Change of Supervisor

The Federal Services Labor Management Relations Statute, although somewhat “watered down” by years of case law, reserves a supervisory assignment, and most matters involving assignment of work in any regard, to the sole discretion of the agency.  

Union Representation During Counseling

The first thing any bargaining unit employee should do when determining whether they have a right to union representation is refer to their Master Agreement (union contract) or contact a Union Representative

Administrative Leave & Authorized Absence

The terms Administrative Leave and Authorized Absence are essentially synonymous (we will use the term Administrative Leave for the purposes of this post).  Further, we distinguish that for the purpose of this article, we are not addressing such leave used by union representatives for official time related to union activities.

Responding to Proposed Actions

During the course of your federal career, you may find yourself the subject of a proposed agency action.  Frankly, the longer your career and more complex your job functions, the greater this likelihood.

Are You Required to Invoke FMLA?

If a federal employee has sufficient leave balances there is no requirement the affected employee first be approved under the FMLA prior to a supervisor approving the use of accrued sick leave (SL) or accrued annual leave (AL) in lieu of sick leave

United States Postal Service Employees

United States States Postal Service employees have what is best described as unusual federal employee/employment status. Specifically and to the point, U.S. Postal Service employees are in the excepted, not competitive, service. 

#TRUMPSHUTDOWN

Top topics of inquiries we have received at InformedFED in connection with the #TRUMPSHUTDOWN.

Federal Retirement Servicing

In some agencies, you now apply for retirement by clicking a link on your agency intranet page.  In other agencies, you must submit an e-mail to a nondescript e-mail

Does It Hurt To Have A Union Representative?

The underlying premise of the benefits of representation is that the representative, whether union, friend, legal, or relative, is qualified to provide such representation and more knowledgeable than the person needing the representation.

Can a Union Negotiate Performance Awards?

In general, awards in the federal service are not considered an entitlement.  That statement is the prevailing guiding principle.  However, in 1997 the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), issued significant rules deregulating performance management systems and related awards.

Retirement- After Being Fired

Federal employees who are removed from federal service (“fired”) do not normally lose any entitlement to retirement benefits already earned, with limited exceptions (see, 5 USC 8312).  The type of retirement in this instance is sometimes erroneously referred to as…

Dealing With… Hostile Work Environment

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

LWOP in Connection with OWCP

Leave Without Pay (LWOP) in connection with Office of Worker’s Compensation Claims (DOL OWCP) is a source of confusion for federal employees, as well as agencies.  In our experience, this is largely due to a number of misperceptions of affected employees…

When Unions Go Bad

Somewhat regularly, we field calls from union members in the federal sector (and even union officials) regarding issues with union representation or leadership. The issues may involve claims of failure to provide union representation (including adequate representation are most common), the…

Can It Hurt To Have A Union Representative?

There is a prevailing theory that it is usually better to have union representation, than not have union representation, given such need.  While we are certainly proponents of labor organizations and their representational roles, particularly since we have been on…

Dealing with… Protected Health Information (PHI)

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

Question of Nondisclosure Agreements

What most people agree with, including many of his own supporters, is that Trump is a “shapeshifter” constantly changing positions and never discussing any position in substance or depth or with accuracy.

Duty of Fair Representation

“I Hate My Union. They Are Corrupt and Incompetent” That is an actual quote we received from a  dues paying union member of a large federal employee bargaining unit.  Such sentiments are not unusual.  Many union members feel disenfranchised for a variety of…

SF 50 Codes (Nature of Action & Legal Authority)

While it is true we could not have come up with a more boring title for this article, we frequently field questions concerning the SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, and more specifically, the enigmatic Nature of Action and Legal Authority…

$900,000 Federal Agency EEO Settlement

Believe it or not—-It’s True On January 29, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in federal district court, settled an EEO case with a federal employee for $900,000.00 (this is not a typo).  In Lenkiewicz v. Housing and…

Dealing With… Proposed Changes to Working Conditions

Note, this is our second article in a series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employee to a certain degree) dealing with…

No Right to Authorized Absence Unless…

The issue of authorized absence (also referred by some and many as excused absence, administrative leave, “no charge to leave”) comes up en masse every year about this time.  During the latter half of January 2016, the top search term…

