Monthly Archives: February, 2012

Q & A Session – Are Employees at my Agency Allowed to Join a Union?

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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: How can I get my agency to become part of a union? I think I remember being told that employees at my agency were not allowed to join a union when I first started many years ago, but I am not sure if that is right. A: Federal agencies and parts of federal agencies are allowed to organize and have most employees represented by unions. Some agencies (e.g., CIA and…

Q & A Session – Constructive Discharge

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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 I understand it, when a person files an EEO complaint that includes allegations of retaliation, discrimination based on race, reprisal, age and constructive discharge, it becomes a mixed case with appeal rights to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Before I received the decision letter, I asked the agency to drop the constructive discharge charge but it refused to do so. My case is now with MSPB but I…

Q & A Session – Personnel Problems

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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 office has two employees who do not get along. Periodically, one employee acts as acting supervisor because he is a higher grade. Every time this employee is placed into a position of authority there are problems between the two. Both have filed complaints against each other and senior management has decided not to act on the complaints. Is there anything that I can do or say to them? A:…

Q & A Session – Does Clearance Denial affect Eligibility for MRA+10?

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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 will soon be eligible for MRA+10 years since I will be 56. My security clearance renewal is May 2012. If my clearance is denied, am I still eligible for the MRA+10? A: Losing a clearance will not affect your MRA+10 early (and reduced) annuity rights. In fact, the loss of a job solely because you lose a clearance (without evidence of misconduct or delinquency) may entitle you to discontinued…

Q & A Session – Challenging the Denial of a 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 am currently in a ladder position GS-12/13 and was given two different objectives over a two-year period. I met both objectives but was never promoted. Now I am being told that my position is going to be changed to just a GS-12. I have turned down other opportunities thinking I had the possibility to be a GS-13. Is there any regulation or protection offered to employees promised a promotion?…

In telework, accountability is necessary

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As I write this column from a remote location enjoying a beautiful view, it reinforces the notion that telework has its advantages, both to the employer and the employee. But that remote location with its great view is also a distraction, and without structure and rules may actually be counterproductive. It’s the accountability of the deadline that keeps me going. This same concept of accountability should be a part of any agency’s telework program. The best publication available for federal-sector telework is the Office of Personnel Management’s April 2011 “Guide to Telework in the Federal Government,” available on the telework.…