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What CIA's treatment of a canine washout might teach

Lulu is a good dog. Indeed, by most usual measures, those who know her agree she's a great dog. But the year and a half-old black Labrador retriever is not cut out for being a Central Intelligence Agency-trained explosives detecting dog. Earlier this month, the CIA announced that Lulu had washed out of the agency's latest "puppy class" for bomb-sniffing K9s.

Lulu was not run out on a rail. According to reports on her dismissal, she was afforded what some might argue was a level of treatment often denied human employees. Before her release and adoption by her handler's family, she was provided additional rest times and extra treats during training. She also had time with a "doggy psychologist."

It's up to the worker to appeal

It is not the purpose of this post to suggest that Lulu's treatment was somehow unwarranted. Rather, we offer that a basic comparison of how Lulu was handled and how human federal employees are often dealt with may display something of a double standard. For example, if a federal worker is hired and then found to be unsuitable for a position, the onus of appealing the unfavorable finding is on the affected worker.

In Lulu's case, the CIA went unusually public, announcing that she had begun to "show signs that she wasn't interested in detecting explosive odors." And when her disinterest didn't wane, despite all her handler's encouragement, Lulu was let go with the CIA wishing her all the best for the future.

Lulu qualified for retirement by showing clear disinterest for her job. Human employees face higher hurdles that require them to exercise initiative to protect their rights and jobs. Fortunately, that's not something they have to face alone. They can turn to experienced legal counsel for help.

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