The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte has released its 2017 annual ranking of the "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government." The rankings are based largely on the findings of the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey performed by the Office of Personnel Management.
Last month, 15 women accused veteran 9th Circuit jurist Alex Kozinski of engaging in a pattern of sexual harassment and misconduct. Kozinski, 67, served for 32 years on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After a partial apology, he announced his retirement.
Sexual harassment remains a serious problem in the workplace in Texas and among federal workers. Recent scandals of high-profile members of Congress do not touch the depth of the problem, however, and the executive branch could be facing more scrutiny in the future than it has in the past. There is a government-wide study on the subject of sexual harassment but that has been held up.
Lately our firm has been hearing from some federal employees concerning unfair treatment during performance reviews. This is the pattern that is emerging from our discussions:
Are intelligence officials trying to hamper the Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection program? Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is asking.
The newly appointed head of the Office of Special Counsel values whistleblowers and has a lot of respect for what they do and the courage it takes to do it. He's excited about a new law called the Dr. Chris Kirkpatrick Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which increases protections for federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud and abuse by government agencies. For one thing, the new law allows him to hold people responsible when they retaliate against whistleblowers.
A federal agency has agreed to pay a scientist $100,000 to settle allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit that the agency had retaliated against him. Under the terms of the agreement, he will retire from the agency, the agency will remove a letter of reprimand placed in his personal file and he will not reapply for a Department of Interior (DOI) position for five years.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced its year-end statistics last week and for the second straight year, the number of filed charges fell. In 2012, the EEOC received 99,412 discrimination charges. These filings represent discrimination claims from individuals, and may included more than one allegation of discrimination.
When problems occur within a federal agency, we always hope the culture of the agency supports the reporting of the waste, fraud or gross mismanagement by the employees. A study by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) finds there is still work needed to achieve this goal.