November 2022 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

Politics Have Been Ugly for Generations


Did you know the modern, merit-based civil service system is the direct result of a Presidential assassination? In 1881, President James Garfield was assassinated by an individual who thought he deserved a job in the Federal government, but was denied a position. Federal employment at that time was a “spoils system,” which meant that the political party in power gave public offices to its supporters, so most Federal jobs were not based on merit.

As a result of the assassination (and, as the story goes, in President Garfield’s memory) President Chester Arthur signed into law the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act on January 16, 1883, which among other things created the Civil Service Commission (the MSPB’s predecessor) and made it illegal to fire Federal employees because of their political activity. At least something good came out of a very hard time in our country’s history – and hopefully some good comes out of these challenging political times we’re enduring now.

In this month’s newsletter, we discuss Douglas factors 2 and 5, workplace intoxication and its impact on workers’ compensation claims, EEO reprisal challenges, accommodating stroke victims, and more.

Take care,

Deborah J. Hopkins, FELTG President

A New Aggravating Job Type Under Douglas Factor 2

By Deborah J. Hopkins, November 15, 2022 A brand-new precedential MSPB decision has led me to ask FELTG readers: What charge would you draft, and what penalty would you assess, in this case? Here are some facts: The appellant, a GS-9 Supervisory HR specialist, made...

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Can Agencies Drug Test Injured Workers?

By Frank Ferreri, November 15, 2022 Let's say an employee who is going about her business on the job slips and falls, resulting in an injury for which she files a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Someone at the agency thinks that it wasn’t work that caused...

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EEO Reprisal is (Unfortunately) Alive and Well

By Deborah J. Hopkins, November 15, 2022 Reprisal, or retaliation, is alleged in about half of all EEO complaints. It is the most common basis of discrimination in findings against agencies. Let’s look at a few situations where the EEOC has issued findings of EEO...

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Weingarten and Performance Counseling Don’t Mix

By Barbara Haga, November 15, 2022 Last month, my colleague Ann Boehm wrote a great article The Good News: With Weingarten, The Law Is Enough. I cheered as she discussed the various elements of the Weingarten right and when she suggested that agencies should not agree...

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