Monthly Archives: September, 2011

Q & A Session – Permissible Outside Consulting Work

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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 being asked by a company to provide part-time consulting on logistics issues. Would I be within the rules and regulations guidelines to perform these services? A: This question needs to be answered by your designated agency ethics official (DAEO), who is in a position to advise whether the proposal outside employment is a conflict of interest or otherwise impermissible. If a DAEO says it’s okay, you can legally…

Q & A Session – Promotion held up by Investigation

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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 employed by an agency for a number of years and for the last three years I have applied for several promotions which were denied due to an open investigation levied against me. Is this legal or is it a form of discrimination? A: Promotions are often denied because of an open investigation. It is not illegal, but it is not a specifically permitted practice. It can be…

Q & A Session – Veterans’ Preference with Internal Promotions

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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 veteran and feel that agencies can discriminate against veterans by choosing to post a job “internal” to the agency, which allows them to skirt the veterans’ preference rules. Can I take action to ensure they follow hiring regulations? A: Veterans’ preference does not apply to internal promotions, when that is the hiring authority used. If a different hiring authority that includes outside applicants is used, an agency…

Q & A Session – Proposed Removal and Effects on TSP, 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: I have a friend who may be fired from federal service. She has a total of 26 years of service and is 56 years old. If she receives a proposed removal, should she resign immediately? Also, will she lose her retirement eligibility and what happens to her TSP account? A: This person could resign immediately, but if she is FERS, she would have to take a reduced annuity. If she…

Q & A Session – Slander and Privacy Act

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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: My former supervisor told my current employer I am a “troublemaker” and that I had received numerous counseling letters, which is not true. Did my former supervisor slander me? A: Slander is a tort, but under the Federal Tort Claims Act and Supreme Court precedent, your supervisor is immune and your agency cannot be sued for slander. You may have a claim under the Privacy Act if there was an…

Q & A Session – Working a Paid Job while on Paid Admin Leave

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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: A federal employee coworker of mine is on paid administrative leave but is also working for a contractor and getting paid by the contractor. Is it legal for the employee to get paid for administrative leave but also work another job and get paid? A: What you have described is probably not legal. I can conceive of a circumstance where the contractor work is done outside normal duty hours or…

Q & A Session – Number Supervised

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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: Is it legal if a supervisor has only one or two employees to supervise? A: Yes. There is no rule against this. 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 this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the…

Q & A Session – Age Discrimination

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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: When a former logistics management specialist in my agency left, the decision was made to fill the vacancy with a female with no logistics management experience. I have spent 3 years as a supervisory logistics management section chief. This woman is considerably younger than me and is coming from an area outside of my branch, and I feel like I am being discriminated against due to my age. What rights…

Q & A Session – Accepted a Lower Grade

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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 currently a GS 6 step 6 level. I have recently accepted a position where I can move up to a GS 7, but will have to begin as a GS 5. They want me to start as a GS 5 step 7, but my current pay is comparable to a GS 5 step 10, so my annual pay will be lower. Can you explain why this may be?…

Law softens difficulties of late-career moves

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In 2009, when the Senior Executives Association did its survey of GS-14s and -15s about their interest in aspiring to senior executive positions, the threat of geographic reassignments was cited as one of the major detractors. (The survey report, “Taking the Helm,” can be downloaded at www.seniorexecs.org.) While the Senior Executive Service was created with the idea of mobility among its members, the reality of geographic reassignment varies from agency to agency. For example, the IRS expects all of its senior executives to be subject to geographic reassignments, and for the most part they are. In some agencies, senior executives…

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