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Developments at the MSPB: FY 2016 Annual Performance Report

Developments at the MSPB: On May 23, 2017, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued its annual performance report for FY 2016. The report discussed the current status of the MSPB's caseload of furlough appeals, its overall case processing in FY 2015, and specific case statistics for whistleblower reprisal cases.

News from the Federal Circuit: Part of DVA SES Discipline Law Struck Down

News from the Federal Circuit:  On May 9, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its decision in Helman v. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, No. 2015-3086.  The Court struck down part of the statute for expedited removals of Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Senior Executive Service (SES) employees as unconstitutional, but left much of the statute in place.

News from the White House: New DVA Whistleblower Office

News from the White House:  On May 2, 2017, the President issued Executive Order 13,793.  The Executive Order creates a new office at the Department of Veterans Affairs focusing on whistleblower reprisal and disciplinary issues.

Appeals courts signal change on LGBTQ discrimination

Previous courts have ruled same-sex discrimination does not violate Title VII

Two separate appellate courts have interpreted the Civil Rights Act to prohibit workplace discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender stereotyping. The recent rulings by the Second Circuit and Seventh Circuit break with established legal precedents. But they align with a sea change of decisions by some lower courts and the EEOC that such discrimination is illegal.

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Fair Pay and Safe Workspaces executive order repealed 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.

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