Monthly Archives: December, 2012

Q & A Session – Former Employer Gives Negative and False Reference

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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 former employer of mine gave a false and negative employment reference on me. I was able to obtain the job, but I still feel scared. What can I do about this? Can I file an EEO complaint? A: An EEO complaint is probably not effective, especially if your former employer was not the U.S. government. If you landed the job despite the negative reference, it is probably best not…

Q & A Session – Union Settles Grievance without Grievant

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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 grievance with my agency. My union invoked arbitration in June 2010. After 18 months of waiting for a hearing, the agency supposedly canceled the hearing three days before the hearing date. They attempted to settle, but what was offered was an insult to my intelligence. I have not communicated with my union in any way since November 2011. I was recently emailed a settlement agreement my union…

Q & A Session – Is it Legal to Hire a Military Officer Before he is Retired?

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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 department has an active duty military employee occupying a position. He is about to retire from the military, but we are interested in retaining his service as a GS-11. Is it legal for us to “hire” the current military employee for the GS-11 position before he retires? A: While you do not denote your department, it seems highly likely that you work within the Department of Defense. Thus, I…

Q & A Session – Eligibility for Compensatory Time Off for Travel when Using Annual Leave on TDY

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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 an employee entitled to compensatory time off for travel when she uses annual leave on TDY? Some employees in my office are traveling for business, and then, after completing their business, using several days of annual leave before returning to their duty stations. Are they entitled to compensatory time off for travel during their travel home? A: I believe your employees are entitled to compensatory time off. I am…

’Tis the season to know rules on gifts

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Most employees know there are significant restrictions on giving and receiving gifts related to their jobs, whether from co-workers, to and from subordinates or from customers or the public. The rules are complicated — understood, if by anyone, by those who toil in the intricacies of government ethics. Given the holiday season and the spirit of gift-giving, it is helpful to review a few of the rules so you can avoid the common pitfalls and, more important, receive those gifts that are allowed. For example, it used to be customary to tip your letter carrier. This is no longer allowed,…

Q & A Session – Restraining Order

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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 department supervisor, I have a staff member who recently was given a restraining order. How does this affect his career? He is a law enforcement officer. A: It depends on why the restraining order was issued. Did the law enforcement officer engage in misconduct or is this just a domestic dispute? You need more information before you decide to take action. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford…

Q & A Session – Forced 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: Recently, tenant organizations on my base have been shutting down and requiring workers to take annual leave. They shut all the buildings down and if you wanted to work you needed to justify why you should be allowed to work. They also did not allow contractors to work during this time. You are forced to either use your annual leave or go LWOP. Is this legal? A: It sounds like…

Q & A Session – Will I Lose my CSRS?

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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 was convicted of bribing a public official in Texas. I resigned after 25 years in CSRS. Will I lose it? A: No. But you might have to wait until you are 62 to receive a deferred annuity if you are not now over the age of 60 and eligible for an immediate annuity. If you wait for a deferred annuity, you are ineligible to take your health insurance into…

Q & A Session – Pay Retention and Disability

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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 worked for a federal agency for about 14 years and am currently a GS-7. My performance has declined due to medical issues. I was just diagnosed with a disability which has become worse due to physical and emotional stressors. Management wants me to sign a form saying that I request a move for personal reasons to the mail room at a GS-4-10. If I don’t sign it, they…

Q & A Session – Options to Get Job Back after Request for Union Steward Denied by IG

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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 was approached by an OIG after I requested union representation. I was taken in for an interview and I requested a steward again, but none was provided. What chance do I have getting my job back after the OIG stated he caught me taking items from the damage mail? What are my options? A: The IG is not part of the agency and is not required to honor your…

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