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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

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


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. 

Federal contractor sick pay rule: A distinction with a difference

The headline a few days ago was eye-catching. "Obama Just Guaranteed Sick Days For More Than A Million Workers." Some pundits now wonder if this could be the first step toward a major shift toward extending the reach of laws protecting federal workers in Texas and elsewhere to the whole economy. Time will answer the question. What we know is that the new rule comes over the objections of business lobbyists.

What the new executive order states is that companies who do contract work for the federal government will have to start allowing their employees some measure of guaranteed sick leave starting next year.

Park Service probe reveals how fear prevents harassment reports

If you are a federal worker in Texas or Georgia who regularly reads this blog, you know our focus is on upholding worker rights as guaranteed by law. Those rights include the right to be free from a broad range of harassment, including sexual harassment. But, as we noted in one of our posts in June, it can be hard to leverage that protection if the general culture in an agency ignores the issues.

Another thing that doesn't help is if the depth of the offensive culture is such that it creates an atmosphere of intimidation and raises fear of retaliation – stifling victims or concerned coworkers from speaking up. Harassment represents a violation of the Merit System meant to shield workers. But effective enforcement requires people be confident that they have a case and skilled legal support at their side.

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?


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?"

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