2013 and 2014 Ask The Lawyer Articles By Neil McPhie  

1. What do you do if you accuse an agency of racial discrimination and it responds with some bogus explanation?

2. Does a supervisor have to specifically threaten a personnel action for it to count as whistleblower retaliation?

I won my appeal of an adverse action, and I just received a notice stating that I am being “indefinitely suspended” because the agency is appealing the decision. Can the agency do this?

4. I received a notice informing me that I am being disciplined for failure to follow the appropriate leave procedure even though I had the leave time available. Can the agency really fire me for taking leave that I had available?

5. I suffer from sickle cell anemia. Is this considered a disability under the Rehabilitation Act?

6. Ever since I blew the whistle, my supervisor has been reducing my work responsibilities and undermining my authority. Is this legal?

7. Does the Rehabilitation Act protect me against my agency’s attempts to remove me because of my drug addiction?

8. I was arrested while off duty. Am I going to be suspended while my case is pending?

9. Ever since my surgery, I have been having difficulty performing functions that involved lifting heavy objects. Can I get the agency to make co-workers help me with some of this heavy lifting?

I have been a wreck ever since my supervisor retaliated against me for previously filing a discrimination complaint. How much money can I expect to receive for the emotional pain, stress and depression my supervisor put me through?

12. How do agency deciding officials reach the conclusion that certain employees do not have the potential for rehabilitation? 

13. What is the difference between the charges of failure to follow managerial instructions and insubordination?

14. I know federal employees can be removed for serious misconduct, but at what point does a minor offense become serious misconduct?

15. Am I allowed to use confidential personnel records to support my EEO complaint?

16. What’s the difference between the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act?

17. What happens if the agency is uncooperative in an investigation into my race
discrimination complaint?

18. Can an agency remove an employee for stealing government property that is relatively inexpensive?

19. I heard a manager at my agency is doing something illegal. If I report what I heard about his illegal activities, will I be protected against whistleblower reprisal?

20. My agency had proposed removing me, but now it is offering to keep me on if I sign a last chance agreement. What do I need to know about this type of agreement?

21. I was extremely depressed after my supervisor subjected me to disability discrimination, 
so I was late in contacting my agency’s EEO counselor. Does that mean my case is finished?

22. My agency has offered me a clean record agreement to settle my appeal to a removal action. Should I accept it?

23. If a federal employee can no longer perform his duties because of an addiction problem, can he apply for disability retirement?

24. I want to challenge my suspension, but I don’t want any sensitive personal details to be made public. can I file an appeal with the MSPB and remain anonymous

25. I think my agency is trying to make me take a fitness for duty examination in retaliation for filing a discrimination complaint. When are agencies allowed to order employees to take these exams?

26. At what point would an employee’s venting qualify as a threat

27. When does a federal employee’s conduct amount to using a public position for private gain?

I have diabetes. Does that mean my agency should provide me with a reasonable accommodation?

29. What does it mean if a federal employee has been charged with failure to fulfill a condition of employment?

30. How much trouble can a federal employee get into for accidentally failing to file his federal tax returns?

31. What are consequential damages and when are they awarded to federal employees?

32. How much trouble can federal employees get in for cursing in the office?

33. Can an agency punish an employee for doing something not specifically prohibited by a written rule?

34.  I’m a probationary employee and my agency is trying to terminate me. Can I file an appeal with the MSPB?