Browsing: Employment

Many said it would never happen, but just as many big, private sector firms are ending their bring-your-own-device programs (BYOD, for short), the Department of Defense is starting one. DoD has announced a BYOD pilot program set to begin this summer. Security concerns raised by employees’ use of their personal devices for work purposes are widely discussed, but there remains little guidance for employees coping with the challenges likely to arise from a BYOD policy. In light of this development, let’s review how to work with BYOD as an employment benefit instead of an employment headache. Under most…

Q: I am CSRS, FAA, 55, and fully eligible to retire. If there were to be a memo proposing disciplinary action (something serious like an adverse action as a huge suspension or removal), is there anything that prevents me from just retiring at that time? Or can my retirement papers be denied and I get fired? I have no disciplinary past. A: A proposal to suspend or remove a federal employee is just that: a proposal. The agency is required to grant the employee a reasonable amount of time to respond, both in writing and orally, to the proposal, and…

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth in Washington. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk“ program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.  The VA took a firm public position that despite the special firing authority Congress passed last summer, VA senior executives retained a constitutional right to their jobs and thus were entitled to pre-termination due process. Then, VA litigated the opposite position before an…

Q: Are disciplinary actions, such as letters of warning, carried over once you are converted to permanent status from a term status position? Or are you afforded a clean slate? A: Letters of warning (and letters of counseling) are not considered disciplinary actions.  That being said, the purpose of a letter of warning is to inform employees of what the agency’s rules and policies are on a given matter, and to inform the employee that if the rules are violated in the future, an actual disciplinary action could be taken.  In the future, if you are accused of violating the…

Q: Can a federal employee plead the 5th rather than say “I didn’t do it” or “I don’t know” in an interview with the Office of the Inspector General or management? A: In an interview, you can state that you do not remember, or that you do not know the answer to the question whenever that answer would be truthful, but it must be the truth. Regarding your question about when you have a right to remain silent pursuant to the Fifth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment states that:  “No Person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be…

Federal workers are fortunate. They have several legally defined processes available to them to complain about workplace treatment, theoretically free from reprisal. Most employees in the private sector have none. For complaints made by employees in the private sector regarding hours of work, office location, a work assignment, or a colleague or supervisor who is treating you disrespectfully, the usual response is: “If you’re not happy here, you can leave.” Feds have multiple processes and forums to lodge workplace complaints. One such process, the administrative grievance process, has been viewed poorly by feds in the past. But I think it…

Q: I’ve been waiting three weeks for a Department of Defense (“DoD”) DOS Security Clearance/Secret. Is this a normal amount of time? A: Three weeks is not an unusual length of time for a Department of Defense (“DoD”) security clearance adjudication. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (“IRTPA”) of 2004 required the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) to annually report on the processing times for security clearances through February 2011. As part of its IRTPA Annual Report for 2010, the final and most recent ODNI issued under IRTPA, ODNI reported the average initiation, investigation, and adjudication processing…

If you work in the arena of labor-employment relations or are a manager or supervisor, then you’ve likely had to negotiate a settlement with an employee who filed some sort of claim in connection with his or her employment. If the negotiations are successful, the terms are reduced to a written instrument. When the agreement is finally signed by both parties, it often brings a sense of relief to each side that the litigation has been resolved. But buyer beware. Even after years of litigation before the Merit Systems Protection Board and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, agencies still enter into…

Q: My supervisor asked me for a doctor’s note that includes the time I arrived at the doctor’s office and the time I departed the doctor’s office on the day of my scheduled appointment. Am I required to provide this information? A: Office of Personnel Management regulations on sick leave permit agencies to require employees to submit administratively acceptable evidence. Generally, an employee’s self-certification can serve as administratively acceptable evidence. But, agencies can require a doctor’s note or other medical evidence for absences in excess of three days or after placement on a leave restriction letter. Employees should consult their…

If you read the recent Merit Systems Protection Board decision reversing the Office of Personnel Management’s denial of discontinued service retirement (DSR) to a Department of Interior employee, and you think you’ve got the green light to use a settlement agreement to create a circumstance by which an employee may become DSR eligible, I say beware of the yellow light. Proceed cautiously, as it appears OPM will be appealing this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and how the court of appeals decides this case is by no means certain. This case involved an employee…