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Kristin Alden
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Kristin Alden’s Answers

38 total

  • What federal law governs a federal employee right to file a discrimination/retaliation complaint against the agency?

    It was my understanding a current or former federal employee of the agency had a right to file a discrimination/retaliation complaint and the agency and EEO were required by federal regulations to investigate and try to resolve the complaint. The...

    Kristin’s Answer

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    The EEO office is supposed to be neutral; it is not supposed discourage an individual from exercising his right to file a discrimination complaint. The applicable regulations for the agency’s processing of the complaint are at 29 C.F.R. § 1614. The EEOC has also issued essential guidance (google EEOC Management Directive 110). You can also find flow charts on-line that try to explain how the process works (search for images of EEO federal sector complaint processing). If the employee wishes to pursue the complaint, they should do so. If more than 45 days have passed since the last discriminatory/retaliatory event, the EEO office might claim that the complaint is untimely. There are several arguments against that claim, and the employee would be well served to talk with a lawyer who specializes in federal sector employment law. I can’t comment on the agency Director’s communications with Congress, as it’s not clear what the Congressman asked or the context of the agency’s response. If the EEO office told a Congressman that it refuses to use agency resources to process an employee’s (or former employee's) discrimination complaint, I would talk with a lawyer about that as well.

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  • How and what type of complaint to file as a federal government as employee for work place bullying by a supervisor?

    Work commitments are on an annual basis. My manager gets angry when I go to the next in line supervisor when he does not resolve issues relating to my performance. Therefore, he has put a one week deadline on a task which takes about 30 days to c...

    Kristin’s Answer

    You ask if your supervisor's actions are legal. Maybe, maybe not. The real issue is: what can you do about the unfair treatment? Depending on why the supervisor is doing this., your options might be different. In any case, it sounds like your supervisor is not giving you fair work assignments that can be completed in the time-frames. This kind of situation could lead to a performance based action, such as a performance improvement plan, or to some kind of conduct action. You should seriously consider talking to an attorney who knows federal sector employment law to help you figure out why this is happening and if there is anything you can do about it. If you're covered by a collective bargaining agreement, you might save yourself some money by starting with the union.

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  • Does an employer have access to your Public Trust form information?

    I need to get a Public Trust Clearance with my employer. All of the information that I fill out on the form for the Public Trust, is that visible to the employer? Are they allowed to see all of that information or is it just for the eyes of the ag...

    Kristin’s Answer

    In short, no, the employer does not see your form. When you apply for a security clearance, the people who review the clearance are an entirely different set of people from your managers / employer. Usually the employer only knows if you passed or failed the clearance.
    When you apply for a clearance, it's important to be truthful. For example, the SF-86 (the form used for national security) asks if you left a job by mutual agreement following notice of unsatisfactory performance and the true answer is "yes." But let's say also that you did not mention this on your resume or in your interview (and let's assume you did not lie during your application process). You should answer honestly. If this is a grey area for you, you might want to consult with an attorney on advice on how to answer difficult questions honestly and in a way to preserve the likelihood of passing the clearance.
    Obviously there are a host of other issues that might come up during the clearance review - drug use, arrests, convictions. If you have any concerns about any of the information the form elicits, it's worthwhile to consult a lawyer who is familiar with this territory.

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  • Wrongful termination options related to DCAA violations - also, no bonus or PTO paid upon termination

    I informed my employer, over the last 9 months, of many DCAA and government accounting violations - and my position was recently "eliminated" with no explanation, other than a "reorganization". I also was not paid my quarterly bonus, nor my earned...

    Kristin’s Answer

    Your situation raises several possible claims which you should review with an attorney. There might be a retaliation claim under federal law; there might be a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, depending on the state where you are employed (looks like you are in Virginia which has this claim).

    There may also be some sensitive procedural issues under the False Claims Act including a possible "qui tam" which is a kind of reward for folks who disclose fraud against the government in government contracting. However, there are very specific procedural requirements for this kind of claim and it's easy to make a mistake which cuts off some of your options/rights.