Dealing With… Notice of Proposed Suspension

Note, this is our first article in a series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state to a certain degree) dealing with…

Quick Word On Performance Appraisals & Bonuses

And we do mean, just a quick word………. This time of year we receive an incredible number of inquiries from federal employees concerning annual performance appraisals and associated (linked or unlinked) bonuses.  Issues related to performance bonuses and appraisals can be…

Whistleblower Rights and Prohibited Personnel Practices

Whistleblowing involves disclosure of information an employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.  The…

Yet Another EEO Process Chart

One of the most common questions we receive concerns the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process.  Yes, without question, the process can be very confusing to the uninitiated. This is why there are numerous published EEO complaint process charts.  Here, we present…

MSPB Mock Hearing & Training

Whether you are new to Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) processes or already a practitioner, both MSPB and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provide valuable training materials.  Among them are mock hearing video training sessions.  These videos will give…

AFGE Sues OPM Over Data Breach

Breaking News:  The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) announced yesterday, June 29, 2015, that it filed a class action lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) concerning the recent massive data breaches of federal employee, retiree, and contractor…

“In Lieu Of” Removal

Federal employees faced with removal possess the ability to resign prior to the effective date of the removal action.  Employees otherwise eligible for retirement maintain the ability to retire prior to and after the effective date of removal.  While these options…

Performance Standards & Plans

The technical topic of performance standards and plans (standards are contained in plans) is typically confusing for federal managers, union officials, and employees alike. Performance standards and plans are convoluted by years of wrongly held preconceptions by all parties, layers of…

Due Process in Federal Service

MSPB Issues Comprehensive Report and Explanation As senior level Employee and Labor Relations Specialists, we can directly attest to the fact federal employees are routinely fired (removed from federal service).  This Merit Systems Protection Board report supports our view.  The MSPB…

Last Chance Agreements

Last chance agreements (LCA’s) and settlements contain terms agreed to by an employee, or former employee, and the agency, in which the employee is provided an opportunity to retain (or return to) employment, usually when the agency would otherwise remove, or did in fact…

Time is Critical

Recently, our consultants were contacted by clients notified by their respective agencies that the agency was proposing removal from employment.  In all cases, the affected employees (clients) waited to contact a consultant until well after they received the notice of proposed…

Disability Retirement Insanity?

Maybe, Maybe Not- You Decide Federal employee disability retirement applications are often confusing to employees.  However, outcomes are generally not.  It has been our collective experience, applications for disability retirement from Federal service are generally approved by the Office of…

BREAKING: GOP Proposing Additional Pay-Cuts

This legislation is being proposed on top of all previous legislation adversely affecting federal employees.  By some estimations, employees could lose over 12-15% of their annual pay if all Republican legislation is enacted as written.

GOP Proposing Wide-Scale Pension Cuts

This legislation is being proposed on top of all previous legislation adversely affecting federal employees.  By some estimations, employees could lose over 12-15% of their annual pay if all Republican legislation is enacted as written.

Excused Absences for Inclement Weather

With the recent outbreak of severe weather, we received many inquiries from federal employees concerning Excused Absence (also called “Authorized Absence” and even “Administrative Leave” by some agencies).  (Note, Excused Absence should not be confused with granting of “liberal leave”…

The “Agency File” MSPB Schedule 752

If you recognized the title of this article, chances are you are an Employee Labor Relations practitioner (some capacity) in the field of federal employee labor relations or you are the unfortunate appellant concerning some type of adverse action.  This…

Performance Appraisals: Mid-Year Reviews

It seems as if we were just discussing end of year performance appraisals for federal employees and here come mid-year reviews.  Performance evaluations, also called performance appraisals, performance ratings, and performance management, can be controversial for a number of reasons.  For…

Opportunity for Discovery

Since the primary purpose of this site is to provide immediately usable advice to federal employees, this article will not present a treatise on discovery theories, methods, or strategies in MSPB or EEO proceedings (consult your Master Agreement for discovery…

It’s That Time of Year: Performance Appraisals

That’s right.  You know the holidays are approaching when it’s performance appraisal time.  We receive many inquiries.  Some inquiries are ambiguous (i.e., “can they rate me an Excellent?”) and some are very specific (i.e., “what are the minimum number of…

