Federal employee use of government computers and workplace internet is fairly common at federal agencies. As a result, there are many times when federal employees get into disciplinary trouble involving their use of workplace computers or the internet. It is generally advised that federal employees avoid using federal agency computers and/or workplace internet, even where permitted, wherever possible. Many future problems can be avoided by taking this approach.
The most frequent problems that arise for federal employees in this area involve: (1) watching extended entertainment programs (Neltfix, Hulu, etc.); (2) excessive social media usage (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); (3) gaming at work; and (4) watching, sending or receiving sexually explicit materials. There are any other number of examples which could run afoul of individual federal agency policies. While a number of federal agencies have adopted personal usage policies, many federal employees have not been given full training in this area and may run into potential disciplinary problems.
This article discusses some of the more common issues. Please continue below to read the article.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has just issued new proposed regulations to rescind many of the prior Administration’s federal employee rule changes. The changes by OPM were those put into motion earlier this year when the President revoked Executive Order 13839 by signing Executive Order 14003. The President, in Executive Order 14003, directed OPM to suspend, revise, or rescind actions implementing Executive Order 13839.
OPM’s new rules will likely be fully implemented as soon as the short comment period is over. The changes will eliminate the clean record settlement ban, alter performance-based actions, revise probationary period notices, and change a few other personnel issues for federal employees. By far, the most crucial change is the ability for federal agencies to enter into clear record settlements with federal employees in cases.
The 2019 primaries and 2020 national elections are approaching soon. Our law firm often represents and defends federal employees in Hatch Act violation cases. The Hatch Act was meant to curtail partisan political involvement for federal employees. There are certain restrictions that prohibit certain political conduct, both on-duty and off-duty. As these elections approach, this article is meant to help federal employees avoid the problems of committing potential Hatch Act violations. Continue reading →
This article discusses federal employee probationary rights. Probationary employee rights can be a confusing subject for most federal employees. The rights that these types of employees have can also be unclear or not fully explained by federal agencies to employees. This article hope to clear this area of law up for federal employees that may be in their probationary status.
We often represent and defend federal employees and supervisors involved as respondents in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints. While many attorneys represent only complainants in EEO complaints, we also represent those co-workers and supervisors accused of EEO misconduct in their defense. In cases where a federal employee or supervisor has been named a respondent in an EEO case by another federal employee, it is very important for them to obtain legal advice and counsel throughout the EEO investigation in order to avoid disciplinary action later. An EEO respondent simply means that the individual has been named as part of the EEO violations or misconduct at issue.
We often represent federal employees in investigations before the Officeof Inspector General (OIG) of their federal agency. When a federal employee is under investigation (or going to be interviewed) by their respective OIG it is important for them to be aware of their legal rights, options and best plan of action for any potential legal defense. This article covers many of the issues that arise when a federal employee is contacted by their federal agency’s OIG.
In the course of discrimination and termination cases involving federal employees, we are often asked about the concept of constructive discharge, also known as constructive termination or removal. Many federal employees ask what a constructive discharge or constructive removal is and whether it may apply to their case. The best way to describe a constructive discharge claim is as follows: a constructive discharge is a forced resignation or retirement by involuntary means.
We are often asked by federal employees and applicants about how to file an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint for discrimination, sexual harassment or retaliation. A federal employee has different options for filing an EEO complaint than a private sector employee (and shorter deadlines) so it is important to understand the basics in moving forward. Continue reading →
Our law firm represents federal employees who have been placed on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) relating to alleged poor performance. Federal employees should always be wary if they learn that a PIP is being recommended or considered as a means of correcting a federal employee’s work performance. In our experience, the issuance of a PIP almost always indicates the beginning of the removal or reassignment process for a federal employee. Federal employees, however, are usually told that a PIP is only designed to benefit them and make them better performers. This, unfortunately, is not the usual case.
Our law firm represents federal employees in federal employee grievance procedures. Most, if not all federal agencies have their own federal employee grievance procedures. Most of these procedures are similar but each agency may have their own twists that an employee should be aware of. Continue reading →