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More bad news for federal contractor employees

Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces executive order repealed 

Another of President Barack Obama's worker-friendly initiatives has been stricken down before it could even take effect. President Donald Trump on Monday signed a bill to rescind the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order (FPSW), which would have cracked down on labor violations by companies that contract with the federal government.

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Republican leaders characterized the FPSW as redundant and overbearing. Trade groups objected to the "blacklisting" of contractors that violate wage laws or safety rules. Labor advocates decried the repeal as a step backward for millions of employees -- one in five Americans work for companies with government contracts.

Exceptions to the federal hiring freeeze

Do you qualify for a federal hiring exemption or promotion?

The federal government is under a hiring freeze instituted in January by President Trump. The freeze applies to all vacant positions in executive branch agencies. It covers most categories of competitive, excepted and Senior Executive Service (SES) positions.

However, there are exceptions and gray areas. What if you were offered a position before the freeze? Are promotions also subject to the freeze? Do you qualify for employment or advancement under one of the specified exemptions?

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Social media is fair game for security clearance

Is your Facebook page closing doors of opportunity? 

In the private sector, human resource experts encourage job hunters to tame down or scale back their social media accounts. Much of what is shared with friends and family is visible to current and prospective employers.

This holds true for federal employees and independent contractors, whether currently employed, scouting for federal jobs or seeking advancement. It is particularly true for federal positions involving security clearance. The higher the clearance level, the more harm a social media misstep can cause.

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4 reasons for job applicants to self-identify as disabled

New DOL form geared toward federal contractor hiring compliance 

The U.S. Department of Labor is urging applicants to voluntarily disclose disabilities. The DOL says the new employment form will help federal contractors meet equal opportunity goals -- opening more doors for disabled persons.

Yet candidates with physical impairments or medical conditions are often leery of calling attention to their disabilities. They fear it would take them out of consideration. But there are several reasons why it actually makes sense to reveal a disability when applying for federal jobs.

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Developments at the MSPB: Annual Report for FY 2016

Developments at the MSPB: On January 18, 2017, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued its Annual Report for FY 2016. This Annual Report, which was signed by former MSPB Chair Grundmann a mere day before her departure from the MSPB to the Office of Compliance and the loss of quorum at the MSPB, provided detailed statistics concerning its caseload in FY 2016.

Developments at the EEOC: Final Federal Sector Disability Rule

Developments at the EEOC: On January 3, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a Final Rule in the Federal Register, 82 Fed.Reg. 654-681.  The Final Rule clarifies the federal government's obligations as a model employer of disabled individuals.

News from the Federal Circuit: Delay Leaves Settlement Unenforced

News from the Federal Circuit: On December 27, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals issued its decision in Gallegos v. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Case No. 2016-2120.  A divided panel refused to enforce a breached clean record settlement agreement provision because of the delay in seeking enforcement.

News from the White House: Changes in "Administrative Leave" Rules, etc.

News from the White House: On December 23, 2016, President Obama signed S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 (NDAA).  This law contained several important changes in the law relevant to federal employees, specifically in three areas:  administrative leave, negative paper trails, and buyouts for DoD employees.

Are you wrongly classified as a federal employee?

Government personnel have the right to appeal misclassification

The U.S. Department of Labor has cracked down on misclassifying private sector employees as exempt from overtime. Federal employees can be misclassified too, with ramifications for pay, benefits and career advancement.

Do you disagree with your classification or grading in your federal job? Have you been wrongly denied overtime as a federal agency employee? An attorney who specializes in federal employment law can help you explore legal remedies, through your agency or the Office of Personnel Management.

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Should federal agency employees be worried about their jobs?

Can civil employees be fired for their political leanings or scientific pursuits?

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump was openly critical of federal regulations and openly skeptical of global warming. Now, before even taking office, his transition team has asked for lists of Department of Energy employees who attended climate change meetings.

Appointees and civil servants in the DOE and other agencies are spooked. Will there be a McCarthy-ish witch hunt? Will employees be punished for pursuing certain lines of research? In the bigger picture, some are bracing for a sea change in the mission - or an attempt to purge data.

Federal workers are protected somewhat from arbitrary termination. But they may face hostile relationships with management and other forms of retaliation, especially those who blow the whistle or refuse to toe the new party line.

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