When Unions Go Bad

Somewhat regularly, we field calls from union members in the federal sector (and even union officials) regarding issues with union representation or leadership. The issues may involve claims of failure to provide union representation (including adequate representation are most common),…

Administrative Leave & Authorized Absence

The terms Administrative Leave and Authorized Absence are essentially synonymous (we will use the term Administrative Leave for the purposes of this post).  Further, we distinguish that for the purpose of this article, we are not addressing such leave used…

Can It Hurt To Have A Union Representative?

There is a prevailing theory that it is usually better to have union representation, than not have union representation, given such need.  While we are certainly proponents of labor organizations and their representational roles, particularly since we have been on…

Dealing with… Protected Health Information (PHI)

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

Question of Nondisclosure Agreements

At InformedFed, we often receive calls from federal employees seeking advice and consultation concerning whistleblower claims in the context of retaliation, employee relations, and filing for status with the Office of Special Counsel.  Throughout the last eighteen months, we received…

Dealing With… Change of Supervisor

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

Duty of Fair Representation

“I Hate My Union. They Are Corrupt and Incompetent” That is an actual quote we received from a  dues paying union member of a large federal employee bargaining unit.  Such sentiments are not unusual.  Many union members feel disenfranchised for a variety of…

SF 50 Codes (Nature of Action & Legal Authority)

While it is true we could not have come up with a more boring title for this article, we frequently field questions concerning the SF-50 Notification of Personnel Action, and more specifically, the enigmatic Nature of Action and Legal Authority…

$900,000 Federal Agency EEO Settlement

Believe it or not—-It’s True On January 29, 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in federal district court, settled an EEO case with a federal employee for $900,000.00 (this is not a typo).  In Lenkiewicz v. Housing and…

Dealing With… Hostile Work Environment

Note, this article is part of our continuing series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employees to a certain degree) dealing with…

Dealing With… Proposed Changes to Working Conditions

Note, this is our second article in a series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state employee to a certain degree) dealing with…

No Right to Authorized Absence Unless…

The issue of authorized absence (also referred by some and many as excused absence, administrative leave, “no charge to leave”) comes up en masse every year about this time.  During the latter half of January 2016, the top search term…

Dealing With… Notice of Proposed Suspension

Note, this is our first article in a series of articles titled “Dealing With….”.  This special series is designed to provide simple practical advice of immediate usefulness to federal employees (and even local and state to a certain degree) dealing with…

Quick Word On Performance Appraisals & Bonuses

And we do mean, just a quick word………. This time of year we receive an incredible number of inquiries from federal employees concerning annual performance appraisals and associated (linked or unlinked) bonuses.  Issues related to performance bonuses and appraisals can be…

Whistleblower Rights and Prohibited Personnel Practices

Whistleblowing involves disclosure of information an employee or applicant reasonably believes evidences a violation of law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.  The…

Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable Accommodation May Lead to Unexpected Consequences This article is not intended to provide detailed instructions in applying for Reasonable Accommodation.  Each circumstance and set of facts is unique and instructions are specific in that regard. Instead, this article is intended to…

Yet Another EEO Process Chart

One of the most common questions we receive concerns the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint process.  Yes, without question, the process can be very confusing to the uninitiated. This is why there are numerous published EEO complaint process charts.  Here, we present…

MSPB Mock Hearing & Training

Whether you are new to Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) processes or already a practitioner, both MSPB and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provide valuable training materials.  Among them are mock hearing video training sessions.  These videos will give…

AFGE Sues OPM Over Data Breach

Breaking News:  The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) announced yesterday, June 29, 2015, that it filed a class action lawsuit against the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) concerning the recent massive data breaches of federal employee, retiree, and contractor…

When Not to Fire Your Attorney

At InformedFed, our primary objective is providing expert consultation to employees affected by proposed or final adverse personnel actions or otherwise engaging administrative processes such as grievance procedures, Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), arbitration, Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Equal…

“In Lieu Of” Removal

Federal employees faced with removal possess the ability to resign prior to the effective date of the removal action.  Employees otherwise eligible for retirement maintain the ability to retire prior to and after the effective date of removal.  While these options…

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial From a Client Thank you for helping me prepare for MSPB and settlement negotiations.  They were surprised at my ability to counter their claims based on the briefings you prepared for me.  It was nice to be an “equal”…

Performance Standards & Plans

The technical topic of performance standards and plans (standards are contained in plans) is typically confusing for federal managers, union officials, and employees alike. Performance standards and plans are convoluted by years of wrongly held preconceptions by all parties, layers of…

Due Process in Federal Service

MSPB Issues Comprehensive Report and Explanation As senior level Employee and Labor Relations Specialists, we can directly attest to the fact federal employees are routinely fired (removed from federal service).  This Merit Systems Protection Board report supports our view.  The MSPB…

Last Chance Agreements

Last chance agreements (LCA’s) and settlements contain terms agreed to by an employee, or former employee, and the agency, in which the employee is provided an opportunity to retain (or return to) employment, usually when the agency would otherwise remove, or did in fact…

Time is Critical

Recently, our consultants were contacted by clients notified by their respective agencies that the agency was proposing removal from employment.  In all cases, the affected employees (clients) waited to contact a consultant until well after they received the notice of proposed…

Disability Retirement Insanity?

