The Office of Employee Advocacy provides consultation, advice and representation services to employees of the House of Representatives to assist in both informal resolution efforts and civil claims brought in matters covered by the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, as amended by the 2018 Reform Act (collectively, CAA).
Matters covered by the CAA include, but are not limited to, harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation based on an employee’s race, religion, sex (gender, sexual orientation, gender identity), color, national origin, disability, military service, medical leave (e.g. injury, surgery, chronic conditions, public health emergency) or age. Additional CAA covered matters include accommodations related to a disability or medical condition, and issues regarding workplace safety, genetic information, unfair wages, overtime compensation, labor unionization, and equal pay.
Employee Advocacy’s attorneys are experienced counselors and litigators and have broad experience in employment and labor law matters. It is Employee Advocacy’s goal to provide balanced, comprehensive legal advice that is based on applicable laws and regulations, as well as recent developments in case law. Employee Advocacy attorneys are dedicated to identifying the optimal resolution to matters, whether such resolution is achieved through informal discussion with colleagues or managers, structured mediation with the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights (OCWR), an OCWR hearing, a trial, or a recommendation regarding the social services available through the Office of Employee Assistance.
House employees may obtain legal services by contacting Employee Advocacy directly, and there is no fee or cost to the employee. Employee Advocacy’s attorneys will serve as the personal legal advisor to House employees. Upon determining that the CAA may be implicated, Employee Advocacy will explain an employee’s rights and options when concerns first arise, including potential ways to resolve matters without litigation, if that is ultimately the employee’s preference.
If a matter proceeds beyond the consultation and advice stages, Employee Advocacy attorneys also serve as the employee’s legal representative in dispute resolution proceedings before the OCWR, in hearings where the OCWR serves as adjudicators (i.e., judges), and in appeals of OCWR decisions. Employee Advocacy attorneys can also represent House employees in any proceedings of the Committee on Ethics, including the Office of Congressional Ethics, and other CAA-covered processes (e.g. labor negotiations, harassment and discrimination investigations, Family and Medical Leave Act requests, workplace safety complaints, reasonable accommodations, and compensations and salary disputes).
House employees have an attorney-client relationship with Employee Advocacy’s attorneys. Client confidentiality is a high priority. Employee Advocacy maintains a confidential telephone hotline (202) 225-8800 and email (Employee.Advocacy@mail.house.gov). In addition, clients can walk in by appointment for an initial consultation and meet with an attorney privately.
For detailed discussion of claims, appointments with Employee Advocacy attorneys are preferred. Appointments are scheduled to be face-to-face whenever possible. Phone or video-conference appointments are available to district office employees.
If you have any questions for a member of the Employee Advocacy staff, please call us at 202-225-8800.