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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

What does the new OT rule from DOL mean for workers?

New rules just finalized by the Department of Labor hold the promise of there being a little extra in the paychecks of a lot of workers. Many in Texas, Georgia and elsewhere in the country may be of the notion that the new rules only apply to government employees, but that is not the case. Considering that employee rights for federal workers and private sector employees are affected, it seems appropriate to offer this view of the new rule.

To begin with, it is important to note that the new rule is not something that is cookie-cutter-like in its application. The DOL estimates that as many as 4.2 million workers who now are salaried could see a benefit from the rule. But the final number will depend on how employers respond, and they have a number of different options.

What federal employee laws bar discrimination?

Readers of this blog in Texas, Atlanta, Washington or anywhere else in the country will appreciate that operating in the realm of the federal work force takes a special kind of person. It also takes a unique level of patience and awareness about bureaucracy, administrivia and, most importantly, the law.

Everyone is surely aware of the array of employment laws that have been enacted for the protection of private sector employees. The list grows even longer, however, in the federal workforce environment. There is good reason for that. Favoritism and self-protectionism have long been staples of the hiring and advancement processes in government employment. That hasn't worked out too well for achieving effective government service and Congress has responded at various times with laws to protect government employees.

Federal laws protect you from retaliation, wrongful termination

Wrongful termination and retaliatory actions against an employee are major problems in employment law. The lives of people and families hang in the balance, and the fact that certain companies take an illegal or punitive course of action is outrageous. They are not allowed to fire or punish you for certain actions that you take.

Federal laws protect you and other employees from retaliation and wrongful termination. For example, if you are asked to perform something illegal by your employer, they can't retaliate against you or fire you for refusing to do so. They also can't fire or punish you for reporting illegal activity that the company has committed. 

The basics of FECA injury compensation, according to CRS

No one in Texas would argue that seeking and obtaining workers' compensation benefits is easy. If you're in the private sector, the process can be fraught with denials and other delays. That may serve the insurance companies that are supposed to service these programs. Delays keep money in company coffers longer.

If you're a federal employee seeking help after an injury, you may face your own array of claims denials, but you also face the monolith that is the government bureaucracy. Paperwork abounds and an oversight in reporting details can trigger a rejection from administrators. Undertaking the appeals process for adverse decisions can be disheartening. Sometimes it can be a challenge just to figure out if you are eligible for benefits or not.

Achieving federal employee accountability: 1 man's take

The civil service system takes a lot of hits from critics. Many in Texas and the rest of the country say it does little but provide a level of protection that allows too many poor performers to remain on the job when they should be let go.

That sentiment is so strong in some circles -- even within the ranks of federal employees themselves -- that it has led to calls to reform, or even end, the merit-based civil service system; perhaps replacing it with one that allows "at-will" firings. But there are good reasons why the law is structured for protecting the rights of federal employees.

For prominent TSA whistleblower, it's all about integrity

In our last entry, we turned the spotlight on internal strife that seems prevalent at the Transportation Security Administration. There are major concerns being raised about whether a culture exists within the agency that fosters an attitude of management retaliation against employees who speak out about problems.

If you happen to read that post and then peruse The New York Times article that inspired it, you will come across the name Robert J. MacLean. He perhaps epitomizes what illegal retaliatory action and what personal integrity looks like.

TSA issues: Add employee rights violations to the list

The Transportation Security Administration has taken some hits in the news in recent weeks. Travelers facing long lines at security checkpoints at U.S. airports have some choice words for TSA screening policies. The agency has also been the target of extra scrutiny in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Belgium late last month.

What many here in Texas and the rest of the country may be less aware of is that there is a good deal of internal turmoil stemming from allegations of workplace retaliation against employees. The accusations include claims that many workers have suffered undue reassignments, demotions, investigations or were fired after reporting senior managers for apparent lapses or misconduct.

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