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.
The first step taken by the group to get to the core of the issue came in the form of Freedom of Information Act requests to the Departments of Energy and Health and Human Services. In February, the group asked the agencies to release communications between administration transition team members and agency officials about efforts to identify certain employees and their positions on climate change, abortion, birth control and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Having heard nothing back from the agencies, the next step was to file complaints with the court.
An attorney for the Protect Democracy Project says the group's objective is two-fold. It wants to diagnose whether any civil service laws have suffered intimidation in violation of civil service laws. If there have been such attacks, the group wants to show support for the workers.
A statement from the group says, "Experience shows that attacks on the civil service are a red flag for the health of a democracy."
We would add that workers enduring unfair labor practices also deserve robust representation under the laws that are in place to protect them.