Hearings & Appeals Branch
The Hearings & Appeals Branch's primary mission is to litigate and defend the MRP Agencies before administrative judges in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) cases. Services provided by the Hearings & Appeals Branch include:
- Litigating formal Complaints before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and in Appeals and Independent Right of Action (Whistleblower) Appeals before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) as the Agency's Representative(s) for AMS, APHIS and GIPSA. The HAB litigation specialists perform all pre-hearing preparation, including discovery of evidence, interviewing witnesses and compiling documents and then appear at hearings presided by Administrative Judges . When appropriate, the HAB specialists work with Agency officials to negotiate settlements, informally, through mediations and other Alternative Dispute Resolution proceedings, and then draft settlement agreements with clarity to ensure that they meet all relevant legal requirements.
- Providing advice and guidance to the APHIS Employee Relations Branch and the AMS/GIPSA Employee Relations Branch on employment law, including reviewing appealable actions and settlement agreements.
- Providing advice to mission area programs and supervisory officials in the execution of the EEOC and MSPB litigation functions. This includes providing advice and recommendations to supervisors and managers with respect to day-to-day problems and concerns as well as providing structured training on EEO and MSPB law and practice.
- Serving as liaison with the mission area Civil Rights communities, Departmental administration (including the Office of the General Counsel), the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of Justice on EEOC and MSPB litigation matters.