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Overwhelmingly, the impact of sequestration is most direct when it comes to workers rights. In some cases, agencies will challenge or controvert claims, not because they actually have a good reason, but because the injury violates a rule, or simply will cost the agency more money than it wishes to spend. The Postal Service for example, will challenge claims in which a worker has an accident in their own vehicle while delivering mail, not because getting lost while delivering mail constitutes a diversion from duty, but because they don’t wish to spend money on the case and the workers’ car repairs.

In other instances, an agency may try to force an employee to waive compensation rights under the Federal Employees Compensation Act (FECA), in order to obtain light duty after an injury. Please know that under FECA regulations, THIS IS ILLEGAL! We had one client recently who wound up in precisely this situation after sustaining an ankle fracture, Achilles tendon rupture, and deep vein thrombosis during physical training for Police Officers. The agency wanted him to state he did not actually have a work injury, though OWCP had accepted the claim for the first two conditions.

Through forceful advocacy with the agency, the Pines Law Firm (Pines Federal )was able to help the Police Officer secure light duty, keep his compensation rights, get the deep vein thrombosis accepted, and obtain all delayed retroactive compensation. In situations such as the above, when your agency’s behavior becomes retaliatory, Pines Federal can provide a safety net, so budget cuts won’t mean your job is cut after an injury.

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Eric L. Pines is a nationally recognized federal employment lawyer, mediator, and attorney business coach. He represents federal employees and acts as in-house counsel for over fifty thousand federal employees through his work as a federal employee labor union representative.

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