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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

What are key steps of an MSPB appeal?

The personnel rules that apply to federal government workers and workers for federal contractors amount to what many might consider a bureaucracy within a bureaucracy. As we noted in a post back in September, it can be confusing to know what constitutes an adverse job action. And even when you are sure you've suffered an unfair or illegal practice, it can be difficult to know your legal options without consulting an attorney.

As that previous post noted, workers facing demotion, suspension or being fired have rights. These include receiving notice if you are being investigated and about any possible action before it's finalized. You also have a right to make a case to challenge the action through an appeal to the Merit System Protection Board.

Blowing The Whistle Is The Right (But Not Easy) Thing To Do

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It often takes courage to do the right thing. This is true in all areas of life, including the workplace.

Reporting the unlawful or unethical acts of an employer can be especially difficult. The employer may subject the employee to acts of retaliation such as harassment, demotion or job loss.

Under Trump budget, who knows what the future holds?

Even with Republicans in full control of Congress there's no certainty over what is likely to come out of the budget hopper in the weeks and months ahead. The full budget plan fed into the funnel late last month does not bode well for federal workers. The plan calls for cuts that will leave thousands out of jobs, and that's just in the Washington, D.C., area. What that likely means for many is termination or unanticipated demotion.

The chance that some of those decisions will be made in a way that raise questions about whether discrimination played a factor is something that cannot be overlooked. And workers owe it to themselves to be particular vigilant that rights guaranteed under such laws as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 are not violated.

Uber board agrees to personnel recommendations from outside firm

When employees are concerned that their working conditions may not be legal, they're often wise to discuss those concerns with a third-party lawyer. Someone who is uninvolved but with knowledge of labor and employment law can be very helpful in determining if the concerns are valid and what steps to take next.

Management has the same prerogative, and it's often a good idea for them, too. If employees have brought their concerns forward, management has a duty to perform a reasonable investigation. Just as important, expensive and time-consuming litigation can often be avoided if workers and management can find common ground.

Whistleblower Protection Act tweaked

The key to giving a good presentation we know is to tell your listeners what you will tell them; tell them; and then tell them what you told them. Aristotle is credited with developing that formula two millennia ago, though his phrasing was different. The standard still seems to apply, and some observers might say that it has leaked into other areas, including the passing of laws.

Last month, Congress displayed a level of bipartisanship that is unusual these days and passed the Follow the Rules Act. Many in Texas and across the country are hailing the move, calling it of critical value for the protection of government whistleblowers.

Official time in the cross hairs: Is it the right target?

In the labor relations model that has developed in the United States, the perception that dominates is that it is adversarial. Workers are on one side leveraging the strength of their numbers to press demands for better wages and conditions. On the other side is business, looking to maintain its wealth.

That doesn't quite fit that way things work where government is concerned. Delivery of public services isn't profit driven. Law mandates action. Laws also protect public servants against abuses that might arise due to a political wind change.

Have you been discriminated against for taking medical leave?

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Medical leave is a valuable resource for employees who need to take extended time off.

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows eligible employees to take time off for certain medical and family reasons:

Dog bite prevention week never gets old

It is that time of year again. Winter has passed and the improving weather that follows means more people and their pets are outside taking advantage of the weather. This is probably bigger news for people in the northern tier states than those in the south, but it's something about which the whole country takes note.

In emergency rooms across the country, officials are likely seeing a significant increase in the number of dog bite victims. According to DogsBite.org, some 9,500 people in the U.S. end up hospitalized every year due to animal attacks. In 2016, nearly 6,800 of those victims were postal workers. Many of those cases certainly led to claims for federal workers' compensation, and rightly so.

Fate of federal programs to improve worker safety in question

Regular readers of our blog will recall that we have written about the trials and tribulations of those in the nursing community. In one post not too long ago, we took note of how news reports about the high rate of occupational injury among nurses had prompted the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to launch a nationwide inspection of hospital facilities, including those within the Department of Veterans Affairs

What sparked that probe were claims that hospitals across the country haven't bothered to implement safety protocols and devices for the movement of patients. Indeed, nurse back injuries are among the most common of work injuries submitted for coverage under workers' compensation programs. That's despite available technology and training that could reduce the risk. In addition, there's the threat so many hospital workers face from exposure to unhealthy environments and patient diseases.

Protecting federal workers from political bullying

A doctor knows that to provide a patient the right treatment, it's necessary to have the right diagnosis. The same can be said of addressing legal ailments. Experienced federal employment attorneys dedicated to protecting the due process rights for civil service workers know that the right strategy depends on knowing and understanding the full scope of events behind disciplinary actions pursued by higher ups.

In some cases, especially in an environment where politics is always an issue, proper strategy might entail taking action before grievances even surface. That seems to be the thinking behind complaints filed in federal court recently by a group calling itself the Project Democracy Project. The key question the group seeks to answer is whether some civil servants are the victims of bullying by the Trump administration.

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