April 2020 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

Five Weeks In: Measuring Desk Distances, Cyber Spying, and More  

Much of America remains in crisis mode as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on people’s health and the economy. For those fortunate enough to have kept jobs, it’s a new reality, whether you are still going to a half-empty building, out in the field, or working from home.

We’ve heard stories of supervisors who, rather than allow telework-capable employees to work from home, have literally measured distances between desks to ensure that coworkers were spaced 6 feet apart. “Spy software” sales have spiked, as companies seek to capture teleworking employees’ keystrokes and monitor website activity.

One of my personal pet peeves is the social media posts made by people on telework “not-working” from home, who are treating this period in history like an extended snow day. Maybe they are trying to keep things light, but that behavior gives hard-working teleworkers a bad name. The truth is, most teleworkers will get the job done, and well. Why apply a mistrust of teleworking employees to all, rather than just handling the poor performers or the time-wasters as they arise?  So today, we at FELTG want to thank all the hardworking federal employees, who are tirelessly performing the country’s work, regardless of their work location. We appreciate all you do.

This month’s newsletter covers lessons from a couple tricky cases, disciplining an employee for coming to work sick, virtual depositions, and much more.

Read and enjoy,

Deborah J. Hopkins, FELTG President

Unintentional Outcomes of Two Recent Court Decisions

By William Wiley, April 15, 2020 If you paid attention in civics class in the 10th grade, you probably remember a fundamental aspect of our country’s great legal system: The legislative branch (Congress) decides what the rules should be in our society and then passes...

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The Value of Forgiveness (of Student Loans)

By Meghan Droste, April 15, 2020 If you graduated well before 2007, or are among the lucky few who graduated since then without any student loan debt, Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) might not mean much to you. If you’re a Millennial (those far more likely to...

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7 Tips for Coping With the Stress of a COVID-19 World

By Shana Palmieri, April 15, 2020 The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the globe into a sudden, unexpected and intense trauma.  As a result of the global pandemic, lives for people around the world have changed in an instant. Within the first three months of 2020, our...

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Flatten the Curve on Virus-related Workplace Harassment

By Dan Gephart, April 15, 2020 As the grim realities of the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the country in mid-March, so did discrimination, harassment, and the unfair treatment of some Americans. Spurred on by references to coronavirus as the “Chinese Flu”...

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Re-shape the Way You Think About Performance Conversations

By Anthony Marchese, April 15, 2020 There are few expressions within the nomenclature of the workplace more effective at generating a physiological reaction than “performance review” or “performance feedback.” For supervisors and individual contributors alike, the...

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