Developments at the OSC: The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently issued its annual report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2014.
Developments at the MSPB: On August 21, 2015, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued its decision in Alarid v. Dept. of the Army, 2015 MSPB 50. The MSPB reversed its administrative judge, finding a failure to explain below Mr. Alarid's burdens for proving his affirmative defenses. The MSPB also explained its standards for analyzing new protections for certain union activity deriving from the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA), as previously analyzed in this blog.
News from the Courts: On August 24, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit issued its decision in Aviles v. Merit Systems Protection Board, No. 14-60645. Although it ultimately found against the employee, the 5th Circuit rejected several points of Federal Circuit whistleblower reprisal caselaw in the process.
Federal employees, like their private sector counterparts, have legal protections against discrimination. Under the law, it is illegal for federal employers to discriminate against an employee based on their:
• National origin
• Genetic information
• Age (if over age 40)
• Status as pregnant
Federal employees who have experienced discrimination during the course of their employment must follow a different course of action to remedy the situation than those in the private sector. Federal employees can benefit from administrative procedures that may be more beneficial than bringing a case to court. However, the time frame for federal employees to file an EEO complaint are much shorter than in the private sector. It is therefore important for all federal employees to have a basic understanding of what the process entails.
Attorney Joseph Kaplan will be presenting at a panel at this year's EEOC's Examining Conflicts in Employment Law Conference in Washington D.C., tomorrow Tuesday August 11, 2015.
The topic of the panel will be "Inexplicably Intertwined: Why We Get So Mixed Up About Mixed Cases".
Attorney Joseph Kaplan is speaking at the 30th Annual Federal Dispute Resolution Training Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona.
The panel topic will be "Leave, Telework, and Reasonable Accomodation". The discussion will revolve around accomodations for employees with disabilities in light of the Rehabilitation Act.
Developments at the EEOC: In a landmark decision, Complainant v. Fox, Sec., Department of Transportation, Appeal No 0120133080 (July 15, 2015), the EEOC has held that a federal employee who brings a complaint of discrimination on account of sexual orientation states a claim under Title VII for discrimination on account of sex. This decision, issued by the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO), was issued over the signature of the EEOC's Executive Secretariat, which means that this decision was actually voted on by the Commissioners, not just issued by the OFO's Director.
Developments at OPM: On June 5, 2015, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) jointly published a Final Rule in the Federal Register (80 Fed.Reg. 32,244-32,265). The Final Rule implemented updated regulations for agencies to designate positions as "national security positions"--and potentially excluding affected positions from Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal rights. The Final Rule is effective July 6, 2015.
Developments at OPM: On June 3, 2015, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) jointly issued a new report, "Addressing Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination in Federal Civilian Employment A Guide to Employment Rights, Protections and Responsibilities." This Guide summarizes the great extent to which the EEOC and OSC have expanded to cover sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination claims during the past 10 years.
News from the Supreme Court: On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., ___ U.S. ___, No. 14-86. The Supreme Court vindicated Title VII's requirements that employers provide reasonable accommodation for religion in the hiring process.