Q & A Session – Discontinued Service Retirement in a Settlement Agreement


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I am over 50 years old and have over 28 years of federal service. I filed an age discrimination complaint and a second complaint due to a hostile work environment. I settled with the agency and among the terms, I was to present paperwork to end my career within two days of signing the agreement and the separation would be via CSRS Discontinued Service Retirement. After signing the agreement, the agency informed me that OPM may not accept the paperwork for the discontinued service retirement and management does not want me to return to work. Now the agency is presenting a new settlement agreement with different terms. Can the agency not process the retirement if it was included in an EEO settlement? Can the agreement be rescinded by the agency if it was signed?


Without specifically reviewing the settlement agreement and the strength of any underlying evidence against you, I cannot comment on the validity of what has happened. I do know that your agency does not offer discontinued service retirement. That comes from OPM. Usually, OPM will not grant a discontinued service retirement if a separation is pursuant to a settlement agreement. These are all complex issues and you should consult with an attorney so that you can decide what is best for you.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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