Working for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) provides job security, benefits, and ample opportunity for career advancement. According to Glassdoor, about 68% of VA employees would recommend their position to a friend. The most common benefits of working for the VA include steady employment and good benefits, but the most common drawbacks include employees feeling overworked and facing discrimination.

Nurses and other Title 38 employees sometimes feel like they are unable to provide patients with the quality care they deserve, as well. Overall, most employees enjoy the sense of camaraderie and helping people that working at the VA provides but feel discouraged or frustrated with government rules and processes.

The VA Code of Integrity

VA employees are expected to abide by the Department’s Code of Integrity. The VA’s core values include:

  • Integrity
  • Commitment
  • Advocacy
  • Respect
  • Excellence

You can remember these core values with the acronym “I CARE.” Failure to adhere to the Code of Integrity could result in disciplinary action. When disciplining employees and making hiring and firing decisions, however, supervisors must respect their rights and stick to strict rules.

Prohibited Personnel Practices

All federal employees have rights, and prohibited personnel practices (PPPs) are never appropriate. PPS include:

  • Discrimination
  • Nepotism
  • Making employment decisions based on non-work-related factors
  • Giving unauthorized preference to certain candidates
  • Coercing employees into political activity
  • Deception
  • Obstructing competitive employment
  • Using personnel actions to punish employees for legally protected actions
  • Retaliating against a whistleblower
  • Firing an employee who has complained
  • Discriminating against an employee for protected conduct
  • Failing to consider all eligible applicants
  • Implementing a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) without informing employees of their rights
  • Accessing the medical record of an employee without reason

If you have been the victim of a PPP, you can file a written complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. You may also want to retain an attorney to help protect your rights.

Pines Federal can walk you through disciplinary actions and personnel decisions and support you during any conflicts you have with the VA.

We handle everything from wage and hour matters to employee leave, and we can help Title 5 employees, Title 38 employees (medical professionals), and hybrid employees (like social workers and speech pathologists).

Disputes and disagreements arise at every workplace but navigating them can be more difficult if you work for the VA or any other federal agency.

Don’t do it alone. Instead, call Pines Federal at (800) 801-0598 or contact us online to learn more about your rights and legal options.