Melville Johnson Blog

Recent Updates

Representation During "Performance Improvement Plan" Process

Performance Improvement Plans (“PIP”) can be one of the most stressful situations for a federal employee employed at a Federal Agency. Sometimes the terms and conditions can be difficult to understand. Therefore, it is very important to retain legal advice to be sure you are aware of all stipulations of this process.
Melville
April 6, 2020
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The MSPB Appeals Process

Most cases brought to the Merit Systems Protection Board (“Board”) are appeals of agency adverse actions--removals, suspensions of more than fourteen (14) days, reductions in grade or pay, and furloughs of thirty (30) days or less. Other cases include appeals of Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) determinations in retirement matters, performance-based removals or reductions in grade, denials of within-grade salary increases, reduction-in-force actions.
Melville Johnson
April 6, 2020
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The Agency's Burden of Proof

When a Federal Employee brings an appeal regarding a personnel action made by the Federal Agency in which they are employed, an Administrative Judge is assigned to the case and reviews the case based on information provided to him or her to make a decision. When a charge involves misconduct, the standard is “preponderance of the evidence. However, for performance cases, the standard is lowered to “substantial evidence.”
Melville Johnson
April 6, 2020
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Disability Retirement Process

Disability Retirement is an employee benefit intended for those federal employees who are unable to complete a normal career due to disease or injury. These federal employees must then meet the statutory, regulatory, and administrative criteria to be eligible. The process is handled by the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”).
Melville Johnson
April 6, 2020
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Reviewing Arbitration Decisions

Although more arbitration cases go to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) for review, a federal employee may seek review from the MSPB when jurisdiction is found. The MSPB must have jurisdiction over the subject matter of the grievance.
Melville Johnson
April 6, 2020
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Harmful Error at the MSPB

Employee rights are just as important within the Merit System Protection Board (“MSPB”), as they are in any other area of adjudication. Harmful error is said to have occurred whenever it is shown that the rights of the federal employee have been significantly impaired. When a federal employee is able to show that the application of the agency’s procedures were not in accordance with statute, rule or regulation, the MSPB may order a reversal.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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Successful Defenses against Poor Work Performance

For a poor work performance charge to be sustained by the MSPB, the Federal Agency mush show that the federal employee: 1) was notified that he/she was expected to perform a particular duty; 2) the employee’s performance was unacceptable in that duty; and 3) the agency’s measurement of the employee’s unacceptable work performance was accurate and reasonable.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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Inability to Perform (as a result of a medical condition)

There are several variables that come into play in determining whether a federal agency has shown by preponderant evidence a federal employee’s Inability to Person (as a result of a medical condition). The federal agency must show that either: (1) the employee has a medical condition; (2) there are observed deficiencies in the employee’s performance or conduct; and (3) there is a nexus between the medical condition and the observed deficiencies OR (1) the employee has a medical condition; (2) the disabling condition itself is disqualifying; (3) its recurrence cannot be ruled out; and (4) the duties of the position are such that a recurrence would pose a reasonable probability of substantial harm.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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Mitigating Penalties for Federal Employees

Penalties issued by federal agencies can not only be detrimental to a federal employee’s current employment situation, but can also adversely affect their future employment opportunities. More often than not, instances of alleged misconduct issued by a federal agency will also be recorded in the employee’s personnel file.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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Failure to Follow Instructions

If you are a Federal Employee that has been charged with a Failure to Follow Instructions by your Federal Agency, the first thing that needs to be determined is whether the instructions you have been alleged to not have followed were clear. This means whether there was enough notice to the federal employee that some sort of action or inaction was expected of them.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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A Failure to Maintain a Condition of Employment

A Failure to Maintain a Condition of Employment charge by a Federal Agency is probably the clearest of the possible charges against a Federal Employee. When an employee’s position requires a license, certificate, or special status, the revocation or loss of any of these can be the basis for a charge against the federal employee.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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EEO’s Guidance During COVID-19 Pandemic

As a Federal Employee, you may be worried with how the on-going Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic affects your employment with a Federal Agency. The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) has established principles that could provide you with assistance and guidance in understanding your rights.
Melville Johnson
April 2, 2020
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