November 2018 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

One day on a slow afternoon in my first job as the head of a labor & employee relations unit, I was sitting around the director’s office with the head of classification. Somehow, we got to talking about life-before-human-resources; what had we been doing before we got into The Business. Amazingly, it turned out that the three of us at one time or another had previously worked in a morgue. My two colleagues had worked in funeral homes and I had been a pathology research technician in a science lab. Before we began working in HR, we had each spent our days with dead bodies, them preparing the body for burial and me dissecting the parts needed for medical research (I can still remove the inner ears from a cranium in less than 12 parsecs). Over the years, I came to realize the similarities between the two fields of work: dead bodies and labor & employee relations. Both require the practitioner sometimes to do nasty thing, things we can’t talk about over dinner. Both require a high degree of mental acuity and a certain grounded-ness in practicality. And somedays after doing either, all we want to do is get home and take a bath. I’ve sometimes thought that part of the training to work in civil service law is that the initiate should participate in an autopsy. It really changes one’s view of the petty minutiae and useless bureaucracy of existence if you’ve spent a little time with a body that a few hours before had been a living breathing person, just like you and me. OK, maybe not just like me because few have had a haircut as cool as the one I had in this picture. Come to our FELTG seminars. Learn The Business without having to wear a white lab coat.Bill Signature

Let’s Address the Misconceptions About Poor Performance

By Deborah Hopkins, November 14, 2018 If there’s one thing that bothers federal employees more than anything, it’s slackers in the workplace. And if there’s something even worse than that, it’s the supervisors who refuse to deal with slackers in the workplace. I’m not...

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Affirmative Defenses: The Sequel

By Meghan Droste November 14, 2018 In April, I shared the Commission’s decision in Jenna P. v. Department of Veterans Affairs, EEOC App. No. 0120150825 (Mar. 9, 2018), which addressed what happens when an agency fails to make a complainant whole after a report of...

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The (Good?) Old Days in Civil Service Law

By William Wiley, November 14, 2018 Hey, smart people! Guess what this is? The photo above is of an “Appeals System” 9x12 card that I took off of a Navy bulletin board in the mid-70s. It shows the appeals processes available to federal civilian employees in 1969. I...

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Tips from the Other Side, Part 11

By Meghan Droste November 14, 2018 Parties in EEO cases have to make many decisions throughout the process — from the complainant deciding at the outset whether to remain anonymous during the counseling period to the agency deciding whether to accept or reject an...

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