Monthly Archives: April, 2014

Admit the misconduct

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Sounds like easy advice, right? When confronted by an agency investigator regarding your conduct, the natural tendency however, is to deflect, divert, downplay or deny. But doing so, almost always, will result in a more severe penalty than if you simply admitted to the conduct — in its truest and most complete form. Why is that? Because back in 1998, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decided that a federal agency may discipline an employee who lies or lacks candor to the agency regarding alleged employment-related misconduct, including falsely denying the offense, such that the agency can discipline the employee not…

Q & A Session: Listing Reason for Discrimination in EEO Claim

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Q: Does a discrimination claim need to list a reason for alleged discrimination? A: Yes, an EEO discrimination claim must list a basis for the alleged discrimination in a complaint of discrimination. The laws enforced by the EEOC (such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), Rehabilitation Act of 1973) make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age or disability. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a…

Q & A Session: Obtaining a Security Clearance—It’s All in the Details

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Q: I have maintained my security clearance for over 10 years. I was recently hired for a position which required a Top Secret/SCI clearance. About five years ago, I had some back pain while visiting a friend’s home. I was offered a pain reliever and I took it. I found out afterwards that the pain reliever was prescription. This only happened one time. When asked on my SF-86 clearance form if I had ever taken prescription medicine without a prescription, I was unsure of how to answer, so I said no. I disclosed what happened in my interview, though. There…

Q & A Session: Including Prior Acts of Harassment in EEO Complaint Alleging Hostile Work Environment

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Q: Can I include prior acts of harassment in my EEO complaint alleging a hostile work environment? A: According to 29 CFR § 1614.105(a)(1), complaints of discrimination should be brought to the attention of the EEO counselor within 45 days of the date of the matter alleged to be discriminatory, or with respect to personnel actions, within 45 days of the action ‘s effective date. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that an individual alleging a hostile work environment will not be time-barred if all acts constituting the claim are part of the same unlawful practice, and at least one…

Q & A Session: Records-Amendment Request with a VA Hospital

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Q: About 3 months ago, I filed a records-amendment request with a VA hospital, asking them to remove certain information. Under the federal statute, the hospital was required within a certain number of days to acknowledge in writing its receipt of my request and either make the requested corrections or explain its refusal to do so and permit and permit administrative review of the refusal. The hospital’s response was grossly out of the required time frame.  Do I have cause of action for statutory damages? A: You may have a cause of action for any agency’s failure to timely respond…