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The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keilor
TODAY'S DAILY POEM: "Ordinary Sex" by Ellen Bass)   ...   If no swan descends    in a blinding glare of plumage,    drumming the air with deafening wings,    if the earth doesn’t tremble    and rivers don’t tumble uphill,    if my mother’s crystal    vase doesn’t shatter    and no extinct species are sighted anew    and leaves of the city trees don’t applaud    ...    CONTINUED.
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Sowmya Krishnamurthy (NPR)


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"Too Busy Thinking About My Baby"



☀       August 17, 2017  ...  FLRA:    Citation# 70 FLRA 316   Issuance# 66    Case# 0-AR-5264    Arbitrator: Ross      Parties:  International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Association Administrative Law Judges (Union) and Social Security Administration, Office of Disability and Appeals Review (Agency)    Statement of the Case:   Arbitrator Jerome H. Ross denied the Union’s grievance challenging a telework memorandum issued by the Agency, finding that the grievance was not arbitrable based on the same final sentence in two telework-related sections of the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement (agreement). Specifically, the Arbitrator found that both telework provisions required telework to have been restricted before the Union could challenge the Agency’s action. The Union filed exceptions to the award.      First, we must decide whether the award fails to draw its essence from the parties’ agreement.      Second, we must decide whether the award is contrary to the Telework Enhancement Act.      (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 15, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  Dale v. Navy  ...   Mr. Dale is employed as an attorney in the Navy’s Office of General Counsel. On May 28, 2013, Mr. Dale was issued a Notice of Proposed Furlough. The May 2013 Notice stated that the Navy proposed to furlough Mr. Dale no earlier than 30 days after his receipt of the notice. It further stated that the furlough “is necessitated by the extraordinary and serious budgetary challenges facing [DoD] for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, the most serious of which is the sequester that began on March 1, 2013.” J.A. 223. On June 24, 2013, Mary Wohlgemuth, Technical Director, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (“NUWC”) Division, Newport, Rhode Island, issued to Mr. Dale a Notice of Decision to Furlough. The June 2013 Notice upheld the reasoning provided in the Notice of Proposed Furlough and required Mr. Dale to be on discontinuous furlough for up to 11 workdays between July 8, 2013 and September 30, 2013. The June 2013 Notice advised Mr. Dale of his right to appeal the Navy’s furlough decision to the Board. In July 2013, Mr. Dale filed an appeal with the Board. In August 2013, following congressional and agency budgetary action, Secretary Hagel reduced the furlough from 11 days to 6 days..  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 14, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Parties: AFGE, Defence (DLA)    Citation# 69 FLRA 567   Issuance# 65    Case# 0-AR-5166    Arbitrator: Moffett      Statement of the Case:   Arbitrator Kenneth E. Moffett issued an award (first award) in AFGE, Local 1992 ( AFGE I ) denying the Union’s grievance alleging that the Agency improperly denied the grievant’s reasonable-accommodation request. The Union filed exceptions to the Arbitrator’s award, and the Authority granted the Union’s exceptions, remanding the award to the parties for resubmission to the Arbitrator, absent settlement.           On remand, the Arbitrator reversed his original finding and issued an award (remand award) finding that the Agency “ha[d] not made an effort to find reasonable accommodations” for the grievant. The Arbitrator granted relief in the form of telework, but did not grant any monetary damages. Both parties filed exceptions to this remand award.           The Agency’s first exception argues that the award is contrary to law because the Arbitrator failed to comply with the remand instructions in AFGE I and did not cure the contrary-to-law deficiencies of the first award. Because the Arbitrator failed to make any necessary findings—and by doing so the Authority again cannot determine whether the award is contrary-to-law—we again remand the matter to the parties for resubmission to the Arbitrator—or a different one—absent settlement, for further proceedings consistent with this decision.           The Agency’s remaining exceptions and the Union’s exceptions challenge the remedy granted in the remand award. Because we are remanding this case on the merits, we will not consider them now.      (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 14, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  Licari v. Transportation  ...   Mr. Licari worked for the United States Department of Transportation (“agency”) from 2004 until his removal in March 2016. At the time of his removal, Mr. Licari was a senior transportation analyst for a division of the agency responsible for reviewing and approving oil spill response plans.         During his tenure at the agency, Mr. Licari was subject to annual performance appraisals. A July 2015 appraisal of Mr. Licari’s 2014–2015 performance resulted in an “unacceptable” rating in three job elements. See S.A. 93, 95–96. The only job element relevant to this appeal is Critical Element 4, which states that employees must “perform[] reviews of onshore pipeline oil spill response plans . . . [and] accurately follow[] review guidelines 85% of the time.” S.A. 19, 96. Each response plan required Mr. Licari to review oil operators’ answers to 38 questions. Mr. Licari accurately reviewed several of the 38 questions less than 85% of the time. For example, he correctly reviewed Question 16 only 33% of the time.         In September 2015, the agency placed Mr. Licari on a Performance Improvement Plan (“PIP”) and issued a memorandum explaining how he needed to improve his performance. S.A. 101–05. The memorandum allowed Mr. Licari 90 days “to demonstrate acceptable performance,” assigned him a mentor, and set regular check-in meetings.         The agency issued its decision to remove Mr. Licari and denied Mr. Licari’s Step 3 Grievance. The agency noted that if Mr. Licari was unsatisfied, he could proceed to arbitration through his union.   ...   Merit Systems Protection Board Decision:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 14, 2017  ...  MiCtApp:  Payment v. Transportation  ...   Plaintiff appeals by right the trial court’s grant of summary disposition in favor of defendant pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(10). This matter arose because defendant repeatedly passed plaintiff over for a promotion in favor of applicants plaintiff contends were less qualified. Plaintiff alleges that defendant discriminated against her for her depression and anxiety contrary to the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (PWDCRA), MCL 37.1101 et seq. The trial court concluded that plaintiff was not “disabled” under the PWDCRA and Michigan case law interpreting the act, and even if she was disabled, she had failed to show that defendant either relied on any such disability or retaliated against her in making its hiring decisions.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 10, 2017  ...  MSPB:  Griesbach v. DVA (Tuscaloosa, AL)  ...   BACKGROUND:    Ms. Griesbach was appointed to the position of Nurse Practitioner at the Tuscaloosa Veterans Administration (“VA”) Medical Center in August 2008. She worked in the mental health unit, treating patients admitted to the center’s homeless domiciliary unit. In September 2014, the VA announced a vacancy for the position of Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner (“CRNP”) in Research and Development Service, to which Ms. Griesbach applied. Ms. Griesbach interviewed for the position, but she was not selected. Ms. Griesbach filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”) on March 14, 2015, alleging whistleblower retaliation by the VA.     Here, Dana Griesbach appeals from a Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”) decision denying her request for corrective action pursuant to the Whistleblower Protection Act (“WPA”).   ...   Merit Systems Protection Board Decision:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 10, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Citation# 70 FLRA 309    Issuance# 64    Case# 0-AR-5258    Arbitrator: Reed      Statement of the Case:   The Union filed a grievance alleging that the Agency violated the parties’ agreement by not selecting the grievant for a position for which she applied. Arbitrator Mark L. Reed sustained the grievance, but did not award backpay under the Back Pay Act (BPA). Moreover, the Arbitrator denied the Union’s request for attorney fees.      The Union, having prevailed on the merits, argues that the Arbitrator erred by not granting the grievant backpay, and by not awarding attorney fees.      (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       August 10, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Citation# 70 FLRA 306    Issuance# 63    Case# 0-NG-3322      This matter is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal filed under § 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). The case concerns the negotiability of one proposal that reserves to the Union the right to contest lack of appropriate nurse training. The Agency filed a statement of position (statement) and the Union did not respond to the statement.     Background    The Agency notified the Union that it intended to make a change to the required competency of registered nurses (RNs) who staff the operating rooms. The Agency also employs surgical-scrub technicians who are outside this bargaining unit, and whose primary duty is to “scrub cases.” This entails assisting in the operating room by passing instruments to surgeons, retracting tissue during surgery, or performing other duties as instructed. Previous to the notice, if also qualified, RNs could perform these duties, but only if they volunteered to do so. The Agency notified the Union that following training, it would require all operating room RNs be available to do so as needed. (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 19, 2017  ...  VAOIG:  ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION – CONFLICTING INTERESTS AND MISUSE OF GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT, OVERTON BROOKS VA MEDICAL CENTER (VAMC), SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA (LA)      VA Office of Inspector General Administrative Investigations Division investigated an allegation that Dr. [xxxxxxx] (GS-14), Assistant Chief, and Ms. [xxxxxxx] (GS-12), Operations Manager, Mental Health Service (MHS), engaged in conflicting interests when they received wages, salaries, and/or profits from educational institutions that operated for profit. We also investigated whether Dr. [xxxxxxx] and Ms. misused [xxxxxxx] Government equipment in support of their outside employment activities. Further, we investigated an allegation that Ms. [xxxxxxx] (GS-6), Supervisory Medical Support Assistant, Primary Care Service (PCS), and Ms. [xxxxxxx] improperly accumulated compensatory time since August 2012 due to Dr. James Patterson (GS-15), Chief of MHS, failing to properly manage them. Finally, we investigated an allegation that Dr. [xxxxxxx] (GS-13), MHS Staff Psychologist, improperly accumulated overtime since January 2013.      Summary   Report


