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  • Pretext Part 4: Treating Some Employees Differently Than Others

    In our previous pretext posts The Real Reason For An Adverse Action , Shifting Explanations and Unbelievable Stories ,and Irregular Process and Agency Reasons That Don't Add Up we talked about pretext and outlined some common types of evidence a federal employee attorney can use to show an agency’s stated reason for an adverse action are a pretext. Today, we will examine an example of a federal ...
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  • Pretext Part 3: Irregular Process and Agency Reasons That Don't Add Up

    In our previous posts The Real Reason For An Adverse Action , and Shifting Explanations and Unbelievable Stories , we discussed four ways a federal employee’s attorney can show an agency has given a false pretext for discrimination, and talked about two forms of evidence: Shifting explanations and lack of credibility in the agency’s reasons for its adverse action. Today, we will discuss a second ...
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  • Pretext Part 2: Shifting Explanations and Unbelievable Stories

    In our previous post The Real Reason For An Adverse Action , we briefly discussed the most common ways a federal employee’s attorney can show an that an adverse agency action was based on discrimination, even though the agency offered another reason as cover for the action. In this post, we will look at a 2009 EEOC case where two U.S. Postal Service workers were able to prove the agency ...
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  • Pretext Part 1: The Real Reason For An Adverse Action

    We virtually never see cases where an agency acts against a federal employee for an openly discriminatory reason. Supervisors, after all, are smart enough not to write “I didn’t give Suzy a WGI because she refused to go on a date with me” on a performance review. Instead, when supervisors or managers have it in for an employee, they come up with plausible sounding reasons – “pretexts” – for an ...
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  • How Important Is The Doctor's Letter For OPM Disability Retirement When I Have A Mental Disability?

    Individuals with mental disabilities, such as Anxiety, Depressive Disorder, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, rarely come along with a medical file of irrefutable diagnostic evidence of the existence of said conditions. There are no X-rays or laboratory tests that will provide black-and-white proof of these diagnoses, leaving the burden of the decision up to the treating physician. When faced ...
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  • How Does Veterans Disability Interact with OPM Disability Retirement?

    There are numerous Federal programs which, collectively, can offer generous benefits to eligible individuals, and all that is required to flesh out the maximum benefit is sufficient understanding to distinguish between each one. The above title represents a common Federal program interplay concern among disabled vets who have either established a service-connected disability and are receiving ...
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  • I was rejected for Social Security Disability Insurance. Can I still get OPM Disability Retirement?

    Social Security Disability Insurance requires the applicant to be unable to perform Substantial Gainful Employment as a result of their medical condition, which would essentially disqualify the applicant from working at almost any job in order to meet this condition. OPM Disability Retirement , however, only demands that the applicant be unable to perform one or more critical elements of their ...
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  • Do I need to request Reasonable Accommodation if I want OPM Disability Retirement?

    For a federal employee with this concern, here are two illustrative examples to consider: The federal employee is in a position that requires onsite presence, and has a severely disabling medical condition that prevents them from coming to work at all; or perhaps their disability leads to unacceptable communication in an interaction-heavy position description. The employee is 100% positive that ...
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  • Qualifying for OPM Disability Retirement

    “ While employed in a position subject to FERS, the employee must have become disabled because of a medical condition , resulting in a deficiency in performance, conduct, or attendance” So says OPM in listing the five absolute requirements for Disability Retirement eligibility. This condition seems to be quite simple to meet, and it is – if your doctor penning the Physician’s Statement is ...
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  • Denied OPM Disability Retirement? Here's What You Should Do

    You’ve received your initial decision from OPM Disability Retirement , and you’ve been denied. Now What? Many federal employees who receive a negative decision are cowed by the jargon that is the explanation of the decision and don’t stop to consider that they may actually have a tremendous amount of arsenal to give their reconsideration appeal a shot of potency. Factors Considered in OPM ...
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  • EEOC's Fiscal Year 2016 Performance Report

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) secured over $482.1 million for workers who have experienced discrimination in the private, state and local government, and federal workplaces during the fiscal year 2016, which ended on September 30. The following is a breakdown of the total awards: $347.9 million for employment discrimination plaintiffs in private sector, as well as state ...
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  • Mental Disorders without Objective Medical Evidence

    A valid concern for federal employees with a mental disorder is fear that their application for OPM Disability Retirement is doomed from the start due to a dearth of objective medical evidence confirming the diagnosis. When Mental Health Affects Job Performance Take a woman who has been employed by the federal government for over twelve years and who has experienced increasing anxiety issues. Her ...
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  • Why You Should Include All of Your Diagnoses in the OPM Disability Retirement Application

    When completing the SF 3112A, one of the first questions requires you to list your diagnoses for which you are claiming disability. The instinctive response is generally to list only the diagnoses that your physician detailed in the statement provided in support of your OPM Disability Retirement application. At Pines Federal , our Houston federal employee attorneys check with our clients whether ...
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  • EEOC Defending Reasonable Accommodations in Drug Testing Policy

    On August 24th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC ) filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against a car dealership (Bell Leasing, Inc.), alleging that its policy for drug testing did not possess exceptions for qualified individuals with disabilities. The EEOC claims that the employer made a job offer to an applicant. However, when she tested ...
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  • What is a "Qualified" Federal Employee for a Disability Reasonable Accommodation Request?

    The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that Federal Employees requesting reasonable accommodation be "Qualified" to do their jobs before entitlement to a reasonable accommodation. What does it mean to be a Qualified Employee under the ADA? Practically it means that an employee must be able to do the essential functions of their job with or without an accommodation. For example, we recently had a ...
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