Monthly Archives: March, 2011

Q & A Session – Denying FMLA without Medical Documentation

0

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 an employee requests FMLA and has enough paid time off, but will not tell his or her supervisor the medical reason, can the supervisor deny FMLA? A: Yes. OPM regulations permit agencies to request medical evidence to support an FMLA absence that is based on the employee’s serious health condition. Please read my previous Ask the Lawyer column regarding FMLA at http://blogs.federaltimes.com/federal-law/2010/07/25/must-i-grant-this-fmla-request/ for more information. Bill Bransford is managing…

Q & A Session – Higher Grade for Supervisor

0

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: Are there any rules or regulations that stipulate that a supervisor’s grade be higher than the people he or she supervises? A: No, although a general practice is to have supervisors be at least at the same if not at a higher grade level. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC. Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on…

Q & A Session – Promotion While Under an EEO Investigation

0

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: Can a person be promoted while under an EEO investigation? I was under the impression that an individual named in a formal complaint cannot be promoted until the final decision is released. A: There is a presumption of innocence that applies in law and has become a part of our general culture. Just because an EEO complaint has been filed, that does not mean  discrimination has occurred. Also, in any…

Q & A Session – Discontinued Service Retirement in a Settlement Agreement

0

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 over 50 years old and have over 28 years of federal service. I filed an age discrimination complaint and a second complaint due to a hostile work environment. I settled with the agency and among the terms, I was to present paperwork to end my career within two days of signing the agreement and the separation would be via CSRS Discontinued Service Retirement. After signing the agreement, the…

Q & A Session – Repayment of Funds Received in Error

0

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: A few years ago OPM erroneously disbursed a refund to me for retirement contributions in the 1980s when I transferred from CSRS to FERS. After an audit, I set up a payment plan via withholding from my FERS retirement annuity. From the forms I received, it appears almost 75 percent of the payback funds are repaying interest from the “taxable amount” portion of my annuity. I believe that the interest…

Be calm, have perspective concerning EEO complaint

1

No manager wants to receive a phone call from an equal employment opportunity counselor. The call means a subordinate has accused the manager of illegal discrimination, a serious allegation that could, if proved, result in disciplinary action. Most managers will respond to news that the EEO process has started against them with a strong sense of indignation, outrage, denial, or perhaps all of these. These reactions are normal, but acting on them is the wrong thing to do. Whatever you say, except to your lawyer, can and might be repeated and used against you. A comment such as, “That ingrate,…

Q & A Session – Findings from an Informal EEO Investigation

0

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 an EEO complaint against my supervisor. An informal investigation was completed after 6 months and the agency did not give me access to its findings, after I expected to receive this. A formal investigation followed. However, I was moved from my workplace to a separate location for allegations made against me by my supervisor. Can I obtain the findings from my informal investigation? Can I sue other federal…

Q & A Session – Loss of Security Clearance During Renewal

0

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: Does someone qualify for discontinued service retirement under FERS if they lose their security clearance and have over 20 years of experience, and are over 50 years old under FERS? A: Yes. A loss of a security clearance alone, that is unaccompanied by job-related misconduct, can be a basis for discontinued service retirement if the loss of a security clearance also results in the loss of a federal job. …

Q & A Session – Mandatory Retirement and Survivor Benefits

0

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 two years from mandatory retirement and have been going through a divorce for over six years. Survivor benefits have not been discussed. However, what happens if the divorce is not finalized in two years and my ex refuses to waive survivor benefits? A: If you do nothing, I think she gets survivor benefits and a portion of your annuity. You need to talk to an attorney and make…

Q & A Session – Early Retirement and Security Clearance Renewal

0

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 55 years old and have worked in the government under FERS for 25 years. I would like to end my government service. My security clearance is due and if I don’t submit it, would I be fired voluntarily or involuntarily. How would this affect my retirement? A: No. You would most likely be fired for failing to meet an expectation of your job, i.e., filing the update forms…