☀       July 18, 2017  ...  5th Cir:  Patton v. JEG  ...   COWORKERS MOCKED HIS STUTTERING AND MADE LOUD NOISES RIGHT BEHIND HIM ?   ...   Patton designs electrical and instrumentation systems. He also has an obvious stutter.         Around the time he was hired, Patton told Emily Wimbley, a Talascend recruiter, about his stuttering and anxiety problems, which he said “all go[] together.”         Patton alleges that his coworkers at Jacobs harassed him on account of his stutter. For example, coworkers would call him names such as lawnmower and bush hog (a type of lawnmower). Additionally, coworkers who passed him in the hallway or met him on the elevator would mock his stuttering, and coworkers who sat near him would mock him and make loud noises right behind him. Even his supervisor, Greg Guillory, allegedly mocked him at a department-wide meeting in front of fifty coworkers.         According to Patton, the harassment and excessive noise at Jacobs caused him to experience severe anxiety.         As a result of this stress, Patton suffered a panic attack while driving and got into a car accident on February 28, 2014.         Patton did not return to work at Jacobs after this accident.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 18, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. NTEU(union)  ...   AFGE TO NTEU: DONT MAKE ME CUT YOU !  ...   AFGE has filed an application for review of the attached decision of FLRA Regional Director Philip T. Roberts (RD).         As relevant here, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) petitioned the RD to represent the Agency’s professional employees, and submitted a sufficient showing of interest. AFGE requested that this petition be held in abeyance until AFGE’s petition to consolidate a unit of professional and nonprofessional employees at the Agency was resolved. After the RD certified the consolidated unit, he reopened NTEU’s case. AFGE objected to an election between the two unions, citing the certification bar of § 7111(f)(4) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (Statute).[1] After a hearing, an election was held and the bargaining-unit employees voted for NTEU.         In its application, AFGE argues that the RD failed to apply established law, and that, in the alternative, there is an absence of precedent on this issue.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 14, 2017  ...  Dc Ndi:  Sommerfield  v. Chicago  ...   HE WON $30,000 FOR HIS DISCRIMINATION CASE ... HIS ATTORNEY DEMANDS $1.5 MILLION IN FEES.  ...   After years of protracted litigation, a jury awarded Chicago Police Officer Detlef Sommerfield $30,000 in his workplace discrimination suit. For his efforts, Sommerfield’s lawyer requested $1.5 million in attorney’s fees, a sum the district court reduced to $430,000. Sommerfield now appeals, challenging the district court’s handling of his case and, in particular, its refusal to grant his attorney the full $1.5 million.   ...           Sommerfield has been an officer with the ChicagoPolice Department (CPD) since 1994. From 2000 to 2007 he was assigned to the Eighth District, where he worked withSergeant Lawrence Knasiak. Sommerfield is Jewish and German, which evidently bothered Knasiak.         Throughout that time Knasiak publicly made offensive remarks about Sommerfield’s ethnicity. Examples include “Jews are bloodsucking parasites” and “Germans are like niggers, couldn’t get rid of them then, can’t get rid of them now.” We will not belabor the point—Knasiak’s other comments were similarly outrageous.         Sommerfield complained, and in March 2004 CPD’s Internal Affairs Division launched an investigation of Knasiak that culminated in his suspension in April 2007. (Knasiak retired that June and so he never served this suspension.)         Sommerfield also filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which found “reasonable cause to believe that [CPD] violated Title VII by harassing [Sommerfield] based on his national origin, German, and religion, Jewish.”   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 13, 2017  ...  FedCir:  Solis v. MSPB (Homeland)  ...   EVEN THOUGH LIE DETECTORS ARE FAKE AND EASILY DEFEATED, SOME FEDS STILL USE THEM.  ...   Fernando Solis appeals the Merit Systems Protection Board’s (Board) conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction to review U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) non-selection of Mr. Solis for positions as a Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBPO) and a Border Patrol Agent (BPA).         Although CBP extended tentative offers for these law enforcement positions to Mr. Solis, it rescinded these tentative offers when he failed a polygraph examination. Generally, an unsuccessful candidate for a Federal civil service position has no right to appeal to the Board his non-selection.         However, where a hiring agency undertakes a “suitability action” that could broadly preclude hiring the candidate for any position at the agency, the candidate may appeal that action to the Board.         Mr. Solis argued below that he was subjected to an appealable “suitability action,” as defined in 5 C.F.R. § 731.203. CBP disagreed, contending that its non-selection of Mr. Solis for these two positions was simply an “objection to an eligible” under 5 C.F.R. § 332.406, which is not appealable.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 12, 2017  ...  MSPB:  TOTAL POWER v. FERC  ...   WE ARE "TOTAL POWER" SO WE DON'T GOTTA LISTEN TO NO STINKIN' GOV'T AGENCY!  ...   We are presented with a challenge to the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to adjudicate violations of the Natural Gas Act and to impose civil penalties on violators.         TOTAL Gas & Power North America, Inc., a company that trades in North American natural gas markets, and two of its trading managers brought this declaratory judgment action against the Commission arguing that the Commission was precluded from adjudicating violations or imposing civil penalties because the Natural Gas Act vests authority for those activities exclusively in federal district courts.   ...   Merit Systems Protection Board Decision:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 12, 2017  ...  FLRA:  NLRB [Prof Union] v. NLRB  ...   THESE NLRB EMPLOYEES/UNION SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES ... BUT THEY ARE NOT.  ...   This case is before the Authority on a negotiability appeal (petition) that the Union filed under § 7105(a)(2)(E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute). The petition involves the negotiability of three proposals that concern the Agency’s implementation of WebTA, an electronic timekeeping system.         The parties’ instant dispute arose when the Agency notified the Union that it intended to transition from its existing automated timekeeping system to WebTA, an electronic timekeeping system.         WebTA requires all employees to enter their own work time online and to certify the accuracy of the entry. The Union made a number of proposals concerning WebTA.         Three of those proposals would, in effect, exempt all bargaining-unit employees from their obligations under WebTA. The Agency declared those three proposals outside the duty to bargain as contrary to management’s right to assign work under § 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Statute.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 11, 2017  ...  11th Cir.:  Welcome v. Mabus   ...   DID HIS DISTRICT COURT APPEAL .. WAIVE MIXED CASE CLAIMS .. AFTER UNFAVORABLE MSPB RULING ?   ...   James Welcome appeals the District Court’s grant of the Secretary of the Navy’s motion to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, in his lawsuit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [...] and the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”).         Welcome argues that the district court erred when it dismissed his complaint on the ground that he had waived all of his claims by pursuing an appeal of those claims to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals after the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”) entered an unfavorable ruling.   ...   COURT DECISION:    (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 11, 2017  ...  9th Cir.:  Karczewski v. Dch   ...   PLAINTIFF, A PARAPLEGIC, DEMANDS USED CAR DEALER TO INSTALL HAND CONTROLS FOR A TEST DRIVE.    ...   Plaintiff “is a level T10/11 paraplegic who is paralyzed from the waist down, cannot walk, and . . . uses a wheelchair for mobility.” “He drives a specially equipped vehicle with hand controls,” and he “has a disabled persons placard . . . [and] a driver’s license.” Defendant is “a facility open to the public . . . and a business establishment” that sells cars. Defendant permits potential buyers “the opportunity to test drive vehicles that they are considering buying.”         Plaintiff visited Defendant’s business with the intention of buying a used car. He asked Defendant’s employees “for the opportunity to test drive a vehicle and informed them that he could not use his legs and, therefore, needed to have vehicle hand controls temporarily installed on the vehicle so that he could avail himself of this opportunity.” The employees told Plaintiff that Defendant “does not install vehicle hand controls on any vehicles for sale and that they would not do so for him as an accommodation.”         Following Defendant’s refusal to facilitate a test-drive, Plaintiff brought this action, alleging that Defendant’s failure to install temporary vehicle hand controls violated the ADA.        Plaintiff also alleged violations of state law.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 10, 2017   ...  DcDc:  Poole v. GPO   ...   PLAINTIFFS ARE FIFTEEN CURRENT OR RECENT AFRICAN-AMERICAN EMPLOYEES OF THE GPO.   ...   Plaintiffs are fifteen current or recent African-American employees of the GPO and the estate of a sixteenth such individual who died during the course of this litigation.         They work or worked in the GPO’s Digital Print Center, the staff of which is “exclusively African-American.” In July 2008, they contacted the GPO’s Equal Opportunity Office and subsequently filed several EEO complaints in which they alleged that “they were paid less than Caucasian employees of the GPO doing the same work because of their race.”         More specifically, the problem was that DPC employees were classified for pay-scale purposes as printing-plant workers — a lower-paid non-craft position — rather than journeymen bookbinders — a higher-paid craft position — even though their responsibilities, training, and expertise had evolved alongside advancements in technology such that “they performed the same work as higher-paid workers, more efficiently.”         “[T]he GPO refused to establish performance standards and update [its] antiqu[ated] job descriptions,” which Plaintiffs contend was based on race.         Shortly after Plaintiffs filed their pay-discrimination EEO complaints, they began to experience what they argue was retaliatory harassment at work.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 05, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Air Force v. NAIL (union)  ...   WAS THE ARBITRATOR'S AWARD CONTRARY TO LAW ?  ...   Statement of the Case:    The Union filed a grievance alleging that the Agency unlawfully required Air Reserve Technicians (ARTs), who are members of the Air Force Reserve, to wear military uniforms while performing civilian duties. The Agency contended that this requirement was authorized under 10 U.S.C. § 772(j)(2) which, according to the Agency, allows it to require ARTs to wear military uniforms even when they are not on active military duty. Arbitrator Ellen S. Saltzman rejected the Agency’s contention and found that requiring ARTs to wear military uniforms when they are not on active duty is contrary to law.         The question before us is whether the award is contrary to law.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       July 05, 2017  ...  MSPB:  Special Counsel v. Navy  ...   WAS NAVY'S DECISION TO REINSTATE MR. SCHWARZ’S REMOVAL WHISTLE-BLOWER RETALIATION ?  ...   OSC alleges that Mr. Schwarz made disclosures beginning in September 2013 through his chain of command and in a disclosure complaint to OSC on June 9, 2015, that employees were improperly testing aircraft fueling equipment and fuel and improperly and hazardously disposing of jet fuel.         OSC states that, after it referred Mr. Schwarz’s disclosures for further investigation to the Secretary of the Navy, an investigation by the Navy Inspector General substantiated the disclosures.                 In its June 28, 2017 stay request, OSC alleges that it has reasonable grounds to believe that on June 8, 2017, the Department of the Navy (Navy) reinstated Mr. Schwarz’s removal, which previously had been held in abeyance pursuant to a settlement agreement, as a result of a prohibited personnel practice.   ...   Merit Systems Protection Board Decision:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 30, 2017  ...  DcDc:  SAMUEL v. MPD  ...   I'M A VICTIM BECAUSE I'M FEMALE & CANADIAN & MPD DIDN'T LIFT A HAND STOP MY VISA FROM EXPIRING.  ...   This is a case where there simply is no “there” there. Ms. Laurie Samuel was forced to resign from the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department because her visa expired and she could not obtain permanent residency status. Ms. Samuel claims that her employer, through human resources director Ms. Diane Haines-Walton, withheld information from her that would have given her the opportunity to apply for a visa extension, which would allow her to continue working in the United States.         Neither side disputes that Ms. Samuel was threatened with termination and that it would have been illegal for the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to continue to employ her. Understandably frustrated, Ms. Samuel contends that her resignation was the inevitable consequence of Ms.         Haines-Walton’s sabotage of her visa application, a sabotage Ms. Samuel asserts was carried out because she is from Canada and because she complained about Ms. Haines-Walton’s discriminatory treatment.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 28, 2017  ...  FLRA:  SATCO v. AirForce  ...   THE ANSWER IS NO.  ...   Sport Air Traffic Controllers Organization (Union)      United States Department of the Air Force, Edwards Air Force Base, California (Agency):    The Agency denied the grievant’s reimbursement request for medical expenses related to maintaining his air-traffic-controller certification. The Union filed a grievance alleging, in part, that the reimbursement denial is contrary to a government-wide regulation. Arbitrator Richard B. Danehy denied the grievance. The main question before us is whether the award is contrary to law because, according to the Union, an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulation, 5 C.F.R. § 339.304, requires the Agency to reimburse employees for certain medical tests.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 28, 2017  ...  VAOIG:   Review of Alleged Mismanagement of VHA's Patient Transportation Service Contract for the Jesse Brown VAMC in Chicago, IL        Summary: In March 2015, the Office of Inspector General received an allegation of mismanagement of the patient transportation service contract for the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Chicago, IL, which resulted in a waste of funds. We substantiated the allegation of contract mismanagement. Specifically, the Great Lakes Acquisition Center (GLAC) contracting officer (CO) did not adequately validate performance requirements to determine the required quantity of transportation trips. The CO did not adequately determine price reasonableness or fully fund the contract prior to obligating the Government.    SUMMARY: (.html)       REPORT: (.pdf)

