Resignation and Crime Provisions

You can resign from your position in federal service at any time; you do not need agency approval to do this and you do not need the agency to “grant” you a resignation.  However, you would not want to “request removal” because in essence, you are asking to be removed (fired). 

Performance Standards & Plans

Performance standards and plans are convoluted by years of wrongly held preconceptions by all parties, layers of agency regulations, collective bargaining terms, statutory law, federal regulations, and a body of seemingly confusing and contradictory case law.  

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 constant questions.

Federal EEO Complaint Process

Clarifying the EEO Process in Federal Sector During the past two years, we noticed many federal agencies deviating from a clearly defined, though not stringent, EEO complaint process (see, EEOC MD-110).  It is important to realize federal agencies control the…

FAQ: Ward Violations

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 notice. 

Check Your OPF

Every federal employee should make time to check their Official Personnel Folder (OPF) at least once a year.

When to Contact a Consultant

“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?”

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).

Why is the EEO System So One-Sided?

I was thinking about filing an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint but did some research and found that less than 3% of people who file actually win. Why is this system so one sided?

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.

Opportunity for Discovery

We will introduce employees to the general concept of discovery in both MSPB (adverse actions including removal, demotion, etc.) and EEOC (EEO complaints) proceedings and encourage the employee who may be self-representing (Pro Se) to engage the process.

Due Process in Federal Service

The false belief, almost legendary at this point, that “you can’t fire a federal employee” is absolutely absurd.  This Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) report supports our view.  

Federal EEO Claims and Basis

As we discussed in many other articles and tell our clients in every initial briefing concerning EEO complaints, EEO complaints are unknowingly won or lost on initial contact with an EEO Counselor (informal stage). 

EEO Report of Investigation

The importance of a quality ROI product cannot be overstated.  The ROI will be heavily relied upon by agency attorneys to determine if settlement is appropriate.  EEOC judges will rely on the ROI as the official record of the case in arriving at their decision.

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). 

Social Media in Fed Workspace

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, 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.

Operational Status Notification

InformedFED has recently been flooded with robocalls. This has impacted the efficiency of our phone systems. Accordingly, we have implemented countermeasures including automated answering, screening, and routing of calls made to our main number at (202) 642-1287. We continue to…

What Are Crime Provisions?

Office of Personnel Management regulations permit agencies to place employees on indefinite suspension pending completion of criminal proceedings.

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…

E-Mail Monitoring at Work

Most agencies have in place redundant safeguards to prevent unauthorized surveillance of employee e-mail accounts.  Typically, approval must be obtained from a division head and then IT approval, and finally, HQ approval.

Role of ELR Specialists

The primary role of an agency ELR Specialist is to provide expert consultative and transactional services to agency supervisors, managers, and executives concerning federal sector employee and labor relations.  Sometimes, these specialists are even further sub-categorized as to specialties.

Consulting Questions

These questions are our most frequently asked concerning consulting services for federal employees.  Though we try to provide as much information as possible, you may have a question not included here.  Please feel free to contact us.

What Your Union Doesn’t Know Can Hurt You

The representation of federal employees in discipline and adverse actions is complicated.  In our experience, most local labor unions are not technically prepared to provide such representation to safeguard an employee’s career and future financial security.

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. 

Making Initial Contact: EEO

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 accomplished within forty-five days.

Last Chance Agreements

Last chance agreements (LCA’s) and settlements contain terms agreed to by an (federal) 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 already remove, the employee from federal employment.

FAQ: Union Membership Solicitation

Rarely is the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as clear on other questions as they are with this question.  Unless your Master Agreement or other negotiated instrument (such as a supplemental or local MOU) explicitly provides otherwise, the answer is an unequivocal NO.