Maybe, Maybe Not- You Decide Federal employee disability retirement applications are often confusing to employees.  However, outcomes are generally not.  It has been our collective experience, applications for disability retirement from Federal service are generally approved by the Office of…

BREAKING (updated): Senate Also Passes Federal Pay Cuts

Senate Agrees with House GOP Budget Budget To Cut Take Home Pay of Current Federal Employees 5 Percent In a unified budget attempt, on March 27, 2015, Senate Republicans also passed massive pay cuts affecting ALL CURRENT AND FUTURE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.…

BREAKING: Republican House Passes Federal Pay Cuts

Republican Budget Will Cut Take Home Pay of Current Federal Employees 5 Percent The first round (not the only round) of Republican proposals significantly cutting real take-home pay of federal employees (as opposed to future cuts in pay or benefits) passed…

BREAKING: GOP Proposing Additional Pay-Cuts

New Wave of Attacks Continues with New Congress We just posted last week about new Republican legislation aimed at Federal employee pensions.  We just learned Republican Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC) introduced HR 1137 (PAID for Progress Act).  This legislation would provide an…

GOP Proposing Wide-Scale Pension Cuts

New Wave of Attacks Underway Against Federal Employees Republicans are once again targeting federal employees.  On March 3, 2015, Republican Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) introduced H.R. 1230 attacking federal pensions of all current and future federal employees (those already retired are…

MSPB Judge’s Handbook

Whether you are a union representative representing an employee in an adverse action under appeal at the Merit Systems Protection Board, or you are an employee representing yourself, the can be an indispensable tool. This handbook provides all the procedural…

Excused Absences for Inclement Weather

With the recent outbreak of severe weather, we received many inquiries from federal employees concerning Excused Absence (also called “Authorized Absence” and even “Administrative Leave” by some agencies).  (Note, Excused Absence should not be confused with granting of “liberal leave”…

The “Agency File” MSPB Schedule 752

If you recognized the title of this article, chances are you are an Employee Labor Relations practitioner (some capacity) in the field of federal employee labor relations or you are the unfortunate appellant concerning some type of adverse action.  This…

Glory Days of the Federal Workforce

Believe it or not, there once was a time when Republicans and ultra Tea Party conservatives (yes, they are different) had not yet convinced the American public federal employees were the functional equivalent of the Taliban.  Of course, there are many…

Performance Appraisals: Mid-Year Reviews

It seems as if we were just discussing end of year performance appraisals for federal employees and here come mid-year reviews.  Performance evaluations, also called performance appraisals, performance ratings, and performance management, can be controversial for a number of reasons.  For…

Opportunity for Discovery

Since the primary purpose of this site is to provide immediately usable advice to federal employees, this article will not present a treatise on discovery theories, methods, or strategies in MSPB or EEO proceedings (consult your Master Agreement for discovery…

Consultant or Attorney? It’s your choice.

When facing an adverse personnel action (such as removal, demotion, etc.), or other issue necessitating some form of representation (such as EEO, administrative grievance, etc.), federal employees at all grade levels must decided whether they will engage some form of representation…

It’s That Time of Year: Performance Appraisals

That’s right.  You know the holidays are approaching when it’s performance appraisal time.  We receive many inquiries.  Some inquiries are ambiguous (i.e., “can they rate me an Excellent?”) and some are very specific (i.e., “what are the minimum number of…

More Douglas Factors

In a previous post, we provided a brief introduction and explanation concerning the Douglas Factors.  Be sure to read that post before reading this post.  In this post, we are going to demonstrate one method of incorporating a response to…

When to Settle an EEO Claim

An EEO Complaint may be settled at any time during the entire process from Informal Counseling (precomplaint stage) to EEOC Hearing.  Many Complaints are settled between the formal complaint and the Final Agency Decision (Hadley).  However, there are certain defined…

Opinion: CFC Must (still) Die

The Combined Federal Campaign must (still) die. Last year, we published this post and took some heat….at first.  However, we soon received many e-mails agreeing with our position. Well, here we are again, with federal employee pay falling even further behind…

Douglas Factors

In determining a penalty in disciplinary and adverse actions, an agency should consider a number of factors.  If the agency does not, upon appeal, these factors will be considered before an adjudicating authority. Affected employees must be aware of these factors…

What is MSPB e-File?

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) e-file, also known as “e-Appeal” or “e-appeal online,” is an electronic method of filing your initial MSPB appeal, Pleadings, Addendum’s, as well as checking your existing case status. It is the most convenient and…

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial From a Client Just a note to tell you thank you for all you have done for me so far.  It didn’t take me long to see the strategy that you laid out and how things may come to…

VA Whistle Blowing- The New Craze

Where There is Smoke, There is Fire.  But………… There is no dispute something unacceptable at the Veterans Health Administration happened concerning patient scheduling.  However, we noticed the sudden plethora of whistle-blowers coming forward after the initial claim stemming from a…

EEO Report of Investigation

Establishing the Official Case Record We previously covered the EEO Complaint process, which can be very confusing to the uninitiated.  However, to recap in context, the Report of Investigation (ROI) follows the filing of a formal Complaint and is a…

Top 3: Worst Agencies to Work With

 What We See When Dealing With Agencies During the course of working with employees, we have the opportunity assist them with MSPB, EEOC, arbitration, ULP’s, grievances, requests for information, and even OSC matters.  Subsequently, we also have the opportunity to deal…

Guest Post: Anonymous VA Employee

Post by Anonymous Regarding Veterans Affairs We recently received this information from a someone who posted at the GovExec.com site.  He (or she) reports GovExec.com would not approve the reply.  We recently incorporated some of the information from in a…