In most cases, resolution of an appeal filed by the employee involves the following steps:
A District government employee initiates an appeal by filing a petition for appeal with the Office of Employee Appeals (OEA). The petition for appeal must be filed within 30 calendar days of the effective date of action being appealed. This deadline is set by statute (DC Official Code 1-606.03) and may not be waived by OEA. The petition for appeal will be deemed filed on the date it is received by the Office.
2. OEA serves a copy of the petition for appeal on the agency and requests a response.
3. The agency files a response. If the agency believes that the appeal is beyond the jurisdiction of OEA, they may file a motion to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
4. If the parties request mediation, or if there appears to be a reasonable likelihood that the appeal can be settled without adjudication, the appeal is referred to the OEA Mediation and Conciliation Program and a mediator is assigned to handle the case.
5. If the parties are able to resolve the appeal by mutual agreement, it will be dismissed as settled.
6. If the appeal is not selected for mediation or if mediation fails, the appeal is assigned to an Administrative Judge for adjudication.
7. The Administrative Judge usually convenes a pre-hearing conference to address any pending motions, narrow the issues in the appeal, determine if a hearing is needed, and, if so, what witnesses and documents will be presented at the hearing.
8. If a hearing is held, each party must present his/her evidence (witnesses and documents) and will have an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses of the other party. Hearings are conducted in an orderly and dignified manner but not necessarily with the formalities of a trial. OEA is guided by the Federal Rules of Evidence [PDF] but is not bound by them. For example, some evidence which is hearsay and would clearly be inadmissible in a Court of Law may be admissible in an OEA hearing.
9. The Administrative Judge considers the evidence and arguments of the parties and issues an Initial Decision.