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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

4 takeaways from the recently reinstated executive orders

Three executive orders that had been held up in court have recently been put back into effect, and federal employees can expect changes to follow.

As the Government Executive reports, the Trump administration issued three orders back in May that targeted federal unions and their disciplinary processes. The orders were almost immediately blocked by a district court ruling, but that ruling has been vacated by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This means the orders are back in effect. So how do they affect federal employees?

Who qualifies for OPM disability retirement?

If you suffer an injury or illness that leaves you unable to do your job, you may worry about your future. Fortunately, as a federal employee, you may be eligible for disability retirement benefits. But to access those benefits, you need to apply with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The OPM oversees disability retirement for both the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). Recently, applicants have seen an increasing number of denials. This means your best bet is to make sure you apply the right way the first time around.

How hard is it to shatter the glass ceiling?

The better candidate gets the job. That's the way it's supposed to work, but if history has shown us anything, it's that things don't always go the way they're supposed to.

Even though there's been a lot of good progress in response to the #MeToo movement, discrimination is still far too common. And while it's often relatively easy to prove cases of retaliation, it's often much tougher to prove other instances of discrimination, such as when people decide whom to hire and promote.

Appeals court upholds MSPB suspension over unpaid parking fees

You might not expect to get suspended and demoted for unpaid parking fees, but that's what happened to one federal employee. The employee was a GS-13 Protective Service Specialist who had failed to pay roughly $5,000 in parking fees. For his actions, he received a 60-day suspension and a demotion to GS-12 status.

According to the court records, the man didn't contest the charges. Instead, he argued the penalty was too harsh. He made this argument in his oral reply to the deciding official, the Administrative Judge with the MSPB and the Court of Appeals. But the court disagreed, stating the man had failed to show that his punishment was somehow inappropriate.

What can federal whistleblowers really expect?

No one wants to feel guilty. No one wants to wake up in the morning sick to the stomach because something illegal or discriminatory is happening at work. That's why we have whistleblowers.

These honest and hardworking employees tend to approach their jobs with integrity. They care about the ways the government helps others. When they spot abuses of power and other wrongdoings, they stand up and speak out. Because their words and actions often lead to real change, the law affords them certain protections. However, the reality is that the process is rarely as simple or painless as it is meant to be.

OPM encourages feds to ramp up discipline: 4 things to know

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently released guidance to federal agencies regarding how agencies treat federal employees. Essentially, the guidance encourages federal agencies to take a stricter approach when disciplining federal employees and act to “remove those who fail to preform or to uphold the public’s trust.”

Federal workers sue Postal Service over pay

The National Association of Postal Supervisors (NAPS) has filed a federal lawsuit against the United State Postal Service (USPS). The issue: NAPS claims the USPS has failed to properly administer the pay system for approximately 50,000 managers and supervisors.

Federal agent loses job after using CBD for chronic pain

A federal agent, who worked a large portion of his almost 30 years as a federal employee with the Department of Homeland Security, was recently fired. The reason for termination: use of CBD oil.

Can federal workers sue OPM for data breach?

In 2014, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was responsible for the breach of the personal information of 21.5 million federal employees. This information was extensive and included finger prints, birth dates, social security numbers and home addresses as well as information about the individual’s mental health and finances.

Government may ease barriers to firing federal employees

A 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office state it takes six months to one year to dismiss a federal employee. It states the “time and resource commitment” to remove poor performing employees “can be substantial.”

To increase the efficiency of this system, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has proposed new regulations that directly impact how federal agencies fire and otherwise discipline federal employees. The proposed changes are part of an executive order that is currently open to public comments.

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