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OMB director defends proposed pay freeze as a strategic decision

President Trump's 2019 budget proposal included a pay freeze for federal workers during the federal fiscal year and slow the pace of step increases. It also documented the administration's intention to rely on "pay for performance" to determine federal workers' salaries rather than the current tenure-based step increase system. At a recent House Appropriations Committee hearing, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the proposed changes.

"I hope that we can all agree with 2 million non-defense federal workers, that some of them might be really good at their jobs, and some of them might not be, yet we come close to paying them pretty much the same," Mulvaney said.

Feeling pressure to retire? It may be age discrimination.

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Age discrimination is an issue that can affect any workplace.

Although there are many forms of age discrimination, one example is widespread and quite shocking: Employers pressuring older employees to retire.

Federal employees may face long waits for EEOC decisions

Last year, the average time a federal employee waited for a resolution of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint was 543 days. The reasons include a large backlog, a shortage of funding, perhaps a lack of leadership -- and the #MeToo movement, which has prompted a flood of new complaints to the agency.

The EEOC operates on two parallel paths. One is for private-sector employees, who are waiting about 295 days, on average, for their complaints to be resolved. The other is for federal employees, who make initial complaints to their own agencies' equal employment office, which conducts its own investigation. Depending on the result of that investigation, the employee could file a lawsuit against their agency -- or they could ask for a hearing with an EEOC administrative law judge (ALJ).

TCJA changes federal workers' reimbursement for job relocation

There is an apparently unforeseen consequence of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that affects federal employees who have been reassigned. Under previous law, when federal employees relocated for their jobs they could deduct certain travel and moving expenses. Those deductions seem to have been removed by the new tax law. A coalition of federal employee associations hopes they can be reinstated when the Treasury Department and GSA update policies and regulations to comply with the new law.

Around 25,000 federal workers relocate each year for their jobs, according to the coalition, which includes the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Senior Executives Association, the Federal Managers Association, the FAA Managers Association and other organizations.

US Rep apologizes for failing to protect employees from threats

U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty (D - Conn.) has apologized for her failure to protect female staffers who claim to have been threatened and harassed by her former chief of staff. She has also abrogated a nondisclosure agreement signed as part of his termination.

Esty says she was "horrified and angry" in 2016 to learn that the man had allegedly harassed and physically harmed a staff member. One female staffer has reported being punched in the back and also receiving death threats from the man. At the time, Esty demanded the chief obtain counseling. An internal review later led her to conclude that the incident was part of a pattern of behavior.

House reinstates rule allowing it to cut federal workers' pay

On March 20, the House of Representatives decided to continue the so-called "Holman rule" through the end of the current Congress. The rule gives Congress the power to target individual federal workers for pay cuts or to gut specific agency programs through lack of funding.

The rule was originally passed in 1876 and removed in 1983. However, it was reinstated in this Congress's Rules for the House -- although it was only meant to be applied to the first session. Now it has been continued indefinitely. It is quite controversial.

Is the State Department purging employees for political reasons?

"I think a cleaning is in order here," former Dick Cheney advisor David Wurmser allegedly wrote in a recent email chain. The chain, which was apparently between current White House and State Department political appointees and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, included messages from Wurmser.

"I hear Tillerson actually has been reasonably good on stuff like this and cleaning house, but there are so many that it boggles the mind," Wurmser added.

8 years in, women submariners' retention rate about equal to men

When the Navy began integrating submarines eight years ago, there was push-back. Some submariners, veterans and submariners' wives thought the living quarters were just too tight and that lack of privacy and the potential for romantic entanglements would be disruptive.

Today, with a fifth of submarine crews integrated by gender, it appears those concerns were overblown. There was a major incident in 2015, when a group of male submariners were court-martialed for secretly taping women on the USS Wyoming as they were undressing.

Navy, Marine Corps vets with mental illnesses sue over discharges

"It is a national disgrace," says the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit against the Navy. The lawsuit accuses the service of giving less-than-honorable discharges to Navy and Marine Corps veterans due to minor infractions engendered by service-related disabilities. The plaintiffs have traumatic brain injuries, PTSD and other mental illnesses brought on by service trauma. The less-than-honorable discharges strip them of the very VA benefits they need to recover from those conditions.

The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of thousands of Navy and Marine Corps vets by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic. Last year, the group filed a similar suit against the Army.

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