☀       June 28, 2017  ...  VAOIG:   Review of Alleged Irregular Use of Purchase Cards by VHA’s Engineering Service at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin, Georgia       Summary: The Office of Inspector General conducted this review in response to allegations that Dublin VA Medical Center (VAMC) purchase cardholders split purchases and made duplicate payments to Ryland Contracting Incorporated and Sterilizer Technical Specialists. We substantiated the allegation that VAMC Dublin cardholders in Engineering Service made unauthorized commitments by splitting purchases and exceeding micro purchase limits. Of 130 sampled purchases made from October 2012 through March 2015, 23 were split purchases that avoided the $3,000 limit for supplies and 14 were purchases that exceeded the $2,500 limit for service.    SUMMARY: (.html)       REPORT: (.pdf)

☀       June 23, 2017  ...  VAOIG:  ADMINISTRATIVE INVESTIGATION MISUSE OF OFFICIAL TIME AND FAILURE TO PROPERLY SUPERVISE VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA.      ISSUE 1: DR. [REDACTED] Made False Claims And Was Dually Compensated When He Certified And Submitted Va Subsidiary Timecards For Hours He Worked At Jhu.                 ISSUE 2: Dr. [REDACTED] Misused His Official Time By Performing Non-Va Duties On Va Time And For Teleworking Without Authorization                 ISSUE 3: Dr. [REDACTED] Frequently Travelled To Participate In Non-Va Sanctioned Events While Claiming Va Hours On His Timecard.                 ISSUE 4: Dr. Comp Failed To Properly Supervise Dr. [REDACTED] And Certified His Timecards Without Verifying Dr. [REDACTED] Worked The Hours For Va.      Summary   Report (.pdf)


☀       June 22, 2017  ...  IA.CT.APP:  Tibodeau v. CDI  ...   THE JURY FOUND TIBODEAU WAS CONSTRUCTIVELY DISCHARGED.  ...   Plaintiff Brittney Tibodeau sued her former employer, CDI, LLC (hereinafter “CDI”), and her former supervisor at CDI, David Monoit, for sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation.         Tibodeau worked at CDI in Forest City in 2013. During the summer of that year, Tibodeau took leave for a medical issue. While on leave, Tibodeau attempted suicide. She was treated for depression and anxiety and returned to work.         The workplace was hostile. Tibodeau’s coworkers discussed her body in offensive terms, called her derogatory names, started a rumor she was having an affair with another employee, looked at a nude photo of her, displayed provocative photos of women throughout the work area, made phallic shapes out of tape, made humping motions behind her when she bent over, discussed the intimate hygiene practices of a female coworker, made sexually suggestive jokes, discussed pornography, made comments about raping women and children, and threw balled-up tape at Tibodeau’s breasts and backside. As a result of this conduct, Tibodeau terminated her employment with CDI after her boyfriend, who also worked at CDI, was fired.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 21, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. ARMY  ...   ANOTHER GOOD-FOR-NOTHING FED UNION WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY INTERFERING WITH MGMT DECISIONS.  ...   Statement of the Case: Arbitrator Joe M. Harris Jr. issued an award denying the Union’s non-selection grievance on the merits. He found that the Agency did not violate the parties’ agreement, Policy Memorandum CG-50 (CG-50), or any other law, policy, rule, or regulation when the Agency selected two individuals for two supervisory positions.         Specifically, the Arbitrator found that the Union’s numerous factual challenges to the selection process failed to meet the Union’s burden of demonstrating that, but for these violations and incongruities, the grievant would have been selected. The Union filed exceptions.         First, we must decide whether the award is contrary to 5 C.F.R. § 335.103. The Union argues that since the selectee was not qualified to be on the certificate of eligibles, management did not select from among properly ranked and certified candidates for promotion.         Second, we must decide whether the award fails to draw its essence from Article 19 of the parties’ agreement.         Third, we must decide whether the award is based on nonfacts.         Fourth, we must decide whether the Arbitrator was biased. The Union states that the Arbitrator may have been biased against it because the Union alleges it contacted the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) after the award was more than five months overdue.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 19, 2017  ...  DOJ.OIG:  IF YOU ARE GONNA BE AN SES SLEAZE, MAKE SURE YOU HIT ALL THE "INAPPROPRIATE" BASES.       INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY: Findings Concerning Improper Hiring Practices, Inappropriate Interactions with Subordinates and a Contractor, and False Statements by a Senior Executive with the Executive Office for Immigration Review         The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation of a senior executive with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).         The OIG found that the executive engaged in improper hiring practices when, on seven separate occasions, the executive disregarded merit system principles to hire close friends and associates as DOJ employees or DOJ contract personnel over applicants with superior qualifications for the positions.         The OIG also found that the executive initiated and approved the promotion of a friend before the individual was eligible for promotion, nominated a friend for a monetary award without sufficient justification, and promoted a friend who lacked qualifications for the position.         In addition, the OIG found that the executive maintained an inappropriate personal relationship with a subordinate, and solicited and accepted gifts and donations from subordinates, in violation of federal statutes and regulations, and DOJ policy.      Summary (.pdf)


☀       June 19, 2017  ...  D.C. Cir.:  Lee v. AID  ...   THEY FIRED ME BECAUSE I'M CHINESE.  ...   Jim Lee, proceeding pro se, appeals the grant of the motion for judgment on the pleadings to the USAID and NOAA. Lee contends that the agencies violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act[...], by terminating his employment because of his national origin.         According to the complaint, Lee was employed by a federal contracting firm and worked at USAID from 2008 until he was fired in 2013. Lee alleges that USAID terminated his employment after the Department of Defense denied his application for a security clearance in 2012, and that he was denied a clearance because he and his family are from China.         He also contends that NOAA violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which criminalizes false statements to the government, by lying about why he was terminated.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 15, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir.:  McDermott v. USPS  ...   THE PETITIONER CHALLENGES THE POSTAL SERVICE'S DECISION TO PLACE HIM ON ENFORCED LEAVE.   ...   Mr. McDermott was a maintenance mechanic at the Seattle Priority Mail Annex. His position involves “trouble-shooting and complex maintenance work throughout the system of mail processing equipment,” and performing “preventative maintenance inspections of mail processing equipment, building and building equipment. The position is technically and physically demanding, and requires the “ability to distinguish colors.”         After his employer instituted a color-coded system to track maintenance operations, Mr. McDermott disclosed that he was colorblind. Even though the use of the color-coded system ceased due to Mr. McDermott’s objections, Mr. McDermott’s superiors expressed concerns as to whether Mr. McDermott could safely perform his job, which included working with colored electric wiring for buildings and machinery.         Thus, USPS attempted to engage Mr. McDermott in an established reasonable accommodation and light duty process to address the issue. Mr. McDermott, however, did not respond to these attempts.         Mr. McDermott reportedly stated that he did not want to participate in the reasonable accommodation process or go on light duty because of his belief that another employee was fired on light duty.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 14, 2017  ...  10th Cir:  Jones v. Price  ...   THIS IS A TYPICAL AGE DISCRIMINATION CASE.  ...   HHS issued vacancy announcements for seven positions with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Three of the positions were for Public Health Advisors, and four were for Health Communications Specialists. Each position required one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-11 or GS-12 level, defined as experience that had equipped the applicant to successfully perform the duties of the position.         Mr. Jones, who was sixty-four years old at the time, submitted an online application for each of the seven positions. Human Resources (HR) specialists concluded that he was not a qualified applicant because he lacked the required year of specialized experience. As a result, Mr. Jones’s name was not forwarded to the selecting official for any of the positions.         Mr. Jones filed a complaint of employment discrimination with HHS, alleging that the non-referrals were due to age discrimination.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 13, 2017  ...  FedCir:  Whittaker v. DVA  ...   IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, HAS ANYONE EVER SURVIVED A 3 YEAR LAST CHANCE AGREEMENT ?.  ...   Ms. Whittaker worked as a Clinical Dietetic Technician at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.         In 2014, Ms. Whittaker received a notice of proposed removal for providing inaccurate information.         The Notice stated that Ms. Whittaker represented to the VA that she was employed part-time as an instructor at a university, allowing her to maintain a flexible work schedule at the VA, when she actually had not been employed at the university for over a decade.         After a deciding official at the VA sustained the removal, Ms. Whittaker and the VA entered into a last chance settlement agreement (“LCA”) to allow Ms. Whittaker to continue her employment at the VA.         The LCA placed a number of restrictions on Ms. Whittaker’s employment given Ms. Whittaker’s prior actions. In relevant part, the LCA provided that if Ms. Whittaker “fails to comply with any term of th[e LCA], on even one occasion during the three (3) calendar years from the date of th[e LCA], the original removal will be reinstated.”         Further, the LCA provided that any offense punishable under the VA’s Table of Penalties would be grounds for reinstatement of the removal.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 13, 2017  ...  4th Cir:  EEOC v. CONSOL  ...   CONSOL REFUSED TO ACCOMMODATE BUTCHER’S RELIGIOUS OBJECTION.  ...   For 37 years, Beverly R. Butcher, Jr. worked without incident as a coal miner at the Robinson Run Mine, owned by appellant Consol Energy, Inc. But when Consol implemented a biometric hand scanner to track its employees, Butcher, a devout evangelical Christian, informed his supervisors that his religious beliefs prevented him from using the system. And although Consol was providing an alternative to employees who could not use the hand scanner for non-religious reasons, it refused to accommodate Butcher’s religious objection.         Forced to choose between his religious commitments and his continued employment, Butcher retired under protest.         The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued on behalf of Butcher, alleging that Consol violated Title VII by constructively discharging Butcher instead of accommodating his religious beliefs.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 12, 2017  ...  6th Cir:  EEOC v. UPS  ...   EEOC REQUESTS INFORMATION ABOUT HOW UPS STORED AND DISCLOSED EMPLOYEE MEDICAL INFORMATION ... UPS OPPOSES THE SUBPOENA.  ...   This case concerns the scope of evidence that Plaintiff-Appellee Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) may obtain in investigating charges of discrimination.         Sinisa Matovski, an operations manager for Defendant- Appellant United Parcel Service, Inc. (“UPS”) who has a disability, filed an EEOC charge claiming that UPS discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).         In particular, Matovski claims that UPS published confidential medical information about him and other employees on its intranet page.         The EEOC began an investigation into Matovski’s claims, which resulted in a subpoena that requested information about how UPS stored and disclosed employee medical information.         UPS opposed the subpoena, claiming that the requested information was irrelevant to Matovski’s charge. This resulted in the EEOC filing an application to enforce the subpoena.         The district court granted the application, and UPS has appealed.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 9, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir:  Tartaglia v.  DVA  ...   BECAUSE THE MSPB ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT UPHELD MR. TARTAGLIA’S REMOVAL, WE VACATE AND REMAND..  ...   Mr. Tartaglia served as a Supervisory Security Officer and the Chief of Police at the VA’s Veterans Administration Medical Center in Hampton, Virginia.         The VA proposed Mr. Tartaglia’s removal based on three charges, some with multiple specifications: (1) “Abuse of Authority” (six specifications);    (2) “Lack of Candor” (two specifications); and    (3) “Misuse of Government Property” (one specification).         The VA’s deciding official rejected Charge 3 as unsubstantiated, sustained Charge 1 based on five of the six specifications and Charge 2 based on both specifications, and removed Mr. Tartaglia from service.         Mr. Tartaglia subsequently appealed to the MSPB.         In an initial decision, an administrative judge (“AJ”) affirmed Mr. Tartaglia’s removal.                 Petitioner Mark J. Tartaglia appeals a final order of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”). , which upheld his removal from employment with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (“the VA”).         BECAUSE THE MSPB ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT UPHELD MR. TARTAGLIA’S REMOVAL, WE VACATE AND REMAND.   ...   THIS COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)      THE MSPB DECISION THAT SUSTAINED THE REMOVAL:   Tartaglia v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, No. DC-0752-14-1108-I-1,(M.S.P.B. May 5, 2016)        


