Join Club

Legal Insider: Federal employee administrative grievances

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

Our law firm represents federal employees in the federal employee grievance process. Most, if not all federal agencies have their own federal employee grievance procedures for employees who wish to bring employment disputes forward for resolution.

Why Federal Employees Use the Grievance Process

Generally, federal employees utilize a federal agency’s grievance process when other legal options do not fit. For example, a federal employee may decided to file an administrative grievance if their employment dispute does not qualify for an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint, the appeals process at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or before other forums.

Types of Grievances

There are usually two types of federal employee grievances: (1) union grievances; and (2) administrative grievances. Typically, federal employees who are not eligible for the union grievance process use the administrative grievance process. Those federal employees represented by a labor union may be required to go through the union grievance process.

What do Administrative Grievances Cover?

Administrative grievances filed by federal employees involve employment disputes. For example, an administrative grievance can involve a challenge to a disciplinary action (example: Letter of Reprimand), a performance action, a re-assignment or other employment issue. There are numerous types of disputes eligible for the administrative grievance process for federal employees.

The Administrative Grievance Process

When considering filing an administrative grievance it is important to review the applicable administrative grievance process for your federal agency. Attached is a sample agency policy here. Each federal agency has its own administrative grievance procedures. Many administrative grievance policies require that a federal employee notify a supervisor verbally of the administrative grievance prior to filing a written grievance. Other policies require that a written grievance be submitted first.

Depending on the federal agency, an administrative grievance process typically includes 2-4 steps. Usually, at each step, the federal employee and a grievance official will attempt to resolve the grievance. Often the written grievance is submitted first and a secondary in-person meeting (when requested) is then held to discuss the administrative grievance. Usually, at the end of a grievance presentation the federal employee, often through counsel, will present a compromise resolution proposal. Following the administrative grievance presentation, the employee or counsel will receive a written decision on the grievance. If an initial administrative grievance is denied, then the federal employee will often have the ability to proceed to the next higher step of the process.

After the Grievance Process

If an administrative grievance is denied, some federal agencies provide additional rights for review and others do not. Some federal agencies offer federal employees a hearing process for administrative grievances and others do not. It is important to understand how the applicable administrative grievance procedure works for a particular federal agency prior to starting the process.


When a federal employee is considering filing an administrative grievance, it is important to have an attorney represent or advise you. Our law firm represents federal employees in the administrative grievance processes. If you are a federal employee in need of legal representation please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook and Twitter.

Recent Stories

Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…

After a 2-year search for new digs, Arlington Independent Media is on the cusp of moving from its long-time headquarters in Clarendon.

Former Arlington Commonwealth’s Attorney Theo Stamos is taking a top job in the Virginia Attorney General’s Office. Stamos lost her reelection bid in 2019, defeated in the Democratic primary by…

Sometime next year, three residential streets in Arlington without sidewalks could get upgrades to allow for safer pedestrian and cyclist use. To help address demonstrated safety and access issues on…

About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.

Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.

Key Responsibilities:

Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.

Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.

Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.

Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Holiday Art Show

Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to

Live Standup Comedy Starring Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel Live,…

Standup Comedy Starring Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central, Jimmy Kimmel Live)

Friday, December 29

Headliner: Casey James Salengo

Casey James Salengo is a NYC-based comedian who’s been featured on Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Kimmel Live, This Week at the Cellar,


Subscribe to our mailing list