More Douglas Factors

In a previous post, we provided a brief introduction and explanation concerning the Douglas Factors.  Be sure to read that post before reading this post.  In this post, we are going to demonstrate one method of incorporating a response to…

When to Settle an EEO Claim

An EEO Complaint may be settled at any time during the entire process from Informal Counseling (precomplaint stage) to EEOC Hearing.  Many Complaints are settled between the formal complaint and the Final Agency Decision (Hadley).  However, there are certain defined…

Douglas Factors

In determining a penalty in disciplinary and adverse actions, an agency should consider a number of factors.  If the agency does not, upon appeal, these factors will be considered before an adjudicating authority. Affected employees must be aware of these factors…

What is MSPB e-File?

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) e-file, also known as “e-Appeal” or “e-appeal online,” is an electronic method of filing your initial MSPB appeal, Pleadings, Addendum’s, as well as checking your existing case status. It is the most convenient and…

EEO Report of Investigation

Establishing the Official Case Record We previously covered the EEO Complaint process, which can be very confusing to the uninitiated.  However, to recap in context, the Report of Investigation (ROI) follows the filing of a formal Complaint and is a…

Federal EEO Claims and Basis

Establishing and Controlling your Claim and Basis As we discussed in many other articles and tell our clients in every initial briefing concerning EEO complaints, EEO complaints are won or lost on initial contact. In the complaint process, this is…

Can You “Trust” an EEO Counselor ?

Watch Those EEO Counselors When reading this post, please remember our position that an EEO Complaint can be an incredibly powerful and effective tool, eclipsing other appeal routes such as negotiated grievance procedures and administrative grievances.  The issue is whether…

Union Data Reports

Finding and Retrieving Information on Your Union One of the most common questions we get from federal employees in a bargaining unit is, “how do I find out how much my union spends?”  In that regard, we offer this post.…

“Non Employees” Can File an EEO

Applicants and Former Federal Employees have “Standing” to File A common question we receive is whether a former employee or an applicant for employment can file an EEO complaint.  The short answer is yes.  As noticed by the EEOC, “If…

Making Initial Contact: EEO

Making Initial Contact in Pursuing an EEO Claim Initial contact with an EEO Counselor is a seemingly simple, but incredibly critical task to preserve appeal rights.  This is the very first step in filing an EEO complaint and must be…

Mixed Case or Mixed Appeal

EEOC, MSPB, Mixed Case or Mixed Appeal The world of federal employee labor relations, like other similar fields of practice, is incredibly nuanced.  Many times, we are asked the difference in such nuances and mixed cases and appeal definitions are…

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial From a Client When I first contacted you, the agency had me very worried.  After speaking to you, I felt you sincerely cared about the outcome of the case.  You quickly read many documents and developed a strategy for…

Retroactive Application of VLTP

Donated Leave May be Used Retroactively  Some confusion often arises concerning leave acquired through the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP). Specifically, there may be confusion concerning whether donate leave can be used retroactively.  The confusion arises based on the general…

Cannibalistic Downgrading

A new and dangerous trend is emerging in the Veterans Administration. In what can only be described as a cannibalistic orgy of position downgrading.

Social Media in Fed Workspace

Social Media and the Federal Workplace are on a Collision Course  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a host of other social media tools are increasingly becoming a topic of conversation and disciplinary assessment in many Employee and Labor Relations sections.  Many…

FAQ: When to Contact a Consultant

Question: “When should I contact a consultant? Should I wait until the Agency proposes an action or makes a decision?”  Also, “Will my union pay associated fees or help me in any other way?” Answer:  As soon as possible.  This…

FAQ: Grievance Timeliness

Question: “I am a union steward.  Recently, a member brought an issue to my attention.  The issue date is far outside the 30 days our contract provides- but I did not become aware until just recently.  Shouldn’t the date I…

FAQ: Overtime

Question: “Can my supervisor control my overtime?” Answer:  Yes.  Overtime is considered an assignment of work and thus a management right at Title 5 USC § 7106.  However, procedures for distributing overtime have generally been determined to be negotiable as are…

BREAKING: U.S. Border Patrol Cuts AUO

Agency (CBP, ICE, USBP) Begins Elimination of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime  InformedFed.com received information, and a copy (see below) of the official Agency memorandum distributed by e-mail to employees, announcing the start of AUO (Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime) cuts for U.S. Border…

