Absent Without Leave?

A Federal Agency may take a disciplinary action and/or adverse action against a Federal Employee for being Absent Without Leave (AWOL). Rarely, however, is the Federal Employee without recourse for challenging the allegations effectively. There are several avenues available, and an attorney familiar with Federal Employment litigation can assist you in choosing the path necessary to defeat erroneous AWOL charges.

For example under certain circumstances, an Adverse Action involving AWOL charges may be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) . AWOL charges are not typically alleged in isolation. Often times, a Federal Agency will include allegations of Leave Abuse and/or Failure to Follow Procedures.

AWOL appeals before the MSPB often revolve around a Federal Employee's need to attend medical appointments, the sufficiency of doctor(s) notes, and denied requests for sick and/or annual leave. As a result, affirmative defenses involving Failure to Accommodate , Disability Discrimination, improper denials of FMLA, and Association Discrimination may become necessary components of a successful appeal.

To successfully establish an AWOL charge, a Federal Agency must prove the following elements by preponderant evidence before the presiding MSPB Judge:

1) The Federal Employee was absent; and

2) The absence was not authorized; or

3) A request for leave was properly denied.

If you have been charged with both AWOL and Failure to Follow Procedures and/or Leave Abuse for the same incident and/or absence, consider discussing your situation with an MSPB attorney .

Federal Employment litigation often gives rise to the maxim, "Timeliness is next to Godliness."

The procedural requirements in claims against any Federal Agency require Federal Employees to raise affirmative defenses and counterclaims early on in the proceedings. Undue delay may preclude you from challenging an adverse action altogether. A sustained adverse action has far reaching implications, including the potential to irreparably mar your Federal Employment Record and potential for upward mobility in your employing Federal Agency.

No post on this website is legal advice, nor is it meant to replace the advice of an attorney familiar with MSPB Appeals and Federal Employment Law litigation .

Consult with an MPSB Attorney to discuss the facts and law of your particular case.