s approach and business/legal acumen in dealing with my agency produced an excellent settlement, and my life has taken an absolutely positive direction. I am truly grateful for her excellent legal services and would recommend her to anyone who would ever have to deal with federal government employment issues, or any other legal matters. Her recommendations and decisions based on the variables in my case made for a very smooth, and stress free transition for me. I trusted her, and she delivered. My settlement was much more than I ever expected. Thanks Rosemary!”

PC, Louisville, KY

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Sheri Abrams Sheri Abrams
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