☀       June 9, 2017  ...  FLRA:  FAA v. PAACE  ...   DID FAA VIOLATE THE PARTIES’ COLLECTIVE-BARGAINING AGREEMENT (AGREEMENT)  ...   Statement of the Case:    Arbitrator Stephen Crable found that the Agency violated the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement (agreement) when it failed to fully counsel the grievant, prior to his acceptance of a term instructor position at the FAA Academy, of his return rights, benefits, and obligations. After the parties were unable to reach an agreeable remedy, the Arbitrator directed the Agency to reinstate the grievant’s original level of pay retention, thereby adjusting his pay to the amount as it existed immediately prior to the grievant’s acceptance of the instructor position.         The first question is whether the Arbitrator exceeded his authority when he found that the Agency violated Article 49, Section 5.B.4 of the agreement (Section 5) because this issue was allegedly not submitted to arbitration.         The second question is whether the Arbitrator’s remedy of restoration to the original level of pay‑retention protection is contrary to agency-wide regulation.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 8, 2017  ...  FedCir:  Wilson v. Agriculture  ...   DID THE USDA BREACH THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT ?  ...   After Mr. Wilson was removed from his position as a Processor with the USDA’s Rural Housing Service, he filed a Board appeal challenging his removal.         While his appeal was pending, Mr. Wilson and the USDA entered into a settlement agreement that resolved Mr. Wilson’s Board appeal and two separate equal employment opportunity claims. The settlement agreement required the USDA to: (1) support Mr. Wilson’s disability retirement application with the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”); (2) permit Mr. Wilson to voluntarily resign, effective the date of his removal; and (3) pay Mr. Wilson $5,000.         The administrative judge entered the settlement agreement and dismissed the appeal.         Approximately six months later, Mr. Wilson filed a petition for enforcement of the settlement agreement. He argued the USDA breached the agreement in four ways:   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 7, 2017  ...  NEWS:  WORKPLACE VIOLENCE ... A REGULAR, ALL-AMERICAN (NON-TERRORIST) KILLS 5 EMPLOYEES AT FORMER WORKPLACE      Millions of Americans breathed a sigh of relief when they learned that the killer was not Muslim or foreign born.


☀       June 5, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir.:  Kitlinski v. MSPB (DEA)  ...   DEA DENIED MY TRANSFER REQUEST BECAUSE I LIKE TO FILE COMPLAINTS.  ...   During the period at issue in this case, Mr. Kitlinski was employed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. He was assigned to the DEA’s field office in San Diego. At the same time, Mr. Kitlinski served as a reservist in the United States Coast Guard. In 2011, he was recalled to active duty in the Coast Guard, and for an extended period he served full-time at the Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.         Mr. Kitlinski has had several run-ins with the DEA. At the time of the events at issue in this case, Mr. Kitlinski had two USERRA complaints and an equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) complaint pending against that agency. His USERRA complaints were based on the DEA’s responses to his requests to be transferred from the DEA’s San Diego field office to either the Washington, D.C., field office or DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where Mr. Kitlinski’s wife worked.         His EEO complaint alleged that the agency had unreasonably denied his request for a transfer and had failed to select him for two positions in DEA’s Washington, D.C., Division. He alleged that the denial of his transfer request and his non-selection for the two Washington positions was the product of sex discrimination.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 5, 2017  ...  10th Cir:  Hiatt v. Colorado Seminary  ...   WAS IT A CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE OR NOT ?  ...   The Demotion Decision:     On February 22, 2013, Dr. Hiatt met with Dr. Kent and Dr. Palmateer. Dr. Kent         presented Dr. Hiatt with three options: (1) resign; (2) be demoted and undergo six months of outside counseling about her supervisory style; or (3) remain in her position and allow Human Resources (“HR”) to handle the matter.         Dr. Kent and Dr. Palmateer explained they were presenting these options because:     (1) a “majority” of trainees refused to be supervised by Dr. Hiatt and she had lost “credibility and authority in their view”;     (2) her conduct posed a “grey ethical issue,” and a Training Director needed to display “exemplary ethics, boundaries, and professionalism”; and     (3) her “approach to therapy and supervision requires a strict adherence to boundaries which weren’t demonstrated in this situation” and her response to the students’ reactions showed a “lack of personal responsibility.”         On February 27, 2013, before Dr. Hiatt chose an option, her attorney sent DU a letter claiming DU’s request for Dr. Hiatt to leave her position as Training Director amounted to sex discrimination.         On March 4, 2013, Dr. Hiatt accepted the second option—demotion.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 2, 2017  ...  VAOIG:  REVIEW OF ALLEGED MISMANAGEMENT OF VA'S HUMAN RESOURCES AND ADMINISTRATION CONTRACT FUNDS:   VA Paid Nearly 4 Million Dollars For A Software Product, But Withheld 3 Thousand Dollars To Make It Functional.    Summary   Report


☀       June 2, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir.:  Swartwoudt v. Homeland  ...   TSA SUPERVISOR REMOVED FOR INAPPROPRIATE CONDUCT.  ...   Beginning in April 2013, Allen L. Swartwoudt was employed as a Transportation Security Inspector Explosive Detection Canine Handler with the Transportation Security Administration (“Agency”).         Swartwoudt was assigned as a team leader over three other Transportation Security Inspectors.         Effective February 7, 2014, the Agency removed Swartwoudt based on a charge of inappropriate conduct. The charged inappropriate conduct included outbursts directed at management, co-workers, and members of the public that served as volunteers         Allen L. Swartwoudt petitions for review of a final order of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”) sustaining his removal and denying his whistleblower retaliation affirmative defense.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       June 1, 2017  ...  FLRA:  SSA v. AFGE  ...   ARBITRATOR FOUND THAT SSA VIOLATED THE PARTIES’ COLLECTIVE-BARGAINING AGREEMENT. HERE, SSA CHALLENGES THE AWARD.   ...   Arbitrator David P. Clark sustained a grievance and found that the Agency violated the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement (agreement) when it delegated the grievance-reviewing authority of a step 3 official to a deciding official on the same level of authority as a step 2 official. As a remedy, the Arbitrator ordered the Agency to cease this practice.         The Agency challenges the award on two grounds. The first question is whether the award is contrary to law because it allegedly excessively interferes with management’s right to assign work under § 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute).         Second, the Agency argues that the award fails to draw its essence from the agreement. The Agency argues [...]   ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 31, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Update to Fiscal Year 2017 Prevailing Rate Pay Adjustments


