Monthly Archives: May, 2013

Q & A Session – No Fear 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: I reported misconduct of two federal employees under the No Fear Act and EEOC. An investigation was conducted, which ultimately substantiated my allegations. As my reporting was done under the No Fear Act against my supervisor for misconduct in violation of Title VII, no action was ever taken to discipline the employees by the leadership. I was sent on detail out of my facility based on false allegations to the…

Q & A Session – Unethical Supervisor

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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 work for a federal agency and have concerns about my supervisor’s work habits. He routinely takes long lunches and uses his government phone to conduct personal business, among other things. There are many examples of unethical practices, but am I overreacting? What should be done? A: You are describing making yourself a whistleblower. What you are disclosing is a protected disclosure, but many whistleblowers experience reprisal. If you decide…

Q & A Session – Do Contractors have Rights in a Federal 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: My husband is a contractor for a federal agency. He was called on Monday and told to stay home on administrative leave because a federal civilian employee had filed a complaint against him at work. They did not tell him what the complaint was, only who complained. He was notified today by email that they were trying to relocate his cubicle away from the complainant but still does not know…

Q & A Session – Denied Sick 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: Last year, I requested four hours sick leave to see my doctor. The leave was requested at least days in advance, and I explained that I was in pain at the time and was completely out of medication. But my leave was denied. Is my supervisor allowed to deny sick leave? A: You are entitled to sick leave to take care of a sick family member or if you are…

Q & A Session – Acknowledgement 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: I submitted my EEOC case and Report of Investigation for a hearing in June. The EEOC said they received it and have assigned it to an Administrative Judge but I still have not received an acknowledgement order. The EEOC also gave me a case number. I though the AJ has 20 days to submit the acknowledgement order to the complainant? What should I do next? A: You may be confusing…

Q & A Session – Suing after Employee Filed Charges of Sexual Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

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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: An employee I supervise filed charges of sexual harassment and hostile work environment. The agency conducted a fact-finding investigation and the employee, myself and several other employees the employee identified were interviewed and had to sign affidavits. The agency head met with me last week and said there was no evidence or proof otherwise of any of the charges, and that a formal letter closing the case would be issued.…

Q & A Session – Signing 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 have worked for the federal government for 28 years with 15 at my current agency. My current agency wants to put me on a Performance Improvement Plan, but I have decided to take deferred retirement. I have not signed the PIP and sent it back. Since I am retiring, do I have to sign the PIP? If I don’t, what could the agency do to me if anything? A:…

Q & A Session – AWOL Denial

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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 exemplary career employee of almost 30 years. This year, my husband became ill and I exhausted all my leave. I asked for 4-5 months of Absence without Leave which would give me time to submit my retirement packets and begin receiving benefits. The request was denied as was my request to work from home. Other employees have been allowed to telework and were granted up to a…

Q & A Session – Notification of EEOC Complaint

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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 personnel receives a notice from EEOC notifying them an EEOC complaint has been lodged against a supervisor or employee, is it recommended to make the supervisor aware of the pending complaint? Or should we just wait until the investigative process leads to the supervisor? A: EEOC does not notify agencies about EEO complaints. That usually comes from the agency’s EEO office. Most agency EEO offices will tell a supervisor…

Q & A Session – Stealing Confidential Documents

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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 is the penalty if a federal employee steals several confidential federal documents and shares them with other employees who do not have a legitimate need to know? A: This sounds to me like it could be grounds for removal, and, depending on the reason the documents are confidential, criminal penalties could be imposed. Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC. Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes…

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