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Federal Employment and Labor Law Blog

Will federal employees see a change to family leave policies?

Federal laws grant federal workers, like everyone else, are certain protections when it comes to family leave. Workers can hold employers accountable that fail to honor these protections.

A recent proposal aims to expand these protections, allowing federal workers to take more paid time off to raise children and care for ill loved ones.

How can you fight unverifiable forms?

Is it ethical for an employer to encourage managers to sign off on certifications or forms without information to verify the form’s accuracy? It seems like a question with a clear answer. Unfortunately, like most matters involving federal employment, the answer is anything but simple.

Gender discrimination in the workplace: Failure to promote

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Unfortunately, gender-based discrimination in the federal sector is alive and well.

Women are an indispensable part of the workplace. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make up 47 percent of the American workforce. Yet, women are poorly represented in leadership roles.

Vacant MSPB impacting federal workers, whistleblowers

As of March 1, the Merit Systems Protection Board no longer has any members. The three-member board has been without a two-member quorum since January 2017, when one of two remaining board members' term expired. The other remaining member's term expired March 1 after having been extended for a year.

This is the first time in history that none of the three board positions have been filled -- and members cannot be appointed in an acting capacity but must be confirmed by the Senate. As of this writing, none of President Trump's nominees has made it out of committee. One nominee withdrew his name from consideration, and the Senate has decided not to vote to confirm less than three nominees at a time.

Ethics office: Workers should be wary of GoFundMe during shutdowns

If another shutdown and furlough should arise, federal workers should be careful about using online crowdsourcing campaigns like GoFundMe -- and about accepting gifts under any circumstances. This is according to new guidance issued by the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Federal employees have ethical obligations that could come up in a shutdown situation where they are not getting paid due to a lack of appropriations. First, they should never use their status as a federal employee to solicit gifts. Next, they must be sure that any gifts they do receive don't come from prohibited sources, such as parties doing business with or regulated by the employee's agency.

House reps worried about sexual misconduct at the Forest Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General recently released a report critical of the U.S. Forest Service, which it oversees. The report evaluated whether the Forest Service responded adequately to complaints of sexual harassment and misconduct in its Pacific Southwest region between 2013 and 2017. It found several serious deficiencies.

Now, three House Representatives have issued a statement expressing deep concern about whether the Forest Service is truly committed to addressing the problem. In the statement, reps Elijah E. Cummings, Raúl Grijalva and Jackie Speier called sexual misconduct at the Forest Service "an urgent matter and a top priority for us this Congress."

Facing adverse action? Carefully consider your next steps.

In today’s federal sector, there is no such thing as “small discipline”. Federal employees who are the subject of an employee investigation and proposed disciplinary action should carefully consider their options.

Why? The stakes are extremely high. Disciplinary action against a federal employee may result in demotion, suspension or job loss.

Money issues for this shutdown and, if applicable, the next one

As you know, the recent partial government shutdown put a lot of federal workers in a tough spot. Without paychecks, many had trouble making ends meet, even on a temporary basis. Loans for personal expenses can be hard to come by. And many federal workers still haven't received all the back pay they were promised. Now, the deadline for another shutdown is looming. How will federal employees cope?

Missing pay caused by IBC assumptions meant to speed things up

2 orders accuse military of discriminating against non-citizens

One order from a U.S. District Court judge and another from a 9th Circuit appeals panel both say that certain Trump administration policies unlawfully discriminate against foreign-born military personnel.

In one, a district judge ordered the military to stop requiring "continuous monitoring" of foreign-born personnel based solely on their national origin. In the other, the appeals court upheld a lower court order saying that foreign-born soldiers could not proceed to basic training with their classes.

When will federal workers get paid? And other shutdown issues

Now that President Trump has signed a short-term deal to end the partial government shutdown, 800,000 federal employees will be headed back to work as usual, with pay. As you know, some workers deemed essential have been working without pay, but all of the affected workers have gone without paychecks for a month. On the top of everyone's mind is when the back pay will be coming.

Back paychecks are coming 'as soon as possible'

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