November 2017 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

I am not a fan of self-reflection, especially if I’m the one who is doing the self-reflecting. However, recently I felt a need to look at myself in the mirror and ask, “Who are you?” It started when a class participant used a phrase to describe me that I didn’t know. When I looked it up, I found it was a pejorative (insulting) statement. Just a couple of days ago, a fellow attorney used an unknown-to-me phrase to characterize something I had done. When I looked up that phrase, it was also described as pejorative. And finally, at a conference a few weeks ago where I was to speak, a senior HR manager I did not know refused to introduce me. So here I sit, looking in the mirror, trying to figure out what it is that causes such responses. Could it be the work we do here at FELTG? Gosh, I don’t think so. We teach managers, unions, and neutrals how the civil service accountability laws work. It couldn’t be that. Could it be personal hygiene? Well, my lovely wife tells me I have decent daily toilet practices (for a guy). So probably not that one. Then, I looked in the mirror really hard, and there it was, right in front of me. I am absolutely the least attractive man I have ever seen. The word “ugly” does not fully capture my essence. So as a public service, I have today ordered a bunch of paper bags. I will dutifully wear one whenever I find I have done something objectionable. Consider this my early holiday gift to you. I may continue to occasionally do something that people don’t like, but I will be doing it incognito, for the public good.  And if you’re wondering what that second pejorative phrase was, you just might find it in next week’s newsletter. Happy Thanksgiving!

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I’ve Earned My Grumpy

By William Wiley, November 15, 2017 Questions, we get questions. Some make us laugh, some make us think, and some – like this one – just make us sad. I’ll bet that there are a lot of federal supervisors who can relate to this tale of woe from one of our loyal readers:...

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How Much Workplace Violence Do I Have to Put Up With?

By Deborah Hopkins, November 15, 2017 Here’s a note a reader recently sent: Dear FELTG, I work in a federal agency but NOT in a federal building. We don’t have metal detectors – just a security person at a reception desk, who is sometimes there and sometimes not. I...

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Nibbling in the Dark

By William Wiley, November 15, 2017 Here’s one of the things wrong with Congress that affects you personally. Recently, we’ve seen proposed legislation that would change the probationary period for new federal employees. During a probationary period, a bad civil...

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Carelessness in the Workplace

By Barbara Haga, November 15, 2017 This month we are branching out from negligence to the larger issue of careless work performance by a Federal employee. High Voltage  We’re going to begin with the case of the very scary High Voltage Electrician. The case is Kaminski...

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Where to Begin When You Start to Calculate Back Pay

By Deryn Sumner, November 15, 2017 We’ve discussed a few times how important it is to value a case, even if you represent the agency, and even if you think your case is a slam dunk.  Nothing is predictable with certainty in litigation, and you don’t want to have to...

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The Future of the Civil Service?

By William Wiley, November 15, 2017 Here’s how we learn to do things in the federal civil service: Congress passes civil-service-related legislation that the President signs into law. Agencies read the law, take their best guess at what the details are, then start...

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