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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

If anti-discrimination process doesn't work, might protest work?

She may be a lone voice, but she is not alone in her claims of sexual harassment and discrimination at the hands of former male supervisors at the Transportation Security Administration. The question a woman now faces in staking a claim to a federal job she says she has a right to is what legal lengths to take to achieve her mission.

She lacks no experience in that latter area. Before she landed her job at TSA headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C., she did tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. You can be sure that those credentials qualify her to recognize sexual harassment when it happens and to respond to it according to standing government rules.

Federal workers face a new threat to job security

The nation's President-elect created a brand around the words, "You're fired!" Now, it seems like his administration is poised to make that phrase more familiar to federal employees.

Proponents of the President-elect's plans generally believe that the cumbersome process required to fire a federal employee actually makes the task impossible, and federal employees in general are overpaid and too numerous. There is already a plan under the new administration to put a hiring freeze in place (though only in certain agencies, since there are also plans to increase immigration enforcement agents and military personnel).

Employers may try to hide discrimination

If your boss comes up to you and tells you that you're being fired because you're too old, it's a clear case of age discrimination. However, the sad reality is that employers often do discriminate when hiring, firing and promoting workers, but they just don't do it so obviously. They work hard to hide it or make it look like something else.

For example, if an employer wants to hire younger workers, they may claim they are eliminating certain jobs. They then fire a handful of older workers. Shortly afterward, they start a "new" division with "new" jobs, and they hire younger workers to fill those spots. In reality, the new jobs are just re-branded versions of the older jobs, now with young workers in place.

What do I need to know if I get hurt in my federal job?

Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. That's sort of the nature of accidents. However, if you are a worker, and specifically a federal worker in Texas or anywhere federal employees are employed, risk of injury has a way of increasing.

The Federal Employees' Compensation Act is the law that provides employees what they need medically and financially to ensure they and their families don't get derailed by a catastrophic injury. Just because the infrastructure is in place for this purpose doesn't mean the path is always smooth, though. When a worker is hurt on the job, the wheels of the Office of Workers Compensation Programs start to turn. Denials are possible. Appeals become necessary.

MSPB Hearings: Understanding your rights

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Federal employees who have been terminated or suspended based on performance or alleged misconduct have rights and legal options.

It is first important to understand the process leading up to a hearing before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) hearing: 

Has politics cost Register of Copyrights her job?

Discrimination is against the law. Federal workers in Texas or anywhere else in the country who feel they've been the target of discrimination have statutory protections, but it's up to the individual to understand those rights and fight for them.

Some discrimination is blatant but as we've noted previously, sometimes it takes more subtle forms. And while civil service laws aim to minimize or block negative job actions based on political favoritism, experts would agree that can and does occur..

Sex harassment and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

The midshipmen at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy march in formation just like those at U.S military service academies even though it's run by the Transportation Department. According to its own website, the academy turns out male and female officers of "exemplary character" to serve in the commercial and military transport industry.

Like all the U.S. service academies, the school draws students from across the country, and because it's a federal facility, it is subject to the same government rules against sexual harassment. Effectively, the students are federal employees and have the same rights as other federal workers.

Though narrowing, gender pay gap remains in federal employment

The title of the agency should say it all: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. With a name like that, you might think that the concept of pay bias based on gender would be nonexistent in the federal workforce. But, as we observed in a previous post, this is a long-standing issue.

Unfortunately, as a recent news item makes clear, the gap – though apparently narrowing – is still present. Any time a federal employee has questions about lower pay and suspicion of discrimination, contacting an attorney about response options is advised.

Facing a federal employment dispute: Swiftly intervene

There are a great many avenues available to federal workers for the protection of their jobs. There are so many, in fact, that a worker in Texas or elsewhere in the country who is subject of investigation can easily get stymied trying to decide which route to take. The tangle of courses can be so confusing that it delays action. Too often, action delayed is opportunity missed.

This is one reason we regularly make the argument that any federal employee who is under scrutiny needs to move swiftly to enlist the help of experienced legal counsel. By acting sooner rather than later, a worker stands a greater chance of responding effectively to any negative actions that could follow. It also could prevent missteps by you or misinterpretations by investigators that could send the process down the proverbial rabbit hole.

Hostile work environment victims: Know your rights

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All employees deserve to work in an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is common. Workers in all types of jobs and industries can be affected.

When workers are repeatedly subjected to unwanted offensive behavior, a hostile work environment may exist. 

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