☀       May 31, 2017  ...  Supreme Court:  L.A. v. Mendez  ...   A WARRANTLESS ENTRY CLAIM, A KNOCK-AND-ANNOUNCE CLAIM, AND AN EXCESSIVE FORCE CLAIM.   ...   The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department received word from a confidential informant that a potentially armed and dangerous parolee-at-large had been seen at a certain residence.         While other officers searched the main house, Deputies Conley and Pederson searched the back of the property where, unbeknownst to the deputies, respondents Mendez and Garcia were napping inside a shack where they lived. Without a search warrant and without announcing their presence, the deputies opened the door of the shack. Mendez rose from the bed, holding a BB gun that he used to kill pests. Deputy Conley yelled, “Gun!” and the deputies immediately opened fire, shooting Mendez and Garcia multiple times. Officers did not find the parolee in the shack or elsewhere on the property.         Mendez and Garcia sued Deputies Conley and Pederson and the County [...] pressing three Fourth Amendment claims: a warrantless entry claim, a knock-and-announce claim, and an excessive force claim.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 31, 2017  ...  Supreme Court:  Impression Products v. Lexmark  ...   SUPREME COURT RULES LEXMARK SALES EXHAUSTED PATENT RIGHTS DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY.   ...   Respondent Lexmark International, Inc. designs, manufactures, and sells toner cartridges to consumers in the United States and abroad. It owns a number of patents that cover components of those cartridges and the manner in which they are used.         When Lexmark sells toner cartridges, it gives consumers two options: One option is to buy a toner cartridge at full price, with no restrictions. The other op- tion is to buy a cartridge at a discount through Lexmark’s “Return Program.” In exchange for the lower price, customers who buy through the Return Program must sign a contract agreeing to use the cartridge only once and to refrain from transferring the cartridge to anyone but Lexmark.         Companies known as remanufacturers acquire empty Lexmark toner cartridges—including Return Program cartridges—from purchasers in the United States, refill them with toner, and then resell them. They do the same with Lexmark cartridges that they acquire from purchasers overseas and import into the United States. Lexmark sued a number of these remanufacturers, including petitioner Impression Products, Inc., for patent infringement.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 26, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir.:  Gordon v. OPM  ...   THE REASONS SET FORTH BELOW, WE REVERSE:  ...   Petitioner Samuel Gordon appeals the final order of the Merits Systems Protection Board (“the Board”) affirming a decision of the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”).         The Board concluded that Gordon failed to prove that the recovery of his overpaid benefits from the Federal Employee Retirement System (“FERS”) would be against equity and good con- science.         FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH BELOW, WE REVERSE.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 23, 2017  ...      FORBES:   "NEW SURFACE PRO IS THE TRUE CROWN JEWEL OF THE SURFACE LINE      The new Surface Pro is faster than the previous models. It comes with 7th-generation Intel Core processors—either the m3, i5 or i7 depending on the model you choose. A fan-less design makes this the quietest Surface yet, and Microsoft has managed to improve battery performance by 50 percent—resulting in 13.5 hour battery life."   FORBES    Also:  TheVerge   ...   Engadget

☀       May 22, 2017  ...  FLRA:  HOMELAND v. AFGE  ...   PLEASE AMEND YOUR CERTIFICATION TO REFLECT A CHANGE IN AFFILIATION ...  ...   The Incumbent Union petitioned Federal Labor Relations Authority Regional Director Richard S. Jones (RD) to amend its certification to reflect a change in affiliation to the Interested Party. In the attached decision, the RD found that it had been appropriate to place the petition in abeyance, pending the Department of Labor investigation of the Intervenor’s trusteeship, as he could not presume that the trusteeship was valid. He then found that in light of an agreement reached later between the Intervenor and the Department of Labor, it was appropriate to process the Incumbent Union’s petition. The RD granted the petition, finding that the Incumbent Union had appropriately followed the procedures for effectuating a change in affiliation outlined in Veterans Administration Hospital, Montrose, New York (Montrose),[1] and upheld by the Authority in Florida National Guard, St. Augustine, Florida.         In its application for review, the Intervenor argues that the RD made three errors. First, the Intervenor contends that the RD committed a clear and prejudicial error concerning a substantial factual matter by failing to dismiss the petition because the officers of the Incumbent Union lacked standing. Second, the Intervenor argues that the RD committed a prejudicial procedural error by failing to share with the Intervenor, during the investigation, documents and information relied on in his decision. Third, the Intervenor contends that the RD failed to apply established law. Specifically, the Intervenor argues that the RD exceeded his authority and misinterpreted and failed to apply U.S. EPA, Washington, D.C. (EPA).  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 18, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Homeland v. NTEU  ...   DID THE ARBITRATOR'S AWARD VIOLATE THE AGENCY’S RIGHT TO ASSIGN WORK ?  ...   Arbitrator Patrick Halter found that the Agency violated the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement when some employees were not included in certain overtime-assignment pools after the Agency determined those employees were not qualified for overtime pools in work units where the employees had already worked. The Arbitrator directed the Agency to stop violating the parties’ agreement and to pay affected employees backpay for missed overtime opportunities.         The question before us is whether the award violates the Agency’s right to assign work, under § 7106(a)(2)(B) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), by requiring the Agency to consider employees qualified for overtime pools based on their prior work experiences.   ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 16, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Continued Pay Freeze for Certain Senior Political Officials


☀       May 15, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  Shu v. MSPB  ...   I WON MY REEMPLOYMENT CASE ... THEN THEY FIRED ME FOR ANOTHER REASON.  ...   Mr. Shu began working for the United States Postal Service as a Part-Time Flexible Letter Carrier in March 2002. In 2003, he suffered a compensable injury, after which he was absent from work and removed by the agency without leave for irregular attendance/absence.         Mr. Shu requested reinstatement in March 2009 and ultimately returned to duty as a Full-Time Letter Carrier in November 2010. After multiple appeals and remands, the Administrative Judge (“AJ”) in Mr. Shu’s case ordered that the Postal Service provide Mr. Shu service credit for the entire period of absence, from December 12, 2003 to November 6, 2010.         The AJ’s initial decision became the final decision of the Board on October 30, 2014. Mr. Shu later filed a petition for enforcement challenging the Postal Service’s compliance with the decision in Shu B-2, which as of December 21, 2016, is still pending before the Board.         On September 27, 2013, the Postal Service issued Mr. Shu an Emergency Placement in Off-Duty Status letter for failure to report a September 21, 2013 vehicle accident involving an agency vehicle and a privately owned vehicle.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 15, 2017  ...  DcDc:  ARNOLD,  v. Robert Speer (Acting Secretary of the Army)  ...   WAS HE UNFAIRLY DEPRIVED OF A PROMOTION AND CONSTRUCTIVELY DISCHARGED ?  ...   Pro se Plaintiff Marvin Arnold worked as a social worker for the U.S. Army. He brought this action under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, alleging principally that he was unfairly deprived of a promotion and constructively discharged.         Plaintiff has worked overseas for many years as a family-advocacy-program therapist on behalf of the Army, most recently in Germany. He “had to deal with persistent Age Discrimination throughout his tenure from June, 2009 through October, 2013.”         More specifically, “Plaintiff applied many times for promotional opportunities and simple lateral transfer to other jobs but the Age and Race Discrimination were profound in the supervisory chain.”         Plaintiff’s central allegation focuses on his non-selection for the position of Supervisory Social Worker in Vilseck, Germany.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 12, 2017  ...  Sixth Cir:  Savage v. FedEx  ...   I THOUGHT THE "FREE SHIPPING" WAS A COOL "UNLIMITED" PERK.  ...   Kenneth Savage worked as a Senior Aircraft Mechanic at FedEx’s Memphis hub.         FedEx allowed employees, their spouses, and dependents to utilize shipping services at a reduced rate, though this discount could not be used for any type of commercial benefit or commercial purpose not related to FedEx Express, or for any commercial enterprise or business, either non-profit or for-profit.         FedEx routinely investigates whether employees abuse their shipping privileges. FedEx records revealed that Savage used his reduced-rate shipping discount 90 times between March and August, and appeared on FedEx’s audit for this high volume of shipments.         Patricia Williams, a FedEx security specialist, investigated Savage’s use of the discount. At the end of the interview, Savage was suspended with pay pending investigation.         Savage submitted a statement expressing his belief that his use of the policy had been for a permissible purpose under the FedEx policy in place prior to September 2.         Patricia Williams concluded that Savage had violated the shipping policy by selling merchandise and using his discount to ship the items to buyers. Savage was terminated on September 20. .  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 11, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. NAVY  ...   UNION: HEY, THE ARBITRATOR ERRED. WE WANT OUR ATTORNEY FEES !  ...   The Agency suspended an employee (the grievant) for fourteen days because of an altercation with another employee. In an initial award (the merits award), Arbitrator Joseph F. Gentile reduced the grievant’s suspension to two days, and awarded backpay. In a subsequent award (the fee award), the Arbitrator denied the Union’s petition for attorney fees.         The sole issue before us is whether the fee award is contrary to law because it does not contain specific findings on each of the pertinent statutory requirements for attorney fees under the Back Pay Act (the Act).  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 10, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir.:  Helman v. DVA  ...   THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT TOSSES FORMER PHOENIX VA HEALTH CARE SYSTEM DIRECTOR A LIFELINE.  ...   Sharon M. Helman, the former Director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, appeals a decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB” or “Board”). The Deputy Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) removed Ms. Helman from her position under 38 U.S.C. § 713, and a MSPB administrative judge subsequently affirmed her removal. Ms. Helman sought review from the full Board.         Ms. Helman was the Director of the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System, which is operated by the DVA. On November 10, 2014, Deputy Secretary Gibson notified Ms. Helman in writing of a pending action to remove her from federal service pursuant to § 707 (codified at 38 U.S.C. § 713). The Deputy Secretary identified a number of charges of “misconduct that warrant[ed] removal from federal service.” The charges included: (1) Lack Of Oversight, (2) Conduct Unbecoming A Senior Executive, (3) And Failure To Report Gifts. Ms. Helman had “five business days after receipt of th[e] notice to submit a written response showing why the charges [we]re unfounded and any other reasons why [her] removal should not be effected.” She timely responded through counsel. On November 24, 2014, Deputy Secretary Gibson notified Ms. Helman that, after “carefully consider[ing] [he]r written reply and the evidence,” he had “decided to remove [her] from federal service effective immediately.” Ms. Helman appealed her removal to the MSPB.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 5, 2017  ...  VAOIG:  LOTS OF WASHINGTON VA OFFICIALS IN HOT WATER BASED ON THIS IG REPORT: "Healthcare Inspection - Patient Safety Concerns at the Washington DC VA Medical Center, Washington, DC" Summary   Report


