June 1, 2020 – June 3, 2020 all-day America/New York Timezone
(844) 283-3584

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Event Description

Though the world looks different than it did a few months ago, one thing hasn’t changed: the need for agencies to take disciplinary actions against employees who violate workplace rules. It’s more important than ever for agency advisers to be aware of new regulations, and the current status of the executive orders, that apply to executive branch employees. FELTG’s Virtual Training Institute presents Taking Defensible Disciplinary Actions, a three-day virtual program covering the legal requirements and best practices for taking defensible disciplinary actions in the federal government – actions that will withstand appeal by a third party.

Join top MSPB practitioners and topic authors, and learn the law, strategies, and techniques from their many years of combined experience. You can register for any of the sessions individually, or you can register for all three.

This program runs from 12:30 – 4:00 eastern each day, with a 30-minute break from 2:00 – 2:30 eastern.

Download Individual Registration Form

Monday, June 1, 2020

Session 1: The Foundations of Accountability: Discipline and Adverse Actions

12:30 pm – 4:00 pm EDT (break from 2:00 – 2:30)
Presented by Deborah J. Hopkins, Attorney at Law, FELTG President

Session Description: This session begins with a discussion of the foundations of accountability based on the Civil Service Reform Act and the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, and the importance of understanding the differences between employee poor performance and misconduct. The program will cover the five elements that must be present in every disciplinary case, plus discipline and adverse action procedures, and how an agency can defend itself in an appeal to an MSPB administrative judge or in front of an arbitrator. Plus, we’ll spotlight discipline alternatives such as last chance agreements and last rites discussions.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Understand the differences between misconduct and poor performance.
  • Develop a disciplinary record containing the five elements of a legally-defensible disciplinary case.
  • Identify alternatives to traditional discipline.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Session 2: Charges and Penalties

12:30 pm – 4:00 pm EDT (break from 2:00 – 2:30)
Presented by Ann Boehm, Attorney at Law, FELTG Instructor

Session Description: If you’ve been in the business for more that a few days, you know the importance of drafting legally-sufficient disciplinary charges, and the importance of making a reasonable penalty determination. Yet many agencies still lose cases because of poorly-drafted charges. This session will cover the art and science behind drafting disciplinary charges, including the types of charges, parts of a charge, how charges are interpreted, and alternative charges. From there the discussion will turn to MSPB and Federal Circuit lead cases in penalty determination, and defending the penalty using the Douglas factors, including getting “intent” penalties off of “non-intent” charges, and proving harsh penalties off of vanilla charges. Plus, we’ll cover the important aspects of drafting proposal and decision letters.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Identify sound, legally-defensible charges that correspond to an employee’s misconduct.
  • Understand how the Douglas factors impact the reasonableness of an agency’s penalty.
  • Draft proposal and decision letters according to legal standards.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Session 3: Affirmative Defenses and Mixed Cases

12:30 pm – 4:00 pm EDT (break from 2:00 – 2:30)
Presented by Deborah Hopkins, Attorney at Law, FELTG President and Robert Woods, Attorney at Law, FELTG Instructor

Session Description: When it comes to discipline, employees often want to challenge management in an attempt to get the discipline overturned. On some occasion, those challenges can be a bit complicated. This session will cover two areas you’ll need to be prepared for: affirmative defenses and mixed cases. We’ll take a look at the multiple types of reprisal an employee might allege as an affirmative defense, plus cover what to do if an employee alleges an agency action was motivated by EEO discrimination, or accused the agency of committing a harmful error. From there the discussion will focus the anatomy of a mixed case appeal or a mixed case complaint, and what you should do when one of these lands on your desk.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Understand affirmative defenses and learn how to defend against them.
  • Successfully defend your agency against whistleblower reprisal complaints.
  • Identify and successfully navigate scenarios involving mixed cases.


  • Early Bird Tuition (register by May 22): One Day = $275  |  Two Days = $525  |  Full Event = $750
  • Standard Tuition (register May 23-June 3): One Day = $325  |  Two Days = $575  |  Full Event = $795
  • Rates per registrant. No split registrations permitted.
  • Want to register a group? Group discounts are available through May 22. Contact FELTG.


Event FAQs

  • Can I attend Virtual Training from my government computer?
    • FELTG uses Webex to broadcast its Virtual Training Institute events. Many government computers and systems allow Webex access. If for some reason your firewall will not allow access, you’re welcome to use your personal email address to register, and to attend the sessions from your personal device.
  • Can I earn CLE credits for this class?
    • CLE applications are the responsibility of each attendee; FELTG does not apply for the credits on behalf of attendees.  If you are seeking CLE credit, attendees may use the materials provided by FELTG in submission to your state bar. Attendees may also request a certificate of completion which will contain the number of training hours attended.
  • Can I share my access link with co-workers?
    • No. Registration for this event is per individual, and access links may not be shared. Each link may only be used by one person.
  • Can I register a teleworker?
    • This event is individual registration, so the cost is the same whether the person is teleworking or in an agency facility.
  • How do I receive a group rate discount?
    • Group rates are available for agencies registering 10 or more individuals for the full event. Group discounts are available through May 22.

Cancellation and No-show Policy for Registered Participants: Cancellations made after the cancel date on the registration form will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses. Pre-paid training using the “Pay Now” option will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses. No-shows will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses.

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