Monthly Archives: November, 2011

Work Rules for Military Commands

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Q & A Session – Work Rules for Military Command 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 military command is often given a “training holiday” in conjunction with a federal holiday, creating a four-day break. My new command was under the impression that a military member must be present in order for the government civilian to come to work.is there any regulation that states government civilians (not defense contractors) working for a military command must have…

MSPB Jurisdiction for Constructive Discharge

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Q & A Session – MSPB Jurisdiction for Constructive Discharge 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: The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has ruled it does not have jurisdiction for constructive discharge of involuntary retirement since my agency has not separated me. Once I am separated, can I refile the constructive discharge? A: Constructive discharge is when you resign because of intolerable conditions and argue that those conditions forced your resignation. Constructive discharge is hard to…

VRA Appointment Counting Toward Tenure

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Q & A Session – VRA Appointment Counting Toward Tenure 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 was converted from a Veterans Recruitment Appointment (VRA) (GS-11) to a Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) (GS-12) appointment and the employee did not serve the full two year probationary period before converting to the VEOA, does his or her time served in the VRA appointment count toward career tenure? The employee was selected from a merit service…

Repeated Frivolous Complaints

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Q & A Session – Repeated Frivolous Complaints 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 there a way for a manager to halt the submission of false accusations being sent to Internal Affairs, Congressional Offices, the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office, etc.? I have been the subject of over 15 such complaints, filed by the same two individuals, all of which have been investigated and proven to be unfounded and false. A: The EEO office has…

Offensive Language at Meetings

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Q & A Session – Offensive Language at Meetings 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 wife attends meetings on a regular basis. During these meetings she observes individuals, including managers, decision makers and the like, freely using offensive, suggestive or abusive language, occasionally directed at fellow attendees. Does my wife have recourse to prevent this practice? A: I don’t know if your wife is a federal employee. Assuming she is, she has three options. First,…

Constitutionality of Downsizing Agencies

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Q & A Session – Constitutionality of Downsizing Agencies 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 the federal government have any constitutionally protected size in terms of department functionality? Some lawmakers seem to want to downsize agencies to the point where the agencies are almost completely ineffective. A: No. The ability to downsize rests with Congress. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC. Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website…

Are GPO and WEP Discretionary?

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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: Each year, federal employee organizations propose the elimination of the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), and each year approximately 350-400 members of Congress cosponsor legislation to abolish this discriminatory law, but that’s where it ends. I feel the GPO law is also discriminatory as it prevents retirees from collecting both their federal annuity and any Social Security benefit based on their spouse’s work. Have the GPO…

Prohibited Personnel Practices Complaints

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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: The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has the responsibility of investigating Prohibited Personnel Practices (PPP) complaints. What is the rate PPPs are found, and what resolutions can OSC negotiate when a PPP has occurred? The issue is in regard to promotions and appointments, concerning willfully obstructing competition for employment, giving an unauthorized preference or advantage and avoiding veterans’ preference. Can an OSC complaint for a PPP and a union grievance…

Sick leave requests deserve careful review of all factors

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Federal workplaces are inconsistent on how and when they grant or deny sick leave. Some agencies grant any sick leave request, and some might deny or challenge a request when the employee has a clear right to it. Paid time off is authorized: • For medical incapacitation of the employee or a family member. • To arrange or to attend a funeral of a family member. • For the adoption of a child. • For medical appointments for the employee or a family member. • To care for a family member with a serious health condition. • Because someone has…

Supervisor Responsibility with Employees' Timecards

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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 fellow employee is routinely late to work and takes extremely long lunch breaks (up to 3 hours). What is a supervisor’s responsibility in terms of verifying that an employee actually works an 8-hour day? A: You don’t know the full story. A supervisor who knowingly certifies a false time card can be disciplined. But something also may be going on here. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford…

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