Employee Relations Training Courses

 

William Wiley talks to room of course attendees

These courses provide practical guidance to help agency attorneys and HR/ER/LR specialists successfully navigate the world of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) by covering issues related to performance, misconduct, leave and other relevant topics that impact federal agencies.


 

ER-1: Fundamentals of MSPB: Nuts & Bolts (1 day)

Course Topics: An overview of the MSPB and how it works; how the new Board has changed the way MSPB does things; basic principles of performance and conduct actions; successfully navigating the Board’s appeal process; responding to affirmative defenses (allegations of whistleblower reprisal or civil rights discrimination).


 

ER-2: Misconduct-Based Actions (1 day)

Course Topics: The Five Essential Elements of disciplinary cases; burdens of proof; penalty selection and defense; MSPB’s power to mitigate a penalty; the comparator employee dilemma; the over-arching power of progressive discipline.


 

ER-3: Unacceptable Performance-Based Actions (1 day)

Course Topics: Elements of performance cases; burdens of proof; drafting a defensible performance standard; implementing a Performance Improvement Plan; accommodating disability-related performance problems; top three mistakes agencies routinely make; how to remove a poor performer in 31 days.


 

ER-4: Absence Management: Understanding Federal Employee Leave (1-2 days)

Course Topics: Types of leave and leave entitlements; overviews of Family and Medical Leave Act; leave as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act; leave as religious accommodation; leave abuse; alternative, modified and compressed work schedules; managing telework; the magic of Medical Inability to Perform removals.


 

ER-5: MSPB Charges & Penalties (1-2 days)

Course Topics: Types of charges; parts of a charge; proposing and deciding officials; proving the difficult “intent” charge element; charge drafting; MSPB and Federal Circuit lead cases in penalty determination; charging down and proving up; defending a penalty as reasonable; case law update.


 

ER-6: Conducting Effective Misconduct Investigations (1-4 days)

Course Topics: Investigations foundations; criminal v. tort activity in the federal workplace; necessary evidence; misconduct-based investigations; collecting charge and penalty evidence; fact-finding; employee legal rights during an investigation; Privacy Act considerations; testifying at hearing; writing the report.


 

ER-7: Understanding FMLA Law & Policy (1 day)

Course Topics: Federal sector Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) basics; military family leave; serious health condition developments; medical certification issues; managing intermittent FMLA leave; discipline, FMLA and the under-performer; employee notice issues.


 

ER-8: Leave-Related Discipline & Medical Removals (1 day)

Course Topics: Handling the leave abuser according to the legal discipline process; documentation necessary to discipline an employee for leave abuse; steps to disciplining leave abusers; AWOL charges; leave restriction; excessive absence removals; medical inability to perform removals.


 

ER-9: Drafting Legally-Sufficient Discipline & Performance Documents (1 day)

Course Topics: The foundations of the civil service; accountability for misconduct; discipline fundamentals and nexus; major options to discipline; probationary employees; misconduct v. unacceptable performance; the five elements of discipline; the procedures of discipline and appeal; drafting proposal notices, decision letters, performance standards and PIP implementation letters.


ER-10: Handling Behavioral Health Issues and Threats of Violence in the Federal Workplace (1-2 days)

Course Topics: Your agency’s legal obligation to provide its employees with a safe workplace; ADAAA requirements on accommodating individuals with mental impairments and other behavioral health issues; types of mental disabilities and how they may exhibit in the workplace; the “direct threat” analysis; dealing with suicidal employees; dos and don’ts when working employees who have behavioral health issues; myths and facts about targeted violence in the workplace; individual characteristics that put an employee at higher risk of committing an act of violence; steps to take if someone becomes violent in the workplace; developing and implement an in-house threat management team to deal with threat assessments; risk management; the best ways to keep employees safe during a crisis.


ER-11: Understanding Whistleblowing and Preventing Whistleblower Reprisal (1 day)

Course Topics: The statutory basis and civil service protections of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act; the categories of protected disclosures; how to handle disclosures that turn out to be false; the appropriate avenues of protected disclosure; what constitutes whistleblower reprisal – and how to avoid it; evidence needed to discipline a whistleblower for misconduct unrelated to whistleblowing.


ER-12: Making Performance Plans Work (1 day)

Course Topics: Legal and regulatory background; environment; system requirements; performance plan elements and standards; feedback; applying performance plans; MSPB decisions on performance measures; Performance Plan Review Workshop; Within-Grade Increases; unacceptable performance; Performance Improvement Period; taking performance-based actions.


