Category: Union Counsel

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…

FAQ: Union Membership and Representation

Question “I am a federal employee.  Do I have to pay dues to be represented by the union?” Answer No.  If you are a member of the bargaining unit (eligible to join a union), the Union must represent dues paying…

Does It Hurt To Have A Union Representative?

There is a prevailing theory that it is better to have union representation, than not have union representation, given such a need.  While we are certainly proponents of labor organizations and their important representational and historical role in the workplace,…

Can a Union Negotiate Performance Awards?

The short answer is yes.  But you also already knew it is more complicated than a simple yes or no answer.  During the last two months we fielded many inquiries from labor organizations at the local levels concerning this subject.…

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…

Are You Required to Invoke FMLA?

We receive many inquiries from employees confused by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in relation to serious health conditions and the use (approval/denial) of leave.  Typically, questions come in the context of protections afforded by The Act and the…

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), the…

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… 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…