July 2021 Federal Employment Law Training Group Newsletter

Interviewing a Difficult Witness? It Begins With Understanding

A few weeks ago, during a training class with agency investigators, an interesting discussion arose about the best way to interview a witness whose behavioral health condition or experiences with trauma make them difficult to talk to. How can an investigator get the answers needed, not trigger an episode, de-escalate emotions, and show empathy, all while maintaining neutrality?

That’s not something a lawyer can easily answer. Luckily, FELTG has an instructor who specializes in this area. Shana Palmieri, LCSW, will present information on interviewing difficult witnesses during Workplace Investigations Week (August 2-6) and on October 21 in the 60-minute webinar Workplace Investigations: Successfully Interviewing Witnesses With Mental and Behavioral Health Conditions. Anyone who conducts IG, misconduct or EEO investigations, or meets with employees for any reason, will benefit from this practical advice.

This month’s newsletter includes a to-do list for the new MSPB members, why progressive discipline for probationers is probably a bad idea, lessons on leadership, and much more.

Take care,

Deborah J. Hopkins, FELTG President

The To-Do List for the New MSPB Board Members

By William Wiley, July 21, 2021 By now you probably have heard that the White House finally has nominated two individuals to be Board members over at the US Merit Systems Protection Board. After more than four years of the civil service having no oversight agency to...

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Don’t Just Flag Hostile Symbols; Do Something to Stop Them

By Dan Gephart, July 21, 2021 Residents from our cozy colonial-era town of Haddonfield, NJ, returned in droves to this year’s July 4 parade. (Last year’s parade was canceled due to COVID.) The streets were packed with enthusiastic and smiling (no masks!) residents,...

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Return to the Office and the Telework Tango

By Michael Rhoads, July 21, 2021 When I was a Rotary foreign exchange student in Argentina, the hardest thing this Yankee with two left feet did was learn the basic step of the tango – an intimate and graceful dance once mastered. The key to dancing the tango well is...

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Tips From the Other Side: What is Retaliation?

By Meghan Droste, July 21, 2021 This month, we continue the discussion of retaliation. Last month, the tip was not to do it. While that might seem obvious, it happens regularly and the EEOC has cautioned that may be, in part, due to a lack of training for supervisors...

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Position Descriptions and Performance Plans – Part 3

By Barbara Haga, July 21, 2021 Over the past two columns, we reviewed what position descriptions should cover to give you maximum ability to determine qualifications, establish accountability, and to hire well. We also looked at crafting performance standards that...

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