☀       May 4, 2017  ...  DcDc:  Moore v. Castro  ...   IS DISCRIMINATION REALLY AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE ?  ...   A brief summary here will suffice. In 2014, Moore was selected as a finalist for the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) by the Office of Personnel Management. The PMF program is a two-year fellowship that serves as an entrance to federal employment for certain individuals with advanced degrees. In March 2014, Moore interviewed with HUD at a job fair where agencies could recruit and hire PMF finalists. That interview led to a job offer for a role that Moore believed was a “management position” overseeing housing grants and vouchers in the Fort Worth, Texas, regional office.         When Moore started the job in April 2014, he was dismayed to learn that his role was that of a building inspector, rather than a manager. Much to his frustration, he saw other PMF employees with less education and management experience assigned to higher paying positions. Moore believes that HUD intentionally discriminated against him by fraudulently “deceiv[ing] him into believing that he would be offered a legitimate Presidential Management Fellow position, and then pushing him into a worse role once he arrived. And he believes this discrimination campaign continued once he was on the job. He argues that other PMF employees at HUD—in particular, employees who were female, not African American, or were younger—were treated better than he was.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 4, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  Wallace v. Army  ...   A SEQUESTRATION FURLOUGH CASE.  ...   In a May 2013 memorandum, the Secretary of De- fense directed managers within DoD to implement a furlough program and to prepare to furlough most civilian employees for up to 11 days during fiscal year 2013.         Petitioner Michael A. Wallace (“Wallace”) appeals the final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“the Board”) affirming the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ (“USACE” or “the agency”) decision to furlough him for six days in 2013, as part of the sequestration furloughs that affected the entire Department of Defense (“DoD”).   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 3, 2017  ...  DcDc:  Koch v. White (SEC)  ...   WAS HIS TERMINATION DUE TO SEC DISCRIMINATION -OR- DO TO HIS MISCONDUCT ?  ...   Plaintiff, formerly employed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), claims to suffer from several medical conditions, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes, a clotting disorder, gout, sleep apnea, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, circadian rhythm disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and arthritis in his foot. Because of these medical conditions, Plaintiff found it difficult to come to work on time, or at all.         Plaintiff filed administrative complaints alleging that, by failing to provide him a reasonable accommodation for his disability and terminating his employment, Defendant Mary Jo White, acting in her official capacity as Chairwoman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, discriminated against him based on his disability, age, and religion and retaliated against him for engaging in protected activity.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       May 2, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. SSA  ...   DID THE ARBITRATOR EXCEED HIS AUTHORITY ?  ...   The Union filed exceptions to Arbitrator Raymond L. Britton’s award, which denied the Union’s grievance alleging that a bargaining-unit employee violated the parties’ agreement by acting inappropriately towards the grievant during a workplace dispute. We must decide three substantive questions.     First, we must decide whether the doctrine of collateral estoppel bars the Union from bringing its exceptions ...     Second, we must decide whether the award is based on a nonfact because the Arbitrator erred ...     Third, we must decide whether the Arbitrator exceeded his authority by failing to resolve an issue that was before him.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 27, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. HOMELAND  ...   SLIM PICKINGS.  ...   This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Luella E. Nelson filed by the Union under § 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority’s Regulations. The Agency filed an opposition to the Union’s exceptions.[3]         The Union requests an expedited, abbreviated decision under § 2425.7 of the Authority’s Regulations.   ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 27, 2017  ...  FedCir:  Snyder v. Navy  ...   NAVY FURLOUGHED HER FOR SIX DAYS.  ...   Victoria Snyder appeals the Final Decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (Board) affirming the decision of the Department of the Navy (Navy) to furlough her for six days between July and September of 2013 as a result of the federal government sequestration of 2013.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 26, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Defense Logistics Agency Aviation v. AFGE  ...   WAS THE ARBITRATOR WRONG TO AWARD RELIEF TO INDIVIDUALS OTHER THAN THE GRIEVANT ?  ...   The Agency denied the grievant’s request to telework full­time, and the Union filed a grievance challenging the denial. Arbitrator Randi E. Lowitt sustained the grievance but found that no relief was available to the grievant because he had retired shortly after the arbitration hearing. Therefore, as a remedy, the Arbitrator directed the Agency to review future telework requests consistent with the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement.         The main question before us is whether the Arbitrator exceeded her authority by awarding relief to individuals other than the grievant.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 26, 2017  ...  NDSC:  State v. Gray  ...   IS IT ILLEGAL TO STAND ON YOUR PROPERTY WITH BINOCULARS AND LOOK ONTO YOUR NEIGHBORS PROPERTY ?  ...   According to the affidavit, on September 12, 2015, a Burleigh County deputy responded to a report of possible harassment at Ronda and Terry Berg’s residence. The Bergs informed the deputy they observed their neighbor, Gray, on numerous occasions trying to look into the Bergs’ residence with binoculars, and they showed the deputy pictures of Gray standing on the property line watching their home. The Bergs informed the deputy they were afraid in their home based on Gray’s actions. Ronda Berg informed the deputy that she has to “constantly keep her shades closed, and that she is afraid to go outside her own home.” The deputy spoke to Gray about these issues. Gray became upset with the deputy and started yelling at him. Gray admitted to watching the Bergs’ windows with binoculars.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 24, 2017  ...  A.F.C.C.A.:  United States (Air Force) v. Wheeler  ...   THE PERVERTED GOVERNMENT LOVES TO COME UP WITH SCHEMES TO COERCE CRIME-FREE, VULNERABLE MEN TO COMMIT ILLEGAL ACTS.  ...   Appellant used Craigslist to meet women on the Internet. On 11 April 2014, he responded to a Craigslist advertisement that he initially believed was posted by an 18-year-old female looking for male companionship. The advertisement was actually posted by Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) Special Agent WG, a male agent posing as a 14-year-old female. At the time, AFOSI was taking part in a joint law enforcement operation with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office intended to identify and apprehend individuals who used the Internet to lure minors into having sex.         Communication between Appellant and Special Agent WG, who for the purposes of this operation went by “Gaby,” started with email messages on Craigslist and quickly progressed to phone calls. To facilitate the phone conversation, Sergeant AW, a female law enforcement officer from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, played the part of “Gaby.” Early in his discourse with “Gaby,” Appellant was informed that she was 14 years old.         Despite some initial wavering about “Gaby’s” purported age, Appellant ultimately overcame his concerns. He intentionally communicated indecent language to “Gaby,” masturbated during a telephone conversation with “Gaby,” and told her he was doing so. Appellant also induced “Gaby” to meet him so they could engage in sexual activity. For his misconduct, Appellant was charged with these two offenses.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 21, 2017  ...  6th Cir:  Marshall v. Rawlings  ...   AN INTERESTING FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE (FMLA) CASE  ...   The Rawlings Company provides recovery or “cost containment” services to health insurance providers. Gloria Marshall began working as a Workers’ Compensation Analyst for The Rawlings Company in 2006 and was promoted to Team Lead in 2011.         Marshall suffers from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. To receive treatment for her mental-health problems, Marshall took her first FMLA leave in February and March 2012. Marshall’s FMLA leave was not planned in advance; she took leave unexpectedly to address acute mental- health problems.         When Marshall returned from leave, she had a backlog of work waiting for her. Although Marshall did not accumulate new work while she was on leave, there was old work that she had not finished because her leave was unexpected.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 20, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. ARMY  ...   UNIONS AIN'T SO COCKY THESE DAYS ... THEIR "O" BIASED PROTECTOR IS GONE.  ...   Arbitrator Russell L. Weaver issued an award finding that the Agency neither discriminated against the grievant nor created a hostile work environment in violation of the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII),[1] though he found two incidents of alleged improper behavior were substantiated. The Arbitrator partially sustained and partially denied the Union’s grievance but awarded no damages. The Union filed three substantive exceptions.         First, the Union alleges that the award is contrary to law because the Arbitrator discounted facts.         Second, the Union contends that the Arbitrator based the award on a nonfact.         Finally, the Union alleges, in effect, that the Arbitrator was biased and denied the Union a fair hearing because the Arbitrator had a conflict of interest; that is, that the Arbitrator and an Agency supervisor’s wife are both professors at the same university.   ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 19, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir:  Banks v. MSPB  ...   WAS HER RESIGNATION INVOLUNTARY AND THEREFORE CONSTITUTED A CONSTRUCTIVE REMOVAL ?  ...   Banks was hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) on July 26, 2015, as a Medical Support Assistant. Her appointment was in the excepted service and was subject to a one-year probationary period. On March 2, 2016, within the one-year period, the VA notified Banks that the agency planned to terminate her due to performance issues. Rather than wait for the agency to terminate her, Banks chose to resign her position, effective March 15, 2016.         Banks appealed to the Board, asserting that her resignation was involuntary and therefore constituted a constructive removal.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 17, 2017  ...  11th Cir:  Brooks v. MSPB  ...   THIS CASE IS "A CASE"  ...   Larry Brooks appeals the district court’s decision granting the Department of the Air Force’s (the Air Force) motion for summary judgment in his employment discrimination suit. Brooks filed this suit in federal court following an unsuccessful appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board) of his removal from his job at Robins Air Base.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 12, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:   Brown v. OPM  ...   AFTER WINNING HIS CASE, HE HAS TO TAKE OPM BACK TO COURT FOR ENFORCEMENT.  ...   BACKGROUND:  While working for the U.S. Postal Service, Mr. Brown suffered from several disabling conditions, and he applied for disability retirement benefits under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (“FERS”). The Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) denied his application for FERS benefits in December 2014 and denied his request for reconsideration in April 2015. The Board reversed, finding that Mr. Brown proved his entitlement to disability retirement.         Mr. Brown appeals a final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board that dismissed his petition for enforcement of a prior Board decision and order in his favor.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 11, 2017  ...  MSPB:  Darosa v. MSPB (VA)  ...   VA TERMINATED HER DUE TO HER DISRESPECTFUL CONDUCT TOWARDS A PATIENT.  ...   MS.DaRosa (“DaRosa”) seeks review of the final order of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“the Board”) dismissing her appeal for lack of jurisdiction.         BACKGROUND: The Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) appointed DaRosa to the position of Medical Support Assistant in the excepted service, effective November 2, 2014. Her appointment was subject to a one-year probationary period that began on November 2, 2014. In October 2015, the VA terminated DaRosa’s employment due to her disrespectful conduct towards a patient. DaRosa appealed her termination to the Board.   ...   Merit Systems Protection Board Decision:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   April 11, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Identifying Agency Point of Contact for Cybersecurity Position Coding    (new)


