Browsing: Termination

A recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the federal appeals court that decides employee appeals from the Merit Systems Protection Board, made me think about a long-standing belief held by federal employees that it is illegal for their employer to require them to perform job duties above their grade level. It’s not per se illegal, although there are some processes by which a federal worker could be compensated at the higher grade level.

I recently did a series of training courses to managers and supervisors in a fairly large federal agency with two strong unions. The courses are designed to educate these managers on the rules that govern the firing of problem employees. The point of the course is to educate managers and supervisors on what can be a complex set of rules governing performance and conduct proceedings so as to empower them to act, and eliminate the myths about how hard each process can or should be. What came up over and over again in each session covering about 100 managers and…

Federal managers are aware of the phrase “probationary period,” and most have dealt with employees who are in it while under the manager’s supervision. Research conducted by the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) have shown repeatedly, however, that while managers know what a probationary period is, they more often than not don’t use it for its intended purpose: to assess the work performance of new employees and to remove nonperforming probationary employees before they obtain job protection rights under Title V that make it more cumbersome for managers to remove poor performers or employees who fail to fully conform to…

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: 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. …

More than 30 years after enactment of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, federal managers and supervisors still complain that taking a performance-based action is too hard. Those complaints are ironic considering how employer friendly the CSRA is on performance actions. When I tell managers the real statutory rules for taking a performance based action and the type of review such actions undergo by the Merit Systems Protection Board, they universally express shock, accompanied by dropped jaws, accompanied by exclamations that their HR offices never told them what I’m telling them. Why is it that the federal…

Since 1980, civil service laws such as the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 have been interpreted to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Also, the Office of Personnel Management has interpreted the 10th Prohibited Personnel Practice (codified at 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(10)), which bans personnel actions based on conduct that does not adversely affect job performance, to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. However, in a May 2014 report to the president and Congress, the Merit Systems Protection Board wrote that, despite the existence of Executive Order 11478, which…

When an employee of your agency is terminated from federal employment, does your agency have a policy on whether to controvert a claim for unemployment benefits made by the terminated employee? Do you know the agency’s policy? Frequently terminated federal employees file claims for unemployment benefits with state agencies. If you were the official responsible for the termination decision, human resources may ask you how you wish to respond to the claim. Knowing how most state unemployment offices will process the claim is helpful to deciding how to respond, along with understanding the interplay between a state unemployment process and…