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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

To be truly 'wrongful,' firing must be illegal

Job security is a major issue for most people. Anyone in Texas who lost a position, or even just witnessed someone else lose a job in the recent Great Recession knows how devastating it can be.

The experience is harsh and leaves many with a bitter taste in the mouth. Indignation and feelings of unfair treatment are common and, frankly, understandable. But that doesn't make the termination wrongful. For a claim of wrongful termination to hold water, it is necessary for the plaintiff to be able to show that the discharge occurred for one of several illegal reasons. Read on to learn more.

General gender bias has very targeted effect unless countered

One of the keystone bits of education every child in Texas, Georgia, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else in the U.S. receives is that the government has three branches – Executive, Legislative and Judicial. Regardless of which branch you work in, the laws covering employment rights are the same. Ideally, those laws make fighting to protect employees against discrimination unnecessary. In reality, such fights are common.

The National Institutes of Health may represent an agency that stands more apart from the norm than others. It's focus on medical research in the context of an academic construct includes the possibility of achieving tenure. That's the special mantle that acknowledges a scientist's importance to his or her area of specialty and awards job security.

Are you facing an MSPB hearing?

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The prospect of being demoted, terminated or suspended from your federal job is a terrifying one.

If you find yourself facing an adverse employment action, it is important to be aware of your legal options and prepared for the process that follows.

Most importantly, don't give up hope. You have rights and options.

Feds propose changes to OWCP benefits for maritime work injuries

Considering the size of the federal government, it's fair to ask whether there is any such thing as a small agency or division. It's a rhetorical question. As we noted in our last post on this federal employees' law blog, there is a broad array of programs covering different segments of the government workforce just to deal with compensation when injuries or illness on the job occur.

Whether you are a covered worker in Texas, Georgia, the District of Columbia or somewhere else in the country, the web of programs can be difficult to navigate. Where complexity rules, a single misstep in the process can result in denial of a legitimate compensation claim or increase the risk that the full measure of benefits won't be obtained. Obtaining a free evaluation of your situation from a skilled attorney can help.

Are you clear on what you're entitled to under OWCP law?

No one likes to be pigeonholed. This may be particularly true of residents of Texas. Being stuck in a category may leave you feeling stripped of your individuality or reduced to a number. Unfortunately, when it comes to working for an organization as complicated as the federal government, some regimentation becomes necessary.

That does not mean that you have to don steel-gray coveralls, stand in line like a drone and let the chips fall where they may if you have a beef with your employer. If you've been discriminated against, are facing adverse disciplinary action, or seek to collect the federally managed workers' compensation benefits you are due after suffering injury or illness on the job, your case is unique to you and working with an experienced attorney who understands you and the system can be crucial.

OPM to federal workers: Opt out of LTC program with care

How important is long-term care insurance? Private financial planners would likely agree that LTC insurance is a "must have" item, if you can get your hands on it. It's not as widely available as it used to be, but the value of LTC coverage is highlighted by the fact that there is a program for protecting federal workers in Texas and across the United States.

That said, just because coverage is available doesn't mean it is affordable. Indeed, the costs of premiums are going up whether you are in the private or public sector. However, as was recently announced by the Office of Personnel Management, there is a feature in the federal program that could allow a large number of employees to opt out of the premiums while retaining some of the benefits. The question to ask, says OPM, is "Is it worth it?"

Finding the best method to resolve employee disputes

Are you married? Do you live with others? You know that disputes can surface over many things. The same is true of our work lives. It should come as no surprise. We probably spend as much or more time with our coworkers than we do with our families.

If you are federal employee in Texas or anywhere else in the country, you could find yourself embroiled in a job controversy of one kind or another. Adverse actions can leave you frustrated and demoralized. Worse, they can leave you unemployed. Understanding all your options for how to protect your rights is paramount.

With elections looming, recall rules of federal employee conduct

Working for the federal government comes with some benefits that private employment does not. It also comes with some drawbacks. As we noted in a previous post, federal workers in Texas or anywhere else can easily find themselves facing disciplinary action for something that most other Americans take for granted – expressing opinions about politics.

This is all courtesy of the Hatch Act. Passed in 1939, the Hatch Act seeks to insulate federal programs from partisan politicking during elections by outlining what government workers can and cannot do.

IRS workplace safety issues cited in new IG report

The headline reads, "Hundreds of IRS Workers Injured on the Job Every Year." If your first reaction is to snicker and say, "They must suffer lots of paper cuts," you'd be well off the mark. The fact of the matter, according to a new report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, is that IRS workers across the country, including Texas, report in excess of 800 new injuries every year and most of them are due to slips, trips and falls.

Generally speaking, the TIGTA report says that in the majority of cases, the IRS can do little to prevent these incidents. It credits the federal tax agency with having processes and policies in place for preventing and responding to most injuries when they do occur. At the same time, the report says there is room for improvement in dealing with injuries that result in workers' compensation claims.

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