Monthly Archives: February, 2014

Reduction in Force: Really?

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When I took over this column late last year, I opined that in 2014 I would be writing about the legal mechanics of a reduction in force (RIF), as many of us in the federal community expected that agencies would be forced to move from furloughs to RIF’s because of sequestration. That expectation seemed to change in December, when Congress reached a budget agreement that mitigated much of the sequester. Notwithstanding, a few weeks ago OPM announced it was conducting a RIF, and that may foreshadow what to expect from other agencies regardless of whether an agency has had its…

Q & A Session: Supporting Evidence for the Use of Sick Leave

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Q: When I request time for a sick day, I complete the appropriate form and submit it to my manager for approval. My manager drills me with a series of questions, such as why I want off? What is the nature of the illness? Why do I need half the day for the appointment? When was the appointment made? How much information do I have to supply to my manager in regards to my sick leave? A: An agency may grant sick leave only when supported by administratively acceptable evidence. For absences that exceed 3 days, or for a lesser…

Q & A Session: Limits of 'Consent to be Searched' Signs

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Q: I work at the Pentagon. There are many signs that say something along the lines of “all those entering the building consent to be searched.” What are the limits of that? This morning, Pentagon police with surgical gloves were conducting pat down searches of random people. While I don’t mind walking through a metal detector, I do have an issue with someone laying hands on me. A: The majority of the time, entry screening at the Pentagon will consist of less invasive methods: walking through a metal detector or having hand-carried items searched, for example. However, at times when…

Q & A Session: Contractor Creating Hostile Work Environment

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Q: What do you do when a contractor creates a hostile work environment for a federal employee? Should the federal employee file a complaint with the contractor’s company? A: As a federal employee, it is the federal government which has an obligation to keep you free from a hostile work environment. If you wish to file a complaint, you should file any complaint you have with your agency’s EEO office. The contractor’s company also may take action on its own, for example by distinguishing your complaint and subsequently  transferring or firing the employee. This response is written by Michael S.…