What Does a Federal Employment Lawyer Do?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2019
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A federal employment lawyer is a licensed attorney who specializes in employment law for federal employers and workers. The labor, wage, and employment laws specific to federal jobs are often quite complex, and require this special class of employment lawyer to handle the nuanced issues that may arise. In his or her daily work, a federal employment lawyer may meet clients, perform and direct research for a case, and attend court sessions.

The case areas relevant to a federal employment lawyer can involve nearly any issue that may arise between employers and workers in the federal government. This may include labor disputes, such as improper payment for overtime or violations of family leave laws. Employment attorneys may also handle discrimination cases for workers who feel that their rights to equality or safety in the workplace are being violated. Whistleblower retaliation cases, where an employee is disciplined or dismissed for alerting authorities to unlawful behavior in the workplace, may fall under the jurisdiction of a federal employment lawyer. A federal employment lawyer may also work on behalf of an employer who has been defrauded or wronged by an employee.


One of the daily tasks of an employment attorney may include meeting with new clients. In these consultation sessions, a lawyer will ask detailed questions about a prospective client's case, and may request any documentation that could support the claim. If a lawyer decides to accept a case, he or she may negotiate rates with the client, and set up a general outline of how matters will proceed. In some cases, when a lawyer is part of a larger practice, he or she may need to bring the case before the firm's partners to determine if it is acceptable.

Once on a case, a federal employment lawyer will spend much of his or her time researching and building an argument for court. This may include looking up laws specific to the case and reading about similar cases to determine if there is legal precedent. Lawyers will often speak to witnesses who may know something about the case, or consult experts with experience in the matter at hand. When enough information is garnered, a federal employment lawyer will file papers with the relevant court to begin legal proceedings on behalf of his or her client.

In court, a federal employment lawyer will present the case using the facts discovered through research. He or she may ask to bring witnesses to support a client's claim, and may cite previous legal decisions that support the client. Using his or her expertise in federal employment laws, an employment attorney will work to describe why the client's case is valid and deserving of a favorable judgment. In some cases, if the other side wishes to settle outside the courtroom, a lawyer may privately negotiate with the attorneys for the opposing side in order to reach a fair settlement.


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