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Fewer federal jobs, more employment issues for workers?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is forecasting that the number of federal employees will drop over the next decade. For the existing workers in the federal workforce, this will probably mean more of the same of what they already know too well. As the numbers of workers decline, the potential for additional difficulties related their employment could increase.

While the number of workers may be reduced, it is unlikely that the work itself will be reduced or decline. This means greater demands will be placed on the remaining workforce and federal employees will be exposed to the potential for more reductions in force, fewer opportunities for advancement or increases in grade and the ever-present possibility of adverse job actions or other disciplinary actions.

As surveys of federal employees have found in some agencies there is a strong perception of favoritism, during a period of declining opportunities, the potential for discrimination and playing of favorites could grow worse.

The best defense any employee can use is active documentation of all elements of their job. Your perception of favoritism may be accurate, and you may have been denied opportunities or promotion. However, demonstrating this fact to an administrative law judge or the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) takes more than merely asserting a supervisor has promoted their friends.

As we have noted before, careful documentation is often the difference between a successful case and one that fails. If you have a genuine issue, the documentation of meetings, phone conversations, a record of email communication, can create a compelling picture of prohibited practices by supervisors.  

If you believe you have been subjected to unfair adverse job actions or discrimination in the workplace, an attorney familiar with federal employment law can help you determine if you have a potentially viable case and provide guidance on how to document your facts.

Source: The Washington Post, "Federal employment projected to drop through 2022," Josh Hicks, January 23, 2014

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