ER-13: Advanced Employee Relations (3 days)

Course Topics:

Day 1 – Leave and Attendance: Administering leave, with particular emphasis on sick leave, LWOP, and FMLA. Detailed review of sick leave provisions including authorized purposes for use of sick leave, limitations on use of sick leave for family care and bereavement, eligibility to use leave for care, notice requirements, acceptable documentation. Management actions to control use of leave and abuse of sick leave. Detailed review of FMLA provisions including eligibility to invoke FMLA, entitlement, coverage of family members, administration and notice requirements. Aacceptable medical documentation under FMLA, definition of serious health condition. Substitution of paid leave. Discipline tied to FMLA. LWOP – when LWOP is mandatory, limits on granting LWOP, employee status while on extended LWOP. Other topics –issues related to annual leave and leave transfer, other leave entitlements.

Day 2 – Performance Management: Managing performance from system establishment to conducting annual appraisals to taking actions linked to performance. GEAR initiative and other efforts focused on modifying Federal performance management system. Requirements for performance plans, including design of agency systems, rating schemes, and procedures for conducting appraisals. Revised DOD performance system to be implemented in 2016. Linkage between appraisal and other personnel management decisions, including reduction-in-force and within-grade increases. Writing effective and measurable performance criteria that will withstand third-party review, including a workshop where participants will do an in-depth review of performance plans. Requirements for successful performance-based actions – from drafting a PIP notice that will withstand scrutiny to conducting a bona fide PIP to ensuring that due process is met in effecting an action on unacceptable performance.

Day 3 – Misconduct and Other Related Issues: Implementation of a successful disciplinary program – delegation of authority, role of advisors, warnings and cautions, use of administrative leave. Nexus. Dealing with comparators in determining a penalty. Involuntary actions – resignations and retirements. Ordering and Offering medical examinations. Specific disciplinary situations: handling situations when an employee is unable to perform including excessive leave, disability retirement, separation disability; conduct unbecoming; misuse and technology-related misconduct; failure to meet conditions of employment.

Upcoming Employee Relations Training Events


 

Apr
30
Tue
Advanced Employee Relations – Washington, DC @ International Student House (ISH) – Ella Burling Hall
Apr 30 – May 2 all-day

This class is nearly full. Consider registering for this program in Norfolk, VA (September 10-12) or in New Orleans, LA (November 19-21).

Download Registration Form

Being an Employee Relations Specialist is a tough job. It’s great to know the basics, but the basics don’t always help you when you’re facing those really challenging situations. That’s when you realize that there is much more to learn. No worries. FELTG is presenting Advanced Employee Relations, a three-day seminar focused on immersing you in the employee relations training you need most.
You’ll receive in-depth training on topics including leave, performance, misconduct, disability accommodation, and more. Plus, hands-on workshops will allow you to leave with the tools you’ll need to succeed. And it will all be taught by FELTG Senior Instructor Barbara Haga.
Great training. Great instructor. Register now.
The program runs from 8:30 – 4:30 each day.

Instructor

Barbara Haga

Daily Agenda:

Tuesday

Leave and Attendance: Administering leave, with particular emphasis on sick leave, LWOP, and FMLA. Detailed review of sick leave provisions including authorized purposes for use of sick leave, limitations on use of sick leave for family care and bereavement, eligibility to use leave for care, notice requirements, acceptable documentation. Management actions to control use of leave and abuse of sick leave. Detailed review of FMLA provisions including eligibility to invoke FMLA, entitlement, coverage of family members, administration and notice requirements. Acceptable medical documentation under FMLA, definition of serious health condition. Substitution of paid leave. Discipline tied to FMLA. LWOP – when LWOP is mandatory, limits on granting LWOP, employee status while on extended LWOP. Other topics –issues related to annual leave and leave transfer, other leave entitlements.

Wednesday

Performance Management: Managing performance from system establishment to conducting annual appraisals to taking actions linked to performance. GEAR initiative and other efforts focused on modifying Federal performance management system. Requirements for performance plans, including design of agency systems, rating schemes, and procedures for conducting appraisals. Revised DOD performance system to be implemented in 2016. Linkage between appraisal and other personnel management decisions, including reduction-in-force and within-grade increases. Writing effective and measurable performance criteria that will withstand third-party review, including a workshop where participants will do an in-depth review of performance plans. Requirements for successful performance-based actions – from drafting a PIP notice that will withstand scrutiny to conducting a bona fide PIP to ensuring that due process is met in effecting an action on unacceptable performance.

