Calendar

FELTG Executive Director Deborah Hopkins instructing a class
May
18
Mon
Virtual Training Event: Conducting Effective Harassment Investigations
May 18 – May 20 all-day

Download Registration Form

Event Description

Investigating harassment in your agency can be an intimidating assignment, one that is rife with innuendo, conflicting accounts, and raw emotions. Ensuring that your investigation is legally compliant and protects employees, while helping the agency minimize liability, is a taxing task. It’s even more challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic when most investigations must be done virtually.

Together, these three instructor-led live training sessions will provide a solid basis for a successful and effective approach to conducting legally-sufficient harassment investigations that stand up upon third-party review. Peruse MSPB and EEOC cases and you’ll find that poorly conducted investigations are far more common than they should be, and the cost of these investigations to agencies are bigger than you’d expect.

Understand the differences between EEO and non-EEO harassment. Learn the best techniques to conduct an investigation – whether onsite or virtually. Write a report that covers all the crucial information. And much more.

This open enrollment FELTG Virtual Training Institute program Conducting Effective Harassment Investigations offers opportunities to ask questions of FELTG’s experienced instructors, and get answers in real time. Plus, this program fulfills the requirements for 8-hour annual EEO investigator refresher training.

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, May 18, 2020

Session 1: Investigating Harassment: Misconduct Principles

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

Course Description: An effective harassment investigation begins with a solid foundation of misconduct law in the federal workplace. Attorney and FELTG President Deborah J. Hopkins will explain the principles that underpin a successful investigation of federal employee misconduct, whether it’s on-duty or off-duty. Attendees will learn the five elements of discipline and understand how they relate to the misconduct investigation process. Plus, they’ll learn about evidence standards and burdens of proof in misconduct cases, how Douglas factors play in to an investigation, the importance of nexus, what to do when a witness won’t cooperate, and much more.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Identify the relationship between the foundations of federal accountability and misconduct investigations.
  • Identify and collect relevant penalty evidence during the investigation.
  • Recognize the mistakes that derail effective misconduct and harassment investigations.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Session 2: Understanding Harassment and Planning the Investigation

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

Course description: What is the scope of the investigation? Who should you interview? What documents are you going to need? Preparing your investigative plan is a critical step in developing a legally sufficient investigation. Attorney Katherine Atkinson will explain the proper role of the investigator and how you can avoid the pitfalls of an insufficient investigation with the proper preparation and knowledge. Plus, she’ll answer important questions about representation: Does the witness have the right to a representative? Does the union have a right to attend the interview – even if the witness doesn’t want the union there? What rights does agency management have in the process?

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Discern the difference between EEO and non-EEO harassment, and the impact that has on the investigations’ legal sufficiency.
  • Identify witness rights and management rights.
  • Recognize the three basic characteristics of evidence in a harassment investigation.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Session 3: Conducting the Investigation and Writing the Report

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

Course description: Attorney Meghan Droste will share legal principles and proven guidance to navigate this most critical and challenging part of harassment investigations: conducting the interviews and gathering relevant evidence. Attendees will leave the session with techniques for questioning, tools for reading body language, suggestions on how to handle difficult personality types, and tips for writing the fact-finding report (FFR) and report of investigation (ROI). Ms. Droste will also share how technology is changing the investigation process, including a very timely discussion of conducting virtual interviews.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Identify the similarities and differences in conducting onsite and virtual interviews.
  • Apply logic and judgment to evaluate conflicting statements.
  • Write a fulsome report on the findings from the harassment investigation.


Price

  • Early Bird Tuition (register by May 8): One Session = $240  |  Two Sessions = $480  |  Full Event = $645
  • Standard Tuition (register May 9-May 20): One Session = $255  |  Two Sessions = $510  |  Full Event = $695
  • Rates per registrant. No split registrations permitted.
  • Want to register a group? Group discounts are available through May 8. Contact FELTG.
  • REGISTER NOW.

 

Event FAQs

  • Can I attend Virtual Training from my government computer?
    • FELTG uses Zoom Webinars (not Zoom Meetings) to broadcast its Virtual Training Institute events. Many government computers and systems allow Zoom 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 based on the number of sessions attended by employees in an organization. If an agency wishes to register participants for a total of 30 sessions, a group discount will apply if all registrations received and paid for together. For example, that could be 10 Full Event registrations; or 15 people attending two sessions each. Group discounts are only available through May 8.

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.

Jun
1
Mon
Virtual Training Event – Taking Defensible Disciplinary Actions
Jun 1 – Jun 3 all-day

Download Registration Form

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.


Price

  • 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.
  • REGISTER NOW.

 

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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