Author Shaw Bransford & Roth

Shaw Bransford & Roth

Shaw Bransford & Roth provides legal representation on a wide range of employment and federal employment law issues. For more information visit us at: http://www.shawbransford.com

ON FEB. 13, 2018, the Office of Special Counsel released updated guidance to “help federal employees understand what the Hatch Act does and does not allow when using social media.” The new guidance maintained that all federal employees may use social media if they comply with three (or in limited cases four) prohibitions. First, employees “may not engage in politicalactivity while on duty or in the federal workplace.”Second, employees “may not knowingly solicit,accept, or receive a political contribution for a political party, candidate in a partisan race, or partisan political group.” Third, employees “may not use their official authority or influence to affect the outcome of an election.” A fourth prohibition applies to employees…

Q: If a 17-year vested federal law enforcement officer has his TS security clearance revoked and in turn is terminated, does he still get his retirement at 62? A: In most circumstances, yes. Termination from federal employment does not affect an employee’s annuity or retirement pay. However, a federal employee loses his or her annuity if he or she is convicted of certain crimes codified in 5 U.S.C. § 8312. These crimes are narrowly tailored, concerning acts of disloyalty to the United States. For example, 5 U.S.C. § 8312 lists the crimes of treason, sabotage, espionage, and insurrection. This…

Q: When making a request for sick leave, may my employing agency demand that I inform them of the medical condition that I am seeking treatment for? If I do not, may the agency deny my sick leave? A: It depends on the agency and its requirements regarding acceptable documentation for sick leave. Under 5 U.S.C. § 6307, an employee is entitled to sick leave with pay. In order to request sick leave, an employee must file an application under the procedures and time limits required by the federal agency in which he or she is employed. A federal agency…

Q: I would like to know if there is an allowed discrepancy of GS levels for the same position within the DOD. If not, what are potential methods of remedy that I should explore? A: A grade level represents a band or range of difficulty. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) prepares classification standards and functional guides, which are used when classifying a grade of a position. If the work assigned to a position is covered by criteria in a standard for a specific occupational series, the work is evaluated by that standard. However, if there are no specific…

Q: If a 17 yr. vested federal law enforcement officer has his TS security clearance revoked and in turn is terminated, does he still get his retirement at 62? A: In most circumstances, yes. Termination from federal employment does not affect an employee’s annuity or retirement pay. However, a federal employee loses his or her annuity if he or she is convicted of certain crimes codified in 5 U.S.C. § 8312. These crimes are narrowly tailored, concerning acts of disloyalty to the United States. For example, 5 U.S.C. § 8312 lists the crimes of treason, sabotage, espionage, and insurrection. …

Q: If I resign, would I have no recourse with MSPB? A: Generally not. An employee-initiated action, like resignation, is presumed voluntary and outside of the Merit System Protection Board’s (MSPB) jurisdiction. Freeborn v. Dep’t of Justice, 119 M.S.P.R. 290, 294 (2013). However, if the federal employee presents sufficient evidence to establish that the action was obtained through duress, coercion, or shows a reasonable person would have been misled by the agency, the presumption of voluntariness is removed. Green v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, 112 M.S.P.R. 59, 63 (2009). The employee has the burden of proving the MSPB’s jurisdiction by…

Q:  I am a GS-09 seeking a promotion go a GS-11 position. How can I be sure that I will get a promotion?  I already fill in for GS-11 employees when they are out sick or use leave. I believe I already have some of the experience and qualifications needed for a promotion. A:  Gaining the experience you have by filling in for higher-graded employees is an excellent source of experience, and hopefully an indicator that you will be promoted in the future. However, there is no way to be sure that you will get a promotion. There must first…

Q: I am a military reservist and also a full-time civilian federal employee. I am hoping to advance in my civil service career, and hope to be promoted. However, my manager has made several comments that I might be deployed in the near future. There has been no indication that I will be deployed, and I worry that my status as a reservist is being used to inhibit my career progression. How can I be sure that I am treated fairly? A: As a subordinate, it is difficult to ensure that you are treated fairly – how you are treated is largely…

Q:  I know that I must work 12 months before I am eligible to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.  I worked for the federal government for two years, followed by a four year break in service when I worked in the private sector. After spending four years in the private sector, I returned to federal employment and have been federally employed for the last eight months. I currently work for the VA, yet my prior service was with another agency. Am I eligible to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act? A:  Unfortunately, use of leave under…

Q: I have an EEO Complaint and I designated a representative to represent me. Initially, my representative was not employed. However, my representative recently began to work in EEO office of another agency. The Agency’s representative is now asking my representative if she would have a conflict of interest representing me. Can she be my representative? A: In some cases, a representative can be disqualified for having a conflict of interest. As the Code of Federal Regulation states: “[i]n cases where the representation of a complainant or agency would conflict with the official or collateral duties of the representative, the Commission or…

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