Employee Relations Training Courses

Instructor and two course attendees view document in hand

Attorneys, HR/ER/LR Specialists and EEO practitioners will benefit from FELTG’s Employee Relations onsite training courses. Designed to provide practical guidance to help agency employees successfully navigate the world of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and related HR topics, these courses offer training on the most current, relevant performance and conduct topics that impact federal agencies, including how to comply with President Trump’s Executive Orders as they pertain to performance management, and how to meet OPM’s deadline for streamlining procedures for handling poor performance.


 

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 an Opportunity to Demonstrate Acceptable Performance; accommodating disability-related performance problems; top three mistakes agencies routinely make; how to remove a poor performer in 31 days.


 

ER-4: Absence Management: Controlling Leave Use & Abuse (1-2 days)

Course Topics: Types of leave and leave entitlements; overviews of Family and Medical Leave Act; Office of Workers Compensation Program absences; 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: FMLA Law & Policy (1 day)

Course Topics: Federal sector 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-6: 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-7: 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 Performance Demonstration Period implementation letters.


 

ER-8: Conducting Effective Misconduct Investigations (2-3 days)

Course Topics: The principles of misconduct in the federal government; the five elements of discipline; collecting penalty evidence; criminal v. tort activity in the federal workplace; testifying at hearing; necessary evidence;  fact-finding; employee legal rights during an investigation; Privacy Act considerations.


 

ER-9: Advanced Employee Relations (3 days)

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. 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.

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 Labor Relations Training Events


Jul
20
Mon
Emerging Issues Week: The Federal Workplace’s Most Challenging Situations – Washington, DC @ International Student House (ISH) – Ella Burling Hall
Jul 20 – Jul 24 all-day

Download Registration Form

Instructors

Deborah HopkinsShana Palmieri, Katherine Atkinson, Ann Boehm

Course Description

Navigating your role in the modern federal workplace requires not just the legal knowledge, but also the practical skills to handle the most intense and challenging situations. For example, do you know what to do in the following scenarios?

  • An employee with bipolar disorder is having a manic episode in the workplace.
  • An employee threatens violence or suicide.
  • An employee claims she is being sexually harassed by one of your best performers.
  • You’ve heard reports that another manager is bullying an employee.
  • An employee is requesting leave or telework as a reasonable accommodation.
  • An employee is wasting time on social media when he is supposed to be working.

We will provide you the specific legal, practical and clinical guidance you need to reply effectively in these and many other difficult situations during our all-new Emerging Issues Week. You’ll gain the tools to better understand how to:

  • Deal with employees who have mental and behavioral health issues.
  • Handle sexual harassment and bullying claims.
  • Manage risk in your agency.
  • Handle the conflicts that take your employees off task.
  • Respond appropriately to the most challenging reasonable accommodation requests.

Daily Agenda:

Monday

Handling Behavioral Health Issues: An overview of the ADA requirements on accommodating individuals with mental impairments and other behavioral health issues; your agency’s legal obligation to provide its employees with a safe workplace; types of mental disabilities and how they may exhibit in the workplace; PTSD, substance abuse disorders; dos and don’ts when working with employees who have behavioral health issues.

Tuesday

Dealing with Threats of Violence: Handling the psychiatric emergency; legal considerations for federal agencies; dangerous scenarios during the notice period; myths and facts about targeted violence in the workplace; dealing with suicidal employees; individual characteristics that put an employee at higher risk of committing an act of violence; how to develop and implement an in-house threat management team to deal with threat assessments, risk management, and the best ways to keep employees safe during a crisis; steps to take if someone becomes violent in the workplace.

Wednesday

Harassment Allegations and Investigations: Differentiating between EEO and non-EEO harassment; protected categories; investigating harassment allegations; the intersection with criminal investigations; bullying; special considerations in light of #MeToo and #TimesUp.

Thursday

The Nontraditional Workplace: Telework, Reasonable Accommodation, and Technology Challenges: Accountability for a mobile workforce; telework or flexible schedules as reasonable accommodation; challenges with technology in the federal workplace.

Friday

Working in a Unionized Environment: What every supervisor and advisor should know about federal labor unions; collective bargaining agreements; official time; LR meetings; an overview of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute; fundamental employee, union, and management rights; unfair labor practices; controlling official time; handling information requests; the current status of the Executive Orders.

Pricing

Early Bird Tuition (register by July 6):

  • 5 days = $2190
  • 4 days = $1795
  • 3 days = $1385
  • 2 days = $980
  • 1 day = $540

Standard Tuition (register July 7 – July 24):

  • 5 days = $2290
  • 4 days = $1895
  • 3 days = $1485
  • 2 days = $1080
  • 1 day = $640

 

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.

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.

Aug
3
Mon
FLRA Law Week – Washington, DC @ International Student House
Aug 3 – Aug 7 all-day

Download Registration Form

In 2018, President Trump issued three executive orders that had a significant impact on federal labor relations. With orders regarding official time, negotiation timeframes, and union responsibilities to pay for things they never had to pay for before, this was the biggest change to rock the world of federal labor relations in years. Three months later, a D.C. District Court Court judge enjoined several parts of the EOs, stating they were illegal. The White House then appealed.. And then the summer of 2019, that District Court ruling was overturned by an Appeals Court. The Executive Orders are no longer enjoined.

Where do things stand today? Join FELTG for FLRA Law Week and we’ll bring you up to speed on what you can, cannot and should do under these EOs.

But that’s not all. Every labor attorney, labor relations specialist, and union representative in government needs to have both a firm foundation in the historical perspective and precedence of FLRA decisions, as well as a strategy for taking advantage of any new approaches that are coming out of an ever-evolving Federal Labor Relations Authority. This training week, updated to reflect the current state of the law, does just that — and with instructors who spent a combined 38 years working at the FLRA, there’s no other federal labor relations training that will give you this type of inside perspective. You won’t want to miss it.

The program runs 8:30 – 4:00 each day.

Instructors

Ann Boehm, Joe Schimansky

Daily Agenda

Monday

Basic Management and Employee Rights: An overview of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute; the current status of Executive Orders 13836 and 13837; fundamental employee, union, and management rights; bargaining unit definition; the union organizer’s role; information requests; official time.

Tuesday

Labor Relations Meetings and Bargaining: More on official time; formal discussions; union representative rights; the collective bargaining process; the three categories of bargaining: mandatory, permissive, and prohibited.

Wednesday

Unfair Labor Practices and Negotiability: What happens when the FLRA comes knocking; the anatomy of an Unfair Labor Practice;  the Federal Services Impasse Panel; negotiability appeals.

Thursday

Redress Alternatives and the Psychology of Bargaining: The interplay among grievances, appeals, MSPB, and EEOC; exceptions to arbitration awards; selecting a bargaining strategy; interest based bargaining as compared to hard ball bargaining,

Friday

Understanding Arbitration Issues: The arbitration process overview; binding the arbitrator; how federal government arbitration is different from private sector arbitration and appeals; educating the arbitrator.

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 July 20):

  • 5 days = $2190
  • 4 days = $1795
  • 3 days = $1385
  • 2 days = $980
  • 1 day = $540

Standard Tuition (register July 21-August 7):

  • 5 days = $2290
  • 4 days = $1895
  • 3 days = $1485
  • 2 days = $1080
  • 1 day = $640

 

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.

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 will not be refunded, and will not be given credit toward another course after the cancellation date on the registration form. No-shows will not be refunded or given credit toward future courses.

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