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…

“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…

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…

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…

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…

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: Your Federal Career

Your Federal Career Decision Making – Strategies for Success By Karol Taylor Karol Taylor is a retired fed and Career Counselor who helps people get federal jobs.  She is the coauthor of Guide to America’s Federal Jobs: A Complete Directory of U.S. Government…

What Your Union Doesn’t Know…

……Can Cost You Your Job and More Often, our consultants are brought into situations in which the local labor union has begun representation of an employee or in which we are asked to work with the local labor union in…

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial From a Client Thank you for all that you did.  If it was not for your service, I believe I would have faced a far worse outcome. TS, DHS USBP May 2014 You all brought clarity to an otherwise screwed…

Federal EEO Claims and Basis

Establishing and Controlling your Claim and Basis As we discussed in many other articles and tell our clients in every initial briefing concerning EEO complaints, EEO complaints are won or lost on initial contact. In the complaint process, this is…

Can You “Trust” an EEO Counselor ?

Watch Those EEO Counselors When reading this post, please remember our position that an EEO Complaint can be an incredibly powerful and effective tool, eclipsing other appeal routes such as negotiated grievance procedures and administrative grievances.  The issue is whether…

Union Data Reports

Finding and Retrieving Information on Your Union One of the most common questions we get from federal employees in a bargaining unit is, “how do I find out how much my union spends?”  In that regard, we offer this post.…

“Non Employees” Can File an EEO

Applicants and Former Federal Employees have “Standing” to File A common question we receive is whether a former employee or an applicant for employment can file an EEO complaint.  The short answer is yes.  As noticed by the EEOC, “If…

Republican Attack: Round 3

GOP Sharks Coming in for Another Bite After furlough, sequester, pay freezes, shutdown, increased retirement contributions, and other agency budget cuts affecting training, promotions, and awards, it appears Republicans are coming in for round 3 of attacks on federal employees…

Making Initial Contact: EEO

Making Initial Contact in Pursuing an EEO Claim Initial contact with an EEO Counselor is a seemingly simple, but incredibly critical task to preserve appeal rights.  This is the very first step in filing an EEO complaint and must be…

Mixed Case or Mixed Appeal

EEOC, MSPB, Mixed Case or Mixed Appeal The world of federal employee labor relations, like other similar fields of practice, is incredibly nuanced.  Many times, we are asked the difference in such nuances and mixed cases and appeal definitions are…

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial From a Client When I first contacted you, the agency had me very worried.  After speaking to you, I felt you sincerely cared about the outcome of the case.  You quickly read many documents and developed a strategy for…

Retroactive Application of VLTP

Donated Leave May be Used Retroactively  Some confusion often arises concerning leave acquired through the Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP). Specifically, there may be confusion concerning whether donate leave can be used retroactively.  The confusion arises based on the general…

What Our Clients Say

Testimonial From a Client I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the help you rendered to me.  When I first contacted you, I was dealing with a Hostile Work Environment at DHS. You walked me through the EEO process, gave…

Cannibalistic Downgrading

Veterans Administration Conducting Orgiastic Downgrades A new and dangerous trend is emerging in the Veterans Administration. In what can only be described as a cannibalistic orgy of position downgrading, Classification Specialists throughout the Agency are downgrading positions across the entire…

Social Media in Fed Workspace

Social Media and the Federal Workplace are on a Collision Course  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a host of other social media tools are increasingly becoming a topic of conversation and disciplinary assessment in many Employee and Labor Relations sections.  Many…

BREAKING: Charges Against TJ Bonner Dropped

U.S. Government Drops all Charges Against former Border Patrol Union National President  On Tuesday (2/11/14), federal prosecutors in San Diego dropped all charges against TJ Bonner, the former National Border Patrol Council union president.  Bonner had been fighting the federal…

FAQ: When to Contact a Consultant

Question: “When should I contact a consultant? Should I wait until the Agency proposes an action or makes a decision?”  Also, “Will my union pay associated fees or help me in any other way?” Answer:  As soon as possible.  This…

FAQ: Grievance Timeliness

Question: “I am a union steward.  Recently, a member brought an issue to my attention.  The issue date is far outside the 30 days our contract provides- but I did not become aware until just recently.  Shouldn’t the date I…

FAQ: Overtime

Question: “Can my supervisor control my overtime?” Answer:  Yes.  Overtime is considered an assignment of work and thus a management right at Title 5 USC § 7106.  However, procedures for distributing overtime have generally been determined to be negotiable as are…

BREAKING: U.S. Border Patrol Cuts AUO

Agency (CBP, ICE, USBP) Begins Elimination of Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime  InformedFed.com received information, and a copy (see below) of the official Agency memorandum distributed by e-mail to employees, announcing the start of AUO (Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime) cuts for U.S. Border…

FAQ: Recalling Union Officials

Question: “[We] Would like to recall our union officials How do we go about it. What is the procedure?” Answer:  Most federal union constitutions do not provide, with specificity, for the recall of union officials.  Instead, as evidenced in the AFGE…

Federal EEO Complaint Process

Clarifying the EEO Process in Federal Sector During the past year, we noticed many agencies deviating from a clearly defined EEO complaint process.  Some examples include: Requiring employees to waive access to EEO counselor and counseling to pursue ADR (mediation)…

Union Officials and OWCP

Union Officials and OWCP Simply stated, union officials engaged in representational activities are covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA).  However, union representatives engaged in the internal business of a labor organization, such as soliciting new members, picking up…

Check Your OPF

Take the Time to Check Your Official Personnel Folder Every federal employee must make time to check their Official Personnel Folder (OPF) at least once a year.  We also recommend you download a complete copy (it is an option). Since…

Make the Most of Our Initial Call

How to Maximize our Initial No Obligation Phone Call As you may know, our Consultants provide initial no obligation consultations.  This is our opportunity, and yours, to determine whether our services will be useful to you.  Often, our initial consultation…