October 2017 Federal Employment Law Training Newsletter

Do you want to know why we love this work here at FELTG? Well, consider the following. One of our favorite readers recently dropped us a note about a problem employee he had to deal with several years ago:

“The most interesting case I had was an employee who would go into trances during the workday, speak in tongues, then faint.  When her supervisor told her she could not do that, she responded that it was God, not her, speaking.“

Most folks who would read about this lady would immediately feel sympathy. Poor thing. She’s having hallucinations and delusions. Perhaps she’s in need of medical care for her apparent schizophrenia. Normal people would worry about her ability to take care of herself. Perhaps she needs to be hospitalized for a while. Well, you know what we civil service lawyers and employee relations specialists here at FELTG immediately think when we hear about this?

  • We can’t charge her with Insubordination because her actions are not a “willful” refusal to follow an order.
  • If her condition is a disability or the result of a religious belief, we need to try to reasonably accommodate her by finding another position in which she can perform the essential functions while speaking in tongues and fainting.
  • If her spells equate to a religious practice, we need to determine if accommodating these is an undue hardship.
  • Perhaps there’s a critical element in her performance plan that says, “No more than one fainting incident in any 30-day period.”

Some days I don’t know if our business is calling or a sickness. Take advantage of us by attending our training while you can. You just never know when “they” may take away one or the other of our team and institutionalize us along with this poor lady.

Bill Signature

Litigation Constipation

By William Wiley, October 18, 2017 In the world of civil service law, we live and die by the works of our alphabetical oversight agencies: MSPB, EEOC, FLRA, OPM, FSIP, and OSC. When they shut down, some part of the federal employment system shuts down, as well. Coming...

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Negligence and Federal Employees II

By Barbara Haga, October 18, 2017 In the last column, I dealt with negligence in medical positions, where perhaps the life and death consequences are somewhat more apparent.  In this column, I will review cases of negligence or careless workmanship in other kinds of...

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Are You a Bureaucrat or are You the Next Steve Jobs?

By William Wiley, October 18, 2017 Here’s a little quiz to demonstrate the difference between the private sector world and the world of bureaucratic government employment: When confronted with the question, can you do X, you look for: Some authority that says you can...

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A Classic Reprisal Case

By Deborah Hopkins, October 18, 2017 EEO activity isn’t fun for anyone involved – not for the complainant, not for the agency reps, and not for the supervisor named as a responding management official. But EEO laws exist to protect people from illegal reprisal for...

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A Five-Rating Performance Rating Plan is Asking for Trouble

By William Wiley, October 18, 2017 If your performance rating system has five levels, with a Marginal or Minimal (or Partially Achieved Expected results) rating level between Fully Successful and Unacceptable, you absolutely need to read this article. Many years ago,...

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