July 2017 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

When I was a much younger man, if I was lucky I would dream of beautiful cheerleaders who found me to be interesting. In college, my dreams turned to forgetting to go to class, and then being confronted with a final exam for which I was unprepared. Last week, I dreamed of Douglas Factors, MSPB’s famous penalty defense elements. No kidding. I dreamt I was trying to take a worksheet with only 10 factors and convert it into a worksheet that discussed all 12 factors just minutes before the proposed removal was to be issued. So, I say this to you youngsters out there: Do not stay in this business if you start dreaming about our work. If you have nightmares about going to hearing and then finding out that there are comparator employees that your deciding official knew about and ignored, you are too intense. If you get night sweats dreaming about the selecting official who admits to you that he’s been a member of the Ku Klux Klan for 20 years and wonders if that will affect his credibility at the EEO hearing, you need to move on. If your evening stupor includes visions of an OSC investigator sitting on your chest like a legally-trained incubus, find better drugs and seek other employment. Our work in federal employment law is important, whatever role you play in it. However, it’s probably best if you can keep it as work and not let it become a calling. Because if it becomes a calling, you may well end up like those of us who teach for FELTG; eating and breathing this stuff, forgoing comfort and sustenance for the perverse pleasure of travelling to you to teach federal employment law, dreaming of ways to more efficiently and fairly hold bad civil servants accountable for their misconduct and poor performance. Life is desperately short. Let us do the heavy lifting for you in civil service law, through training and consulting. You, instead, should have more pleasant dreams than do we.

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The EEO Supervisor Who Never Heard of a Targeted Disability

By Deborah Hopkins, July 19, 2017 A few weeks ago, I was talking shop with a colleague, and he mentioned that he’d recently run into an agency EEO supervisor who had never heard the term targeted disability. “C’mon,” I said, “There’s no way that’s right.” “Right or...

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OPM Doesn’t Care if You are Killed

By William Wiley, July 19, 2017 Regular readers of our newsletter will remember the celebration we had when Congress created a new type of paid leave status back in December: Notice Leave. The problem we’ve been having for several years has been a conflict between two...

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Learn to Avoid Unjustified Gambles

By William Wiley, July 19, 2017 So many questions, there are. This month, we got a good one from a long-time reader about the use of Letters of Warning. The writer was being advised (accompanied by legal citations) that a Letter of Warning was considered as prior...

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Accommodating Employees with Disabilities During Litigation

By Deryn Sumner, July 19, 2017 When we think of accommodating employees with disabilities, we often think of it only in the context of what accommodations the employee needs to perform the essential functions of his or her job at work.  However, when employees with...

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Psychiatric Examinations, the MSPB, and the EEOC

By Barbara Haga, July 19, 2017 Last month I began recounting the case of Ms Doe, whose employer the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), was concerned about her “unusual and inappropriate behavior.”  We pick up the case with the documentation of the issues...

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