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…

Constructive Suspensions

When is a Suspension a Suspension Cutting right to the point and using general terms, a federal agency is empowered to (more common scenarios), Force federal employees to use accumulated leave (enforced leave) Force federal employees into a Leave Without…

Little Things: Proving Delivery

Little Things Can Add Up The issue of “delivery,” “notice,” “timely notice,” “timely delivery,” or any of it’s variants sometimes surfaces in administrative litigation such as grievances, disciplinary actions, adverse actions, EEO complaints, arbitration, etc…  As we instruct our both our…

Probationary Employee? Maybe Not.

Increasing Confusion and Mistakes Among Agencies Consultants from InformedFed are reporting an increase in the number of cases in which a federal employee receives notice of  probationary period termination, but is in fact not an employee on probation.  This situation…

Pay Raise for Federal Employees

It appears the political whoop ass Republicans took also involved a 1% pay raise for federal employees as I tweeted a few minutes ago. This was unexpected by everyone. Not only did Republicans end up with nothing, federal employees received…

Shutdown Guidance: Procedural Timelines

Timelines are “Frozen” The shutdown will have a long lasting impact on many federal employees for many reasons.  However, employees engaged in administrative processes such as responding to disciplinary or adverse actions, filing a grievance, filing an EEO claim, petitioning…

The Vitter Protocol

Hey Congressional Staffers! How does it feel to be treated like a federal employee? It sucks. Doesn’t it? #ShutdownTheGOP #p2 #wiunion — The Informed Fed (@InformedFed) October 1, 2013 Welcome Aboard Congressional Staffers! As I type, the recent Republican Vitter…

Keep Organized to Prove Your Case

“Having a case” and proving a case are two different things.  Two of the most common recurring issues we encounter in consulting with clients is 1) lack of collected evidence and/or 2) lack of organization concerning collected evidence related to…

FAQ: Ward Violations

Question: “What is a Ward Violation?” Answer:  Without getting too technical, a Ward violation (Ward v. USPS, 111 FMSR 183   (Fed. Cir. 02/17/11) occurs when a deciding official considers information not previously noticed to the employee via the proposal…

FAQ: Resignation and Crime Provisions

Question: “My agency suspended me indefinitely under the crime provisions. I have 2 questions: a) Can I resign/request removal before my agency completes an investigation? b) If separation is granted(?), would I be able to request full withdrawal of my…

Opinion: CFC Must Die

The Combined Federal Campaign must die. Update (1/31/2014):  As reported in the Federal Times, CFC pledges are down sharply at the end of the 2013 campaign.  And, federal employees must kill it.  While this opinion may sound bitter or vengeful, and we…

FAQ: Union Membership Solicitation

Question: “Can a [federal] union official recruit members during duty hours or official time?” Answer:  Rarely is the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) as clear in other questions as they are with this question.  Unless your Master Agreement or other negotiated instrument…

MSPB: No Right to Counsel

Recently, a Federal employee argued the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) “abused its discretion” by failing to appoint (and pay for) an attorney to represent her before the Board concerning her removal (“firing”) from the Internal Revenue Service. The appeals…

Responding to Proposed Actions

During the course of your federal career, you may find yourself the subject of a proposed agency action. Frankly, the longer your career and more complex your job functions, the greater this likelihood.

Grievance Presentation

Some of the best laughs we have in my office are when we read negotiated grievances submitted by union representatives (and sometimes ULP Complaints as well).

Leveraging the EEO Process

While most people automatically assume EEO complaints must be race or gender based, with a distinct and irrefutable “trigger event” such as a racial slur or physical contact, the truth is successful EEO complaints can be based on subtle actions over a period of time and on a myriad of basis such as age, retaliation, color (skin pigmentation regardless of race), disability, and others.

FAQ: Timeliness in Discipline

Question “Can a disciplinary action be challenged for timeliness if the employee has been on administrative duty for two years awaiting the completion of a misconduct investigation and presentation of the actual charges.” Answer We will give you one of our more…

Our Latest Stats

Some Informed Fed contributors also function as consultants to employees, unions, and even agency managers in a variety of matters.  These services range from direct EEO representation in complaints to advisory services (indirect representation) when employees handle their own MSPB appeals…

FAQ: Can My Supervisor Stop Me From Working AUO

Neither law nor applicable guidance abrogates the discretion to work AUO to the individual employee. In other words, let’s say you are working a group past your shift. Can a supervisor tell you to disengage and return to the station to go home? The answer is an unequivocal yes.

Recent EEO Settlements

Our consultants recently reported the following EEO related federal agency/complainant settlements of which they have first hand direct knowledge.  Due to confidentiality, we are only able to provide amounts and general basis for settlement.  The settlements are from a wide range of…

FAQ: MSPB or Arbitration?

Many practitioners, both union and agency, will cite MSPB management (agency) favorability statistics indicating MSPB favors the agency in outcomes. This is true, but somewhat skewed because most labor organizations will 1) send “bad cases” (those lacking merit) to the MSPB because there are no associated costs unlike arbitration and/or 2) send cases to MSPB because they lack funds to pay for arbitration.

Strange Days and Strange Leaders

The propaganda, and that is really the best word to describe it, has an Orwellian, if not Nazi tone to it. You have to wonder how anyone in leadership could approve such a message.

Furlough Guidance Issued by CBP

The Department of Homeland Security / Customs and Border Protection issued furlough guidance to its employees.  The document provides information in a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) format.  It is a good starting point for answering employee questions and is applicable…

Opinion: A Long Dark Road for Federal Employees

While federal employees once actually supported the pay freeze on the basis of “doing their part,” such support has deteriorated as the pay freeze appears permanent and additional proposals such as furloughs, pay cuts, overtime cuts, and increased benefits premiums begin to compound and drive federal employee pay down to levels not seen in decades. Federal employees have learned that being a public employee and a Republican are mutually exclusive.

Union Communications Vital

The solution for local federal labor unions is amazingly simple, easily implemented, and extremely cost effective: simply leverage existing technologies as force multipliers.

FAQ: Appropriate Arrangements Under Furlough

Question “What are appropriate arrangements bargaining related to furlough?” Answer Appropriate arrangements can be a complicated matter, especially during an unprecedented sequestration furlough in which agencies are receiving very little information and in which most union leaders have no experience.…

FAQ: Should I Resign

“Last week they [federal agency] decided to fire me. Should I just resign? If I resign, what will show in my OPF?”

The Top Hit’s at The Informed Fed

Below is a table showing the top visits to The Informed Fed for the previous seven day period.  Draw any conclusion you want, but I think reasonable people will agree “it’s the pay stupid!” Topic Views pay 9,862 furlough 9,578…

FAQ: Who The Hell Are you Guys?

We are all academically and professionally credentialed unlike your buddy whose advice for you when you are told you are being fired is, “they can’t do that.” Trust me, we can. Our win rate is damn near 100% no exaggeration.

FAQ: Role of ELR Specialists

Question “What is the role of the agency ELR Specialist?  What is their education level? What is their grade level” Answer The primary role of an agency ELR Specialist is to provide expert consultative and transactional services to agency supervisors, managers, and executives…