May 2017 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter
My friend, Masahiro, is Japanese. From when we first met 25 years ago, we have exchanged letters periodically, discussing growing families, jobs, and crazy political leaders. His English is very good, which is fortunate because my Japanese is non-existent. Even so, sometimes he says something in a way I would not have, and which captures a thought that I understand perfectly that crosses both of our cultures. For example, over the years, Masahiro and I have each lamented at the lack of focus in our respective sons. My Joe took 18 years to get his college degree. Masahiro’s son is just beginning college with a similar non-focused approach to life. When describing that attitude, Masahiro said, “He has a good positive spirit, but often runs idly.” That’s a concept many parents understand, yet described in a refreshing different manner.
And perhaps that’s exactly what we need for the future of the civil service: a refreshing approach that captures our need for a protected public service, but using different concepts. Perhaps we need someone with a different point of view to look at the foundations of the oversight of federal career employment, and by using words we might not have originally, develop a different approach to what we do. We’ve floated an idea here at FELTG that would place a fair price on a government job and allow an agency to buy it back from the incumbent in a no-fault, non-adversarial manner. If you have similar outside-the-box ideas, why not use your official agency stationery and recommend them to OMB? As Barbara Haga explained in her excellent article a couple of weeks ago, you have until June 30 to suggest changes to our civil service. Get creative. Use a systemic approach. Don’t just nip along the edges. If you speak a foreign language, see if that experience helps you think differently. Just don’t write your submission in Japanese.
By William Wiley, May 17, 2017 Last week, senior team members of our training group presented a webinar on the psychological aspects of employees with mental conditions and related supervisory obligations to accommodate a disability. It was one of the most widely...read more
By Deryn Sumner, May 17, 2017 Just as I did in the June 2016 edition of the newsletter, here are some facts and figures from 2016 decisions from the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations awarding non-pecuniary compensatory damages. I’ll repeat my caveat from last year:...read more
By Deborah Hopkins, May 17, 2017 Last week, Bill and I were in Denver providing training to a bunch of supervisors from agencies across the country. One of the things we regularly discuss during training classes is why so many agencies don’t take disciplinary action...read more
By William Wiley, May 17, 2017 Questions, we get questions. This one came to us after a recent webinar we presented involving due process rights: My question involves an issue that can arise after the reply and involves due process/ex parte communication issues. The...read more
By Deborah Hopkins and William Wiley, May 17, 2017 If you’ve read anything we’ve ever written in this Newsletter, then you probably know we get lots of questions from readers and we use this forum as a place to post our answers. Here’s a relatively quick one that some...read more
By Deryn Sumner, May 17, 2017 As I noted in another article discussing trends in cases awarding non-pecuniary compensatory damages in 2016, 18 of the 34 cases issued by the Commission increased the amount awarded. Some of these increases were significant, and I will...read more
By William Wiley, May 17, 2017 Here’s how accountability works in the federal civil service. Bad employees get fired. They appeal to the US Merit Systems Protection Board. The Board assigns a judge to collect all the evidence, conduct a hearing, and rule on whether...read more
By Deryn Sumner, May 17, 2017 The Commission issues several thousand decisions every year. Many of these decisions are summary affirmations of agency decisions finding no discrimination without much useful analysis to those of us who practice before the EEOC. Many...read more