Thursday

Misconduct and Other Related Issues: Implementation of a successful disciplinary program – delegation of authority, role of advisors, warnings and cautions, use of administrative leave. Nexus. Dealing with comparators in determining a penalty. Involuntary actions – resignations and retirements. Ordering and Offering medical examinations. Specific disciplinary situations: handling situations when an employee is unable to perform including excessive leave, disability retirement, separation disability; conduct unbecoming; misuse and technology-related misconduct; failure to meet conditions of employment.

Pricing

Early Bird Tuition (register by April 16):

  • 3 days = $1370
  • 2 days = $970
  • 1 day = $530

Standard Tuition (register April 16 – May 2):

  • 3 days = $1470
  • 2 days = $1070
  • 1 day = $630

Metro, Parking, Directions

Metro: The International Student House (1825 R Street NW) is located in convenient proximity to the Red Line. Exit Metro at the Dupont Circle station and proceed to the Q Street/North exit. Head north (you will come off the escalator facing north; if you use the elevator take a left after exiting) on Connecticut Avenue to R Street NW (approximately one block). Turn right onto R Street NW. Cross 19th Street NW and the International Student House will be on the left side of the street approximately halfway down the block. If you reach the Bikeshare dock, you’ve gone too far. Approximate walk time: 7-10 minutes.

Parking: Street parking is metered and is limited to two hours, unless you have a Washington, DC, Zone 2 parking pass. The closest parking garage is at 11 Dupont Circle, approximately two blocks from the International Student House (1825 R Street NW). Approximate walk time: 5 -7 minutes.

From the Carlyle Hotel: After exiting the Carlyle Hotel, turn left. At the first intersection, R Street NW, turn right. Proceed approximately one block. The International Student House (1825 R Street NW) will be on your right, just past the Bikeshare dock. Approximate walk time: 4-6 minutes.

May
13
Mon
Workplace Investigations Week – Denver @ Sheraton Denver West
May 13 – May 17 all-day

SOLD OUT.  Register now for this program in Washington, DC, November 4-8.

This week focuses on conducting administrative investigations in the federal workplace with a emphasis on employee misconduct. After an overview of the substantive law, participants will learn procedures and best practices for conducting investigations in the federal workplace, including planning the investigation, fact finding, collecting evidence, dealing with witnesses, understanding types of questioning, and testifying at hearing. The week concludes with a day focused on writing an investigative report.

The program runs 8:30 – 4:00 each day and is pre-approved for 29 CLE credits in Virginia and California. It is also approved for 29 HRCI general recertification credits.

This program fulfills the requirements for 32-hour EEO Investigator training and 8-hour annual EEO investigator refresher training.

Instructors

Deborah Hopkins, Katherine Atkinson, Meghan Droste

Daily Agenda

Administrative Investigations: The Substantive Basis: Why investigate; discipline law and elements; understanding charges of misconduct; collecting penalty evidence; law behind other types of administrative investigations; witness rights; union representation.

Tuesday

Harassment Investigations: Investigating allegations of harassment; differentiating between EEO and non-EEO harassment; the intersection with criminal investigations; special considerations in light of #MeToo and #TimesUp.

Wednesday

Conducting the Investigation, Part I: Evidentiary principles; purpose of investigation; preparing for the investigation; role of the investigator; planning the investigation. beginning the interview.

Thursday

Conducting the Investigation, Part II: Conducting the interview; handling difficult witnesses; assessing credibility/lies/hearing what isn’t said; body language; gathering other evidence; technology and investigations; high profile case considerations; testifying at an administrative hearing; rules for being an effective witness.

Friday

Writing the Investigative Report: Organizing for the report; establishing the chronology; writing for your audience; report writing style; report writing conventions; report organization; sample report.

Pricing

Most people attend the full training week, but you may opt out of any days you don’t plan to attend.

Early Bird Tuition (register by April 29):

  • 5 days = $2170
  • 4 days = $1780
  • 3 days = $1370
  • 2 days = $970
  • 1 day = $530

Standard Tuition (register April 30 – May 17):

  • 5 days = $2270
  • 4 days = $1880
  • 3 days = $1470
  • 2 days = $1070
  • 1 day = $630

 

Lodging

The host hotel, the Sheraton Denver West, has a limited block of rooms set aside at the per diem rate. Call the hotel directly at 303-987-2000 and mention this training event to receive the special rate.

Cancellation and No-show Policy for Registered Participants: Cancellations made after the cancel date on the registration form will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses. Pre-paid training using the “Pay Now” option will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses. No-shows will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses.

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