Monthly Archives: August, 2012

Q & A Session – Hostile Workplace Incident

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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 an African American female who works for a government agency. Approximately two weeks ago, two white individuals hung a banana from the ceiling over another African American’s desk. I have been extremely upset and stressed since the incident. I have filed an EEO complaint and so has the other victim of this incident. Our Section Chief, who is white, has told one of the white individuals that “everything…

Q & A Session – Eligibility for DSR after Failing a PIP

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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 Department of Defense employee with almost 30 years of federal service stationed overseas with return rights to my stateside position. Despite outstanding ratings at my stateside position, and a fully acceptable rating in my first year overseas, the new supervisor has decided that I am a failure, has put me on a soon-to-end PIP and is likely to find unsatisfactory performance. Her boss, the deciding official, will…

Q & A Session – Error on SF-50 that Agency Refuses to Correct

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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 100% service-connected disabled veteran. For the past 11 years, I have worked as a civilian in the Air Force. I found an opening in the Department of Transportation that I was interested in applying for. While reading over the announcement, I saw that it said, “please ensure you submit all documents including your most recent SF-50 as we use that for verification of federal employment and veterans…

Q & A Session – EEO Hearing v. Civil Action

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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 told by friends who are EEO counselors that most EEO cases settle before a hearing. Do you have a sense of how EEO cases fare when a civil action is filed? Are most settled? Are the settlement amounts higher? When the agency doesn’t settle, do they usually win? Why would a complainant choose to file a civil action over an EEO hearing? A: Most EEO cases settle.…

Q & A Session – Temporary Team Leader Position

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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: If an employee who is a SK-13 (non-supervisory) is put on a detail as a team leader SK-14 position (non-supervisory), is that employee entitled to a 6% pay increase during the detail period? A: No. 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,…

Q & A Session – Maximum Timeframe for Lateral Reassignment

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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 ten years of service with the federal government. Five months ago, I accepted a position in another division, which was a lateral reassignment. Management has not provided me with an effective date for the reassignment. Is there federal law on the maximum time an agency has to effectuate a lateral reassignment? A: Sometimes agencies are slow processing SF-50s. Follow up with your personnel office. There are best practices,…

Q & A Session – Statute of Limitations for Reported Government Deficiencies

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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 federal employee with more than 35 years of service. From 2000 to 2004, I was a program manager for an agency. During that time, I discovered many past questionable activities within the program before my time there. In 2005, I submitted a report of my findings of the many alleged program deficiencies to my supervisors and requested program audit/review for this agency’s program. The deficiencies were for…

Q & A Session – Retirement and the Buyout

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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 35 years of service with the U.S. Postal Service. I am under CSRS, 63 years old, and looking to retire soon. If I submit my paperwork now and then a buyout is offered before my retirement date, will I be able to take advantage of the buyout, or should I wait until the buyout is offered before I submit my paperwork? A: You should wait until the buyout…

With election near, know Hatch Act limits

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As the November elections approach, federal employees need to be reminded about the Hatch Act, which imposes significant restrictions on their allowable political activity. These restrictions are important because the intent is to protect federal employees from undue political influence and to assure the public that career civil servants are not motivated by political concerns as they carry out their day-to-day responsibilities. Enforcement of the Hatch Act falls to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) through cases it prosecutes at the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Pay attention to Hatch Act training and rules because a violation of the Hatch…

Q & A Session – Penalties for Misuse of a Government Credit Card

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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: What have been the penalties imposed by government agencies for a first offense of misuse of government credit card (i.e. cash withdrawals while not in TDY status)? Have imposed penalties been consistent across Department of Defense agencies? A: Federal agencies, including all Department of Defense components, have similar disciplinary policies for misuse of government charge cards, which frequently fall under umbrella policies regarding unauthorized use of government property. Across the…