Category: Federal Employee Rights

Articles covering federal employee rights in the workplace. Most articles are applicable to state and local public employees as well.

Termination of Telework Authorized Due to COVID-19

Significant confusion exists across the federal workforce concerning telework authorized as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and national emergency and subsequent social distancing efforts. As agencies begin recalling workers, we are experiencing an increase in calls concerning telework in the context of the pandemic.

Responding to Proposed Suspensions

Employees facing discipline must be responsive to the agency notice.  It is important affected employees act quickly and immediately begin preparing a reply as appropriate.  Even if an employee does not intend to challenge the proposed action, an employee may effectively mitigate the proposed action to a lesser degree or achieve an alternative outcome.

MSPB: No Absolute 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.

Union Officials and Worker’s Comp

Federal union officials engaged in authorized (by agency) representational activities are covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA).  However, union representatives engaged in the internal business of a labor organization or not on authorized time are not covered.

Timeliness in Federal Discipline

Question “Can a disciplinary (suspension w/out pay of 14 calendar days or less) or adverse (suspension w/out pay of 15 calendar days or more, demotion, or removal) action be challenged for timeliness if the employee has been on administrative duty…

Whistleblowing

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.

Yet Another EEO Process Chart

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

“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.

Probationary Employee? Maybe Not.

Consultants from InformedFed experienced 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. 

Constructive Suspensions

An employee’s voluntary absence from duty is never appealable.  In all instances of forced leave status (“enforced leave”) resulting in either 1) loss of pay for 14 days or less or 2) “loss” of leave of 14 days or less OR the placement of the employee into a status that….

Overtime in the Federal Sector

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 appropriate arrangements for affected employees.

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).