AN APPROACHING ATTORNEY FEE APOCALYPSE?
Not long ago, deep inside the bowels of a management think tank on a well-guarded federal reservation, some LR managers noticed that in three virtually identical D.C. area, employee suspension cases won by the employees the attorneys from three different firms billed (and were awarded) vastly different amounts. In one case, the attorney was given $4,750.00 (AFGE, 63 FLRA 486 (2009)); in the second case, the attorney was awarded $58,000 (See Shrewsberry, MSPB DC-3443-12-0288-A-1 (2014)); and in the third the law firm walked away with $384,565. It was one of those “Ah-ha” moments that triggered a highly targeted agency effort to bring the awarding of attorney fees, especially in the Washington, D.C. area, under control. Fedsmill.com has tried to alert unions to the coming threat to employee rights to attorney fees not once, not twice, not three times, not four, nor are we stopping at five with the recent posting entitled, “Remember, Laffey is Not Enough.” Thankfully, there seems to be some union interest developing in defending this vital employee right, especially in connection with agency demands that the union must give up employee rights to attorney fee reimbursement if they want more official time—or even to retain what they have. We are not going to roll out another round of advice with a full posting. Rather, we are going to respond to one reader who asked to be told only the issues agencies are likely to focus on with their bargaining demands. We see five agency demands that unions must prepare to negotiate over: Continue reading
HOW KIKO AND ABBOTT CAN TORMENT THE GAY COMMUNITY
We certainly are not advocating they do this; in fact, that would be terrible. However, Kiko and Abbott have repeatedly proven their loyalty to the President who appointed them by gutting employee rights and tormenting their union representatives. So, now that the President has decided that he is going to deny visas to the gay partners of diplomats as part of his cult’s approach to American justice and fairness, the odds are the two Trumpettes on the FLRA will once again not only follow his lead, but do so proudly. After all, what is the big deal about a few thousand screwed over employees if that is what it will take to get Kiko and Abbott more political appointments? Continue reading
CHURCH LADY SMITES DOD
Score another one for all the Sunday church-going Christians in their battle to spend their Sabbath worshiping. This time DOD learned the hard way that it must offer a “reasonable accommodation” to allow employees to practice their religion and when they do not they can pay dearly. In this case more than $25,000 in damages. Continue reading
Posted in Religion
GRADE/STEP PAY SYSTEM INSUFFICIENT TO DEFEAT PAY DISCRIMINATION
Most feds think that they cannot win an equal pay claim because the grade and step structure of the GS salary system is almost automatic. But a Circuit Court recently decided that there are ways to get around that to prove discrimination and earn the harmed employees not only back pay but a future raise. Take a look at this blog posting from jacksonlewis for a more detailed story about how to file a successful pay discrimination claim.
FIVE UNION RIGHTS YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER
We all know that union activists cannot be fired, denied a benefit, or even poorly evaluated if the decision is based on or even related to our choice to be union activist. But over the years FLRA has certified that union leaders have a few others rights that you might have forgotten about. So, FEDSMILL.com thought you a reminder of them would help along with excerpts from the precedential FLRA case. Continue reading
REMEMBER, LAFFEY IS NOT ENOUGH
A good attorney working for a union cannot only make arbitrations virtually cost free, but also build up a sizeable litigation fund for the union when bigger threats appear—if they know how to properly petition for attorney fees. Moreover, fee awards can be a LM relationship altering moment for an agency if the fees awarded are many times the amount of the employee’s back pay award. Imagine an LR Specialist having to tell some executive the following: “Remember that overtime case I advised you not to settle? Well, we lost the arbitration and will have to pay the employees $60.00 in back pay. And I might as well be the one to tell you that in addition to the $60.00 we tried so hard to avoid paying, the arbitrator gave the union $56,000 in fees?” Agency executives are quickly catching on to the fact that attorney fee awards can cost many, many times the grievant’s back pay check. That alone should motivate LR and SES folks to be far more open to settlements short of arbitration. But it is also driving them to get term contract provisions limiting fee exposure. Consequently, it worth focusing on the various parts of getting attorney fees. Continue reading
LGBTQ PROTECTIONS ON THE WAY OUT?
It seems to us that there is a lot of money to be made betting that the new Supreme Court will obliterate the employment protections only recently won by the LGBTQ folks we all work alongside. A bunch of folks will leap with joy at the thought of returning to what they fondly call the “good old days” when it was OK to discriminate, harass, torment, and otherwise make work miserable for co-workers with a different sexual orientation. Moreover, once the new Court gives them the go-ahead at the job site, housing discrimination and the old Defense of Marriage Act proponents will fire up their efforts as well to also reap benefits from the President’s justice program. We are on the brink of an anti-LGBTQ feeding frenzy. Continue reading
Posted in Gender/Sex
THINGS MARK CARTER DOESN’T GET
Mark Carter earns his living working for a law firm that brags about its ability to fight unions, not provide a balanced, low conflict, workplace. So, it should surprise no one that his gut reaction to anything a union wants is “Hell, no!” Even though in his spare time, he comes to Washington, D.C. where he pretends to be a labor-management neutral as Chair of the Federal Service Impasse Panel there is not much of a chance that he thinks like a professional labor-management neutral. We thought it might be helpful to layout what goes totally over Mark’s head because of his bias. Continue reading
Posted in FSIP
A RARELY USED EEOC REMEDY
The factual background section of this EEOC decision led with the following statement: “on April 14, 2015, the physician for the Primary Care Women’s Health Clinic (GYN) threatened Complainant when he gave her a hug, forcibly grabbed her neck, kissed her with his tongue, grabbed the belt loops of her pants, and told her she was turning him on and they needed to get together.” The facts went on to describe a campaign of harassment against the employee when she complained about physician before it found the Agency guilty of civil rights infractions. Normally, the EEOC limits its penalty on the offending employee to ordering that s/he be trained in the law and “considered for” disciplinary action. But in this case, it was apparently so distressed by the physician’s behavior that it ordered an additional penalty on him, namely, … Continue reading