Monthly Archives: May, 2010

Q&A Session: Flex Time

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience. Q: What are the rules and regulations regarding flextime for federal employees?  If a supervisor wishes to flex an employee’s schedule due to events that occur after the normal hours of duty is this legal?  A: Go to the Office of Personnel Management’s website (http://www.opm.gov/oca/aws/index.asp#Introduction) to read a detailed explanation of the rules and procedures on flexible work schedules.  The basic answer to the rest of the inquiry is that supervisors…

Feedback gives context to performance standards

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Anyone can write good performance standards. One does not need to be a good writer or to understand human resources technicalities or the science of performance management to come up with a standard that will pass scrutiny at the Merit Systems Protection Board. But writing standards is only part of the job. The secret to good performance management is what the manager does after the standard is written. The law requires that performance standards be as objective as practicable. This is important because someone who fails a performance standard can be fired after failure on a performance improvement plan. But…

Q&A Session: NSPS Transition and Pay

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience. Q: I was reassigned to NSPS (the National Security Personnel System at the Department of Defense) from a GS-7 position. On the conversion back from NSPS to the General Schedule (GS), I am now a GS-9, step 1. If NSPS had never been established, I would have been a GS-9, step 2 by now and receiving that compensation level. The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, which repealed NSPS, states that employees…

Q&A Session: Travel Comp Time

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience. Q: As a federal employee I believe I am entitled to travel comp time for the work in excess of my normal commute between my home and PDS office when I have to travel outside of normal work hours for TDY. Specifically, my home is 13 miles from my PDS office and my normal commute from work to home is 20 minutes. The airport is 26 miles from my home and…

Q&A Session: Submitting Insurance Claims

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience. Q: What can I do if my doctor’s office won’t submit my claim to my insurance company? How does this affect my Flexible Spending Account (FSA) claim? How long does FSA have to process a claim or deny it? A: OPM regulations do not directly address the question of what to do if your doctor’s office will not submit a claim to your insurance company, nor does OPM address this issue…

Managers must strike delicate balance when handling EEO complaints

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Any subordinate federal employee can file an equal employment opportunity (EEO) claim against his or her boss at any time, for any reason, and without basis or belief that discrimination is really the problem — and can do so with impunity. Thus, even the best manager cannot stop an abusive EEO complaint. But a good manager can deal effectively with the complainant and substantially reduce the likelihood of a subsequent reprisal complaint. Some federal managers are subjected to EEO complaints that can hang around for years in a broken EEO system that delays justice for complainants who are real victims…

Q&A Session: Filing with MSPB v. EEOC

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience. Q: I filed a case with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), but I believe it will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. If the MSPB dismisses my case, can I appeal the discrimination claims to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)? A: You have described a mixed case. So long as you raised your discrimination claim as a part of your MSPB appeal, you may continue with EEO processing if the…

Q&A Session: Disability Retirement

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Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience. Q: If a disabled worker, hired under Schedule A (5 C.F.R. 213.3102(u)) authority, successfully completes the extended probationary period, does that time get credited toward retirement? Are there any pending cases or amendments to this regulation? Why do other federal employees get to count their time toward retirement? A: To my knowledge, there are no cases or pending amendments related to Schedule A, 5 C.F.R. 213.3102(u). With regard to the 2-year…