☀       April 10, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. Bureau of Prisons  ...   THE GRIEVANT IS THE UNION’S EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT.  ...   The employee at issue here (the grievant) is the Union’s Executive Vice President. When she requested compensatory time off for work-related travel (comp-time request), the Agency asked her to submit a flight itinerary to support her request. In response, the grievant filed a grievance alleging that the Agency discriminated against her based on her race, and retaliated against her based on her participation in protected Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Union activities, in violation of law and the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement.         Arbitrator Hyman Cohen found that there was no evidence that the Agency discriminated or retaliated against the grievant. He also found that the grievance was moot because, after the grievance was filed, the Agency granted the grievant’s comp-time request. There are three questions before us.   ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       April 10, 2017  ...  DcPR:  Ortiz-Martinez v. Fresenius Health  ...   AFTER SUFFERING A WORK-RELATED INJURY, SHE SUED.  ...   Appellant Gloria Ortiz- Martínez worked as a social worker for appellees Fresenius Health Partners, PR, LLC and Fresenius Medical Care Extracorporeal Alliance of Puerto Rico, Inc. (together, "Fresenius").1 After suffering a work-related injury, Ortiz-Martínez sued Fresenius for failing to accommodate her disability in violation of the American with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213. The district court granted summary judgment finding, first, that Ortiz-Martínez did not qualify as a "disabled" individual under the ADA and, second, that she was the cause of the breakdown in communications concerning her accommodations.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       March 20, 2017  ...  DcDc:  Kargbo v. NRPC  ...   THEY FAILED TO HIRE ME FOR APPROXIMATELY SEVENTY JOB VACANCIES.  ...   The plaintiff is a Black male who was born in Sierra Leone. He immigrated to the United States in 2004 and became a naturalized citizen. The plaintiff has been an Amtrak employee in the District of Columbia since November, 2006.         On December 6, 2013, the plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination [...] alleging that Amtrak discriminated against him on the basis of his race and national origin by failing to hire him for approximately seventy Engineering Management positions for which the plaintiff had applied between December 1, 2010, and December 1, 2013.         On May 7, 2015, the plaintiff filed his Complaint, alleging that Amtrak unlawfully denied him promotions that he sought between 2011 and 2015 due to his race and national origin, in violation of Title VII and § 1981.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       March 15, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Reduced Tuition Rates and Scholarships to Pursue Post-Secondary Education For Federal Employees


☀       March 14, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. VA  ...   DEAR TRUMP, CONGRESS, ANYONE: PLEASE SEVERELY LIMIT THESE UNIONS ABILITY TO WASTE BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS.  ...   Arbitrator Richard Stanton found that certain Agency employees (the grievants) were exposed to hazardous working conditions. Accordingly, the Arbitrator directed the Agency to pay the grievants an 8% pay differential beginning thirty days before the Union filed the grievance and continuing as long as the grievants performed the hazardous duties. The Union filed exceptions to the award, and, in AFGE, Local 2338 (AFGE),[1] the Authority dismissed the Union’s sole argument that the Arbitrator should have awarded each grievant a minimum of six years of backpay. The Union has now filed a motion for reconsideration of AFGE under § 2429.17 of the Authority’s Regulations.  ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       March 9, 2017  ...  DcDc:  Ahuruonye v. Interior  ...   EXAMPLE OF PROBLEMS CAUSED BY POORLY IMPLEMENTED ELECTRONIC PERSONNEL DOCUMENTS.  ...   On June 18, 2015, the plaintiff submitted a FOIA request to the defendant, seeking “three items: 1) a copy of [the p]laintiff’s SF-52 termination document, dated April 14, 2015; 2) a copy of the Form 2809 used to terminate [the p]laintiff’s health benefit insurance on or about April 14, 2015; and 3) a copy of [the p]laintiff’s Fiscal Year (‘FY’) 2014 Within[]Grade [Increase], Defendant’s Statement of Material Facts Not in Genuine Dispute. In response, the defendant provided the plaintiff copies of the SF-52, SF-2809, and SF-2810 forms in screen shot versions and a copy of his 2014 Within Grade Increase Notice in memorandum format. “Following its search for responsive records, [the defendant] sent [the p]laintiff a letter dated July 14, 2015, advising him that all records that he had sought in his June 2015 FOIA request had been released in their entirety.”         The plaintiff, Barry Ahuruonye, filed this pro se civil case, alleging that the defendant, the United States Department of the Interior, violated the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), [...], by improperly withholding records relating to the purported adverse employment action taken against him by the defendant.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 17, 2017  ...  FedCir:  Fedora v. MSPB (Postal)  ...   WAS HIS RETIREMENT VOLUNTARY -OR- WAS IT AN INVOLUNTARY "CONSTRUCTIVE DISCHARGE" ?  ...   Mr. Fedora began his employment with the United States Postal Service in 1980. He was employed as a Mail Handler in the Portland Processing and Distribution Center at the time of his retirement on August 31, 2012.         On April 27, 2013, Mr. Fedora filed an appeal with the Board alleging that his retirement was involuntary and amounted to constructive discharge.         He claimed that he was forced to perform work in violation of his medical restrictions, was harassed, and was improperly threat- ened with removal and loss of his pension.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   February 16, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Guidance on Requests for Exceptions to Timing of Suitability Inquiries Rule   (new)


☀       February 15, 2017  ...  NPR STORY:  'RESPECT' WASN'T A FEMINIST ANTHEM UNTIL ARETHA FRANKLIN MADE IT ONE   On [Valentine's Day] 50 years ago, a little-known gospel singer from Detroit went into a New York City recording studio to try to jump-start her career. No one saw it coming, but the song Aretha Franklin laid down on Valentine's Day 1967 would go on to become one of the greatest recordings of all time.         "Respect" hit the top of the charts four months later and turned Aretha Franklin into a feminist champion. The track was actually a clever gender-bending of a song by Otis Redding, whose original reinforced the traditional family structure of the time: Man works all day, brings money home to wife and demands her respect in return.         Franklin's version blew that structure to bits.       Download A Copy For Your Enjoyment.       ORIGINAL NPR STORY.



   February 14, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Hiring Freeze Frequently-Asked-Questions   (new)

   February 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Federal Civilian Hiring Freeze Guidance

   TRUMP EXECUTIVE ORDER 13769:  Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States (Federal Register)


☀       February 13, 2017  ...  Fed. Cir:  Sparks v. OPM  ...   WAS IT UN-AMERICAN FOR OPM TO DENY HIS DISABILITY RETIREMENT BASED ON "VETERAN SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY MENTAL DISORDER" ?  ...   Donald Sparks (“Sparks”) was employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) as a housekeeping aid from 2007–2013. On December 6, 2012, Sparks submitted an application for immediate retirement pursuant to the Federal Employees Retirement System, indicating that he had become disabled on October 24, 2012.         On his statement of disability form, he indicated that he suffered from “veteran service connected disability mental disorder affecting [his ability to have] gainful employment” [...] Sparks described his disability as “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”         On February 11, 2014, OPM issued an initial decision denying Sparks’s application for disability retirement.         On January 9, 2015, Sparks wrote OPM, stating, “I humbly request reconsideration of my disability retirement”         Here, Donald Sparks (“Sparks”) appeals from the decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 10, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  Clark v. MSPB  ...   THESE RESTORATION OF DUTY CASES STINK !  ...   Petitioner Dannice E. Clark is an employee of the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”).         She alleged that the USPS refused her request to return to duty from April−August 2015 following partial rehabilitation from a work-related injury and, thus, violated her restoration of duty rights.         Here, Ms. Clark appeals the final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”) dismiss- ing her appeal for lack of jurisdiction.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 9, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  McInnis v.  Education  ...   HE'S APPEALING HIS REMOVAL TO THE FED CIR.  ...   McInnis was employed as an Institutional Review Specialist by the Department of Education (“agency” or “Education Department”). He worked in the agency’s Federal Student Aid Office (“FSA”).         In January 2011, McInnis was suspended for fourteen days for (a) Failure To Follow Supervisory Instructions, (b) Failure To Follow Established Work Procedures, and (c) Failure To Take Appropriate Action.         On December 12, 2012, he was suspended for thirty days for being absent without leave and for failure to comply with established time and attendance procedures.         Effective January 24, 2014, the agency removed McInnis from his position based on charges of: (1) Absence Without Approved Leave; (2) Failure To Follow Established Leave Procedures; and (3) Failure To Follow Instructions.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 9, 2017  ...  FLRA:  VA (Biloxi)  v. AFGE  ...   WAS HE PROTECTED UNDER "SAFE HARBOR" OR WAS HE A FAIR TARGET FOR DISCIPLINE ?.  ...   The grievant is a clinical psychologist employed by the Agency. The grievant was selected by the Agency for a random drug screening and provided a urine sample for testing. Immediately thereafter, the grievant informed his supervisor that the test results would come back positive for marijuana use. The following month, the results of the test confirmed the grievant’s admission, and the Agency removed him from patient‑care responsibilities because the sample tested positive for marijuana.         Only then did the grievant apply to the Agency’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which, among other services, offers treatment to employees struggling with health issues (such as drug use) that may result in conduct or performance deficiencies.         The grievant was admitted to an EAP rehabilitation program, which he completed successfully and then returned to his normal clinical duties two weeks later. The grievant passed several random drug screenings thereafter.         Following the grievant’s return to clinical duties, the Agency proposed and decided to suspend the grievant for fourteen days without pay as discipline for his illegal drug use, despite the fact that he had successfully completed the treatment. The Union filed a grievance contesting the suspension, which was unresolved, and the parties proceeded to arbitration.   ...    FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 8, 2017  ...  Fed Cir:  Stevens v. MSPB  ...   WHERE HIS ALLEGATIONS COVERED BY THE WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ENHANCEMENT ACT (“WPEA”)?  ...   Mr. Stevens is a Supervisory Computer Specialist within the Department of Transportation’s Office of Information and Technology (“AIT”), Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), in Atlanta, Georgia. The agency underwent reorganization between 2011 and 2013. In approximately July 2013, the agency assessed its information technology employees and then notified them of their new assignments within AIT. As a result of the reassignments, Mr. Stevens became Manag- er, Infrastructure Applications, in the Infrastructure and Operations Service Division.         On approximately November 21, 2013, he filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel (“OSC”), alleging that AIT employees were improperly assigned to new positions using noncompetitive processes during the reorganization. On November 22, 2013, Mr. Stevens complained to his fifth-level supervisor about the reassignments and informed him that he was in the process of making disclosures regarding the reassignments.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 8, 2017  ...  FLRA:  Army v. AFGE  ...   ARMY SAYS THESE SECURITY GUARDS ARE NOT IN THE BARGAINING UNIT ... AFGE SAYS THEY ARE .  ...   The Union filed a grievance on behalf of security guards employed by the Agency’s Directorate of Emergency Services (DES). The grievance alleged that the Agency violated the parties’ agreement when it unilaterally changed the DES security guards’ work schedules.         Before addressing the merits of the grievance, Arbitrator James E. Rimmel determined that the grievance is arbitrable, finding that the DES security guards are in the bargaining unit.   ...   Here, ARMY Appeals To FLRA:  FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 3, 2017  ...  VAOIG:  HEALTHCARE INSPECTION – ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY SCHEDULING AND QUALITY OF CARE CONCERNS, EDWARD HINES, JR. VA HOSPITAL, HINES, ILLINOIS      An echo technician operates ultrasound equipment to perform various noninvasive echo tests on the cardiovascular areas of the body.         All of the studies were sufficient for clinical decision making. However, we found the quality of the majority of the images reviewed was poor and may have been due to the technicians’ competency.         We found no documented evidence of performance improvement activities for the echocardiography technicians.         The Chief of Cardiology informed us that a formal performance improvement process was not in place for the echocardiography technicians.      Summary   Report


☀       February 3, 2017  ...  11th Cir:  EEOC v. WCMG (West)  ...   THE EEOC FINALLY WON ONE IN COURT.  ...   The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a complaint against West Customer Management Group (West) alleging that West denied Derrick Roberts employment based on his accent and national origin.         A jury found in favor of West, and the district court awarded West attorney’s fees and costs.         The EEOC appeals the district court’s award of attorney’s fees and costs.         After careful consideration of the record and the parties’ briefs, we reverse.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 2, 2017   PROTESTANT CHRISTIANS REJOICE OVER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S SUPREME COURT PICK : The United States population is 46% Protestant Christian, 20% Catholic Christian, 2% Jewish, 1.6% Mormon, etc.         The current US Supreme Court has zero (0) Protestant Christians (United Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Baptists, Pentecostal, Holiness, etc) on-board. The current US Supreme Court has 5 Catholic justices and 3 Jewish justices. President Trumps Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, is an Episcopal (Protestant Christian).         Many Protestant Christians rejoiced and praised the Lord for President Trump's pick.