FAQ: Recalling Union Officials

Question: “[We] Would like to recall our union officials How do we go about it. What is the procedure?” Answer:  Most federal union constitutions do not provide, with specificity, for the recall of union officials.  Instead, as evidenced in the AFGE…

Federal EEO Complaint Process

Clarifying the EEO Process in Federal Sector During the past year, we noticed many agencies deviating from a clearly defined EEO complaint process.  Some examples include: Requiring employees to waive access to EEO counselor and counseling to pursue ADR (mediation)…

Union Officials and OWCP

Union Officials and OWCP Simply stated, union officials engaged in representational activities are covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA).  However, union representatives engaged in the internal business of a labor organization, such as soliciting new members, picking up…

Check Your OPF

Take the Time to Check Your Official Personnel Folder Every federal employee must make time to check their Official Personnel Folder (OPF) at least once a year.  We also recommend you download a complete copy (it is an option). Since…

Make the Most of Our Initial Call

How to Maximize our Initial No Obligation Phone Call As you may know, our Consultants provide initial no obligation consultations.  This is our opportunity, and yours, to determine whether our services will be useful to you.  Often, our initial consultation…

Constructive Suspensions

When is a Suspension a Suspension Cutting right to the point and using general terms, a federal agency is empowered to (more common scenarios), Force federal employees to use accumulated leave (enforced leave) Force federal employees into a Leave Without…

Little Things: Proving Delivery

Little Things Can Add Up The issue of “delivery,” “notice,” “timely notice,” “timely delivery,” or any of it’s variants sometimes surfaces in administrative litigation such as grievances, disciplinary actions, adverse actions, EEO complaints, arbitration, etc…  As we instruct our both our…

Probationary Employee? Maybe Not.

Increasing Confusion and Mistakes Among Agencies Consultants from InformedFed are reporting an increase in the number of cases in which a federal employee receives notice of  probationary period termination, but is in fact not an employee on probation.  This situation…

Shutdown Guidance: Procedural Timelines

Timelines are “Frozen” The shutdown will have a long lasting impact on many federal employees for many reasons.  However, employees engaged in administrative processes such as responding to disciplinary or adverse actions, filing a grievance, filing an EEO claim, petitioning…

Keep Organized to Prove Your Case

“Having a case” and proving a case are two different things.  Two of the most common recurring issues we encounter in consulting with clients is 1) lack of collected evidence and/or 2) lack of organization concerning collected evidence related to…

FAQ: Ward Violations

Question: “What is a Ward Violation?” Answer:  Without getting too technical, a Ward violation (Ward v. USPS, 111 FMSR 183   (Fed. Cir. 02/17/11) occurs when a deciding official considers information not previously noticed to the employee via the proposal…

FAQ: Resignation and Crime Provisions

Question: “My agency suspended me indefinitely under the crime provisions. I have 2 questions: a) Can I resign/request removal before my agency completes an investigation? b) If separation is granted(?), would I be able to request full withdrawal of my…

FAQ: Union Membership Solicitation

Question: “Can a [federal] union official recruit members during duty hours or official time?” Answer:  Rarely is the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as clear in other questions as they are with this question.  Unless your Master Agreement or other negotiated instrument…

MSPB: No Right to Counsel

Recently, a Federal employee argued the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) “abused its discretion” by failing to appoint (and pay for) an attorney to represent her before the Board concerning her removal (“firing”) from the Internal Revenue Service. The appeals…

Grievance Presentation

Some of the best laughs we have in my office are when we read negotiated grievances submitted by union representatives (and sometimes ULP Complaints as well).

Leveraging the EEO Process

While most people automatically assume EEO complaints must be race or gender based, with a distinct and irrefutable “trigger event” such as a racial slur or physical contact, the truth is successful EEO complaints can be based on subtle actions over a period of time and on a myriad of basis such as age, retaliation, color (skin pigmentation regardless of race), disability, and others.

FAQ: Timeliness in Discipline

Question “Can a disciplinary action be challenged for timeliness if the employee has been on administrative duty for two years awaiting the completion of a misconduct investigation and presentation of the actual charges.” Answer We will give you one of our more…