Attorney Debra D'Agostino – a Founding Partner in the Federal Employment Law Practice at The
Federal Practice Group – was quoted in today's issue of
The Washington Post. The article –
Thousands of Federal Workers on Extended Paid Leave – is a featured front page political piece. It discusses the large
numbers of federal workers being kept on paid leave for extended periods
of time while awaiting disciplinary punishment or clearance to return to work.
According to the article, over 57,000 employees were sent home for at least
one month during a three-year period that ended in fall of 2013. The extensive
use of administrative leave amongst federal employees has received considerable
scrutiny and criticism, particularly because it conflicts with government
personnel rules that limit paid leave only to rare circumstances where
workers may post a threat. Many have expressed concerns over the costs
of this practice.
Attorney D'Agostino was mentioned in the article during a discussion
of her work representing one federal employee who was facing disciplinary
action. The man – who worked with computers at the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration in Alaska – was placed on administrative
leave while his case was under investigation. After six months of paid
leave, he was cleared and returned to work. Attorney D'Agostino commented
that her client has been "stuck in the inertia of bureaucracy."
In commenting on the article, Ms. D'Agostino said, "It's important
that the rights of federal employees accused of misconduct are protected,
especially when a federal employee's job is on the line. While the
use of administrative leave allows for the federal government to ensure
no federal employees are wrongfully deprived of income and benefits, nobody
wins when the government leaves an employee on administrative leave for
months, or even years. This time is incredibly stressful, and there is
no reason why these misconduct investigations or decision processes should
drag on and on if the proper groundwork has been laid before any disciplinary
action is taken."
As an experienced federal employment lawyer and founding partner at The
Federal Practice Group, Debra D'Agostino is often asked by major publications
to share her insight and legal opinion on important issues. Attorney D'Agostino
has also written a number of published legal articles.
You can read the full
Washington Post article here.