Monthly Archives: February, 2011

Q & A Session – Stolen Items During Business Trip

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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 have a colleague, who is a federal employee, that was on a business trip and had personal items stolen out of the car including a laptop, cell phone, ipod and other items. Our agency’s general counsel said she would be reimbursed for her items. It she entitled to any compensation for the loss of priceless family photos, purchased music or software? A: No. The government has limited its liability…

Q & A Session – Desk Audit for Higher Grade Level

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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 work in HR and believe that my position could be a higher grade. The job requires me to do more and different types of work than what is usually required of the same position across the government. Would asking my supervisor for a desk audit help the chance of my GS level changing? A: The desk audit is not based on your abilities. It is based on the complexities…

Q & A Session – Disruptive Noise in the Workplace

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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 have colleagues that perform personal activities on government time and are sometimes so loud it disrupts my ability to concentrate. It has prevented me from being able to get my work done. Are there laws, policies or guidelines that govern noise producing activities which impede my ability to complete my work? A: The situation you describe should not be allowed to continue. If your supervisor won’t deal with it,…

Q & A Session – MSPB Representation

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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: Who can represent a person at the MSPB? A: A paralegal, a non-lawyer union steward or your colleague down the hall can be your representation at the MSPB, so long as your representative does not hold him or herself out to be a lawyer. If you prevail with a non-lawyer representative, you are not entitled to attorneys’ fees. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.…

Q & A Session – Rescinded Offer for Government Contractor

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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 am a government contractor and was offered a position and attended orientation. However, I was told later that there was an issue regarding the adjudication of my security clearance and the offer was rescinded. Previously I have been granted security clearances and could not find any issues in my security records. I have not been provided with any information why I was let go. What options do I have?…

Q & A Session – Duties Not In Job Description

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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 am doing duties that are not under my job description and have coworkers completing duties that are under my job description. I also regularly work overtime, but my coworkers doing similar duties do not have enough to do. I am not getting compensated for my overtime. I have been told about an 80/20 rule that says I am supposed to do at least 80 percent of my job description…

Q & A Session – Performance Objectives and Termination

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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 reported to my command and received a closeout assessment. The appraisal was completed appropriately. I reported to my new command and I wasn’t provided new performance objectives for 90 days. When my final appraisal was completed, it was done under an appraisal that was set for less than 90 days. After a formal grievance process, the command determined that the period satisfied the time period requirement. Can an appraisal…

Q & A Session – Conduct-Related Termination

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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 notified I was being terminated for conduct-related reasons. I was hired under FCIP and have no formal write-ups or negative reviews. I feel like they are just doing this with the end of FCIP. Can they do this? A: If it is conduct related, you are being terminated for that reason. The end of FCIP does not affect current appointees. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford…

Q & A Session – Denial of Career Ladder Promotion

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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 have been working for the government for over 15 years and was looking to be promoted this year. I was told I qualify for a GS-11 position and have had all good performance ratings, with no documentation of any issues. However, I was told I would not get a promotion, since I did not work on a project. Can this be a reason to deny my promotion? A: Career…

Q & A Session – Termination Based on Insubordination

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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: After working in the federal government as a contractor for nine years in an at-will state, I was terminated. My manager had made comments that I felt were distasteful, embarrassing, belittling, derogatory and threatening. I had not had problems with managers in the past. My manager began to take tasks away from me, removed my restricted computer access and became very angry when I asked for a task assignment in…

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