☀       February 2, 2017  ...  C.A.A.F.:  U.S, Coast Guard v. Gomez  ...   THIS IS THE TALE OF THE "DUMB D___ SELFIE" THAT SUNK HIS SHIP.  ...   The US Coast Guard convicted Appellant of aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, and indecent exposure, [...].         The court-martial also convicted Appellant of violating a lawful general order by engaging in sexual harassment, maltreatment, making a false official statement, aggravated sexual contact, abusive sexual contact, and committing a general disorder by using a female Guardsman’s camera without her consent to photograph his penis [...]. The convening authority approved Appellant’s adjudged sentence of confinement for eight years, a reduction to E-1, and a dishonorable discharge.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


☀       February 1, 2017  ...  FLRA:  National Nurses United v. VA (Chicago)  ...   AS USUAL, THE UNION DEFENDS EMPLOYEE GUILTY OF FALSIFYING VETERAN RECORDS  ...   The grievant is a registered nurse who works with the Agency’s Homeless Program at the VA Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Part of the grievant’s job is to go into the community to identify homeless veterans and offer them services available through the Agency. This includes gathering information from homeless veterans and entering the information into the Agency’s database.         After a co-worker claimed that the grievant falsified an entry, the Agency to reviewed records for the past five years and substantiated the falsification allegations. The Agency suspended the grievant for fourteen days for falsifying veterans’ medical records.         The Union filed a grievance challenging the suspension.         An Arbitrator found that the Agency had just cause to suspend the grievant, and denied the grievance.  ...   Here, National Nurses United (Union) Appeals To FLRA:  FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   January 27, 2016  ...  8th Cir:  Sieden v. Chipotle Mexican Grill  ...   WAS THE CHIPOTLE MANAGER FIRED FOR HIRING TO MANY OF THE "WRONG" TYPE PEOPLE.  ...   Philip Sieden appeals the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (Chipotle), on his reprisal claim under the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA).         Sieden began working at Chipotle in 2001 as an at-will employee. During his employment, Sieden rose through the ranks and was eventually promoted to general manager of a newly-built restaurant in Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. On October 12, 2010, Seiden was promoted again, this time to Restaurateur. This title indicated that he was among Chipotle’s best general managers.         In April 2013, during a managers meeting, Moe told Sieden that he was hiring “too many Hmong people.” Sieden defended his employment decisions.         On June 18, 2013, Moe and Patet met with Sieden and terminated his employment.         Sieden filed suit in a Minnesota state court asserting claims under the MHRA of (1) reprisal, (2) age discrimination and (3) sexual orientation discrimination. Chipotle removed the case on the basis of diversity jurisdiction and ultimately moved for summary judgment.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   January 26, 2016  ...  FSIP:  DOD v. ACEA  ...   THE PARTIES JOINTLY SELECTED MATTHEW FRANCKIEWICZ AS THE FACILITATOR/FACTFINDER IN THIS DISPUTE.  ...   The Antilles Consolidated Educations Association (Union) filed a request for assistance with the Federal Service Impasses Panel (Panel) to consider a negotiations impasse under the Federal Service Labor—Management Relations Statute (Statute), 5 U.S.C. §7ll9, over the successor collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the Union and the Department of Defense, Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS or Agency).         The Union represents the bargaining unit at these locations, consisting of approximately 270 professional employees who hold positions such as classroom teacher, guidance counselor, psychologist, education technologist, librarian, media specialist, nurse, and substitute teacher. The parties' last CBA expired on July 24, 2015.  ...   FSIP DECISION:     (.pdf)


   January 26, 2016  ...  Fed. Cir:  Tialino v. MSPB  ...   A CONSTRUCTIVE REMOVAL CASE.  ...   Tialino worked for the Department of the Army (“the Army”) as an engineering equipment operator on the Brea Dam near Los Angeles. On January 27, 2014, the Army proposed to remove Tialino from his position based on the following charges: (1) being under the influence of alcohol while on duty to the degree that it interfered with the proper performance of his duties; (2) consuming alcohol while on duty and while in a government vehicle; (3) using a government vehicle for non-official purposes; and (4) lack of candor. Tialino responded orally to the pro- posed removal, admitting the underlying charges and noting that he was two years away from retirement eligibility. Tialino requested that he be permitted to serve these two years.         The Army’s decision letter sustained the charges and set March 28, 2014 as the effective date for Tialino’s removal from service. On March 28, 2014, Tialino sub- mitted a signed resignation letter to the Army, stating in its entirety, “To Whom It May Concern, I Taleni Tialino am resigning today 28 March 2014 to pursue a deferred retirement.” The Army processed Tialino’s separation as a resignation, effective March 28, 2014.         Tialino then appealed to the Board, claiming that he had involuntarily resigned because the Army provided him with misinformation about his retirement options.   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   January 17, 2016  ...  Fed Cir:  Mosteller v. MSPB (VA)  ...   DID VA REALLY SUSPEND HER IN THE PROCESS OF REMOVING HER? -OR- DID THEY "CLEAN IT UP" ?  ...   Ms. Mosteller worked for the VA as a Program Ana- lyst. The VA suspended Ms. Mosteller for fourteen days, from March 22 to April 4, 2015. Ms. Mosteller was not allowed to return to work on her next scheduled work day. Instead, on April 6, 2015, Ms. Mosteller received notice from the VA she was being placed on “authorized absence.” On the same day, the VA provided Ms. Mosteller with a notice of proposed removal. Ms. Mosteller remained on authorized absence until the VA terminated her employment.         Ms. Mosteller appeals a final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board, arguing that the Board incor- rectly dismissed for lack of jurisdiction her appeal of the allegedly improper suspension of her employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).   ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   January 12, 2017  ...  FLRA:  AFGE v. ARMY  ...   FEDERAL UNIONS WASTE SO MUCH TIME, MONEY AND PRODUCTIVITY WITH THESE FRIVOLOUS GRIEVANCES.  ...   Arbitrator Robert Brookins issued an award finding that employees working a rotating shift who were assigned to work a day shift (the grievants) were not “temporarily assigned to a day shift.”     Based on that finding, the Arbitrator concluded that the grievants did not qualify for a night-shift differential under 5 C.F.R. § 532.505(d)(1). The Union filed exceptions to the award.         First, the Union alleges that the award is contrary to law because 5 C.F.R. § 610.121(b)(1) does not disqualify employees from receiving a night-shift differential under § 532.505(d)(1).         Second, the Union argues that the award is contrary to law because it adds a “non-existent requirement that employees be ‘permanently’ assigned to night shifts”[2] to qualify for a night-shift differential under § 532.505(d)(1).         Third, the Union contends that the award is contrary to the Federal Employees Flexible and Compressed Work Schedules Act of 1982 (CWSA)[4] because the Arbitrator found that the schedule changes were not temporary.         Finally, the Union raises several exceptions alleging that the award fails to draw its essence from the parties’ collective-bargaining agreement.   ...   FLRA DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   January 12, 2017  ...  THANK GOD ... THE NIGHTMARE OF ANTI-MANAGEMENT UNIONS RUNNING THE SHOP IS ABOUT TO COME TO AN END.


   January 11, 2017  ...  FLRA TRAINING STILL OPEN:  Basic Statutory Training ... Oklahoma City, OK: January 18, 2017 ... San Antonio, Texas: March 29, 2017   ( FLRA )


   January 9, 2017  ...  OPM NOTICE:  Pay and Benefits for Noncareer Appointees Who Resign on Inauguration Day
   January 5, 2016  ...  OPM NOTICE:  U.S. Office of Personnel Management Cabinet Exit Memo


   January 2, 2016  ...  6th Cir:  Hale v. Johnson (TVA)  ...   TVA GOT CAUGHT DISCRIMINATING !  ...   All plant officers working for the TVA are required to maintain medical clearance as a condition of employment. Since his employment began in 2009, Hale had always maintained the level of clearance necessary for his position. However, in 2013, the TVA made a pulmonary function test (“PFT”) ((a requirement imposed by the TVA for employees to maintain their necessary medical clearance)).         Hale failed the testing because of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.         The TVA terminated him as a result.         After the Tennessee Valley Authority (“TVA”) discharged James Hale for failing a pulmonary function test (“PFT”) Hale brought claims for disability discrimination and failure to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.         The TVA moved for summary judgment, arguing that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the merits of Hale’s claim under Title VII’s national-security exemption and the Egan doctrine.         The district court disagreed, but certified the case for interlocutory appeal.  ...   COURT DECISION:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   January 2, 2016  ...  MSPB:  McGann v. GSA  ...   THE DAY THE HR DIRECTOR GOT SENT HOME ... FOR 30 DAYS.  ...   Effective July 2, 2014, the agency suspended the appellant for 30 days from her GS-15 position as a Supervisory Human Resources Specialist (Director of Human Resources) with the agency’s Office of Inspector General based on four charges: (1) conduct unbecoming (three specifications); (2) absence without leave (one specification); (3) failure to follow instructions (two specifications); and (4) insubordination (one specification).         The appellant has filed a petition for review of the initial decision, which sustained her 30-day suspension.  ...   Merit Systems Protection Board Decision:   (.pdf)   (.html)


   December 31, 2016  ...  OPM NOTICE:  January 2017 Pay Adjustments    ...    Fiscal Year 2017 Prevailing Rate Pay Adjustments




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