    To make sure you don't make any missteps that might limit your rights and possible claims, we encourage you not to talk with anyone, including any IG, until you have gotten advice from a firm experienced in whistleblowing reprisal. If you work in Virginia, you should seek a lawyer licensed in Virginia.

    Best of luck to you.

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  • Can a federal employee retire with an EEO pending against him/ her?

    I filed an EEO against a federal supervisor prior to him/ her retiring. EEO was processed late and thus the federal supervisor retired and I don't know what will happen now.

    Kristin’s Answer

    Yes you can. The retirement does not typically impact your ability to pursue your claim, but it might alter the amount of relief you can get if you win/settle. For example, if it's a non-promotion and you win, you would be entitled to a retroactive promotion with back pay and benefits (including increased retirement contributions) through to the date of your retirement, but you would not be entitled to any additional salary after your retirement date.

    Harassment / hostile work environment claims are a little more complicated. If you are / have retired because of the harassment, you should talk with a lawyer. The retirement might be a factor in how you characterize and argue your damages and might lead to its own claim, depending on the circumstances. This might apply also to situations where you have asked for an accommodation for a medical condition and, because the accommodation never happened, you feel forced to retire. This is a very case-specific analysis, so if you think this applies to you, we recommend talking to a lawyer promptly.

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  • Employment lawyer: 1) would management's direction have led to govn't waste and abuse? 2) am i a victim of retaliation?

    1) I am an employee of a military contractor 2 I was asked to perform a task to formulate an engineering item , on a DoD, cost plus type contract. 3) My request to management for necessary information to form the item was refused 4) At a me...

    Kristin’s Answer

    I agree that you should talk with a lawyer. Seek a lawyer who is specialized in whistle blowing and qui tam claims. I also recommend that you not talk with anyone other than a lawyer about your situation unless and until you get sound legal advice. For example, do not file any complaints with an IG until you know all your rights and options. This is a complicated field of law. Best of luck.

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  • Is the non-compete still enforceable considering any current efforts at my new employer could not impact the old employer?

    Left an employer recently where I had signed a 12-month non-compete agreement in the original employment agreement (signed in 2010). The agreement stipulated that I would not work on business opportunities at the same federal agencies as I had at ...

    Kristin’s Answer

    The law regarding non-competes is slightly different in VA, MD and DC, but all say that the non-compete must be reasonable. The "reasonableness" depends on several factors, including the length of time, the geographical exclusion, the industry, and the scope of activities. It's impossible to give an accurate answer without knowing which state controls the agreement and the exact language of the agreement. You should also look to the extenuating circumstances, with the suspended/disqualification of the government contractor. Without the agreement and knowing more, it's impossible to give an accurate answer and you should talk with a lawyer. When you do, be prepared to provide a copy of the agreement and all the information you have with your former employer, including the status of their disqualification/ suspension/ debarment, any appeals, etc. If you don't have this information, SAM (system for award management) information, might provide some of the data. You'll also want to know if your former company has exhausted all their appeals.

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  • Do you know of any attorneys who specialize in employment and disability law

    I am a disabled veteran as well as a federal gov't employee interested speaking to an attorney about filing a law suit

    Kristin’s Answer

    In your search for an attorney, it may be wise to focus on attorneys who are especially familiar with federal sector employment matters. With some exceptions, substantive law (e.g., "what is discrimination?") applies the same to corporations and government employees. However, the procedures and deadlines for federal employees are very different than the procedures and deadlines for private-sector employees. Additionally, if you are dealing with veteran's preference, that's a topic that federal sector employment attorneys are more likely to be familiar with. Federal employees typically have more rights than non-federal employees; veterans working for the government may have even broader rights, depending on the situation.

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  • I work for the Fed Govt & am under FMLA. I used all my FMLA hrs for the yr, but the yr's up in March. I'm afraid I'll get fired.

    I turned in a Reasonable Accommodation req to use LWOP for any leave until March 3 wks ago. The deadline to respond was Tues. Instead the Reasonable Accommodation Coord sent an e-mail saying that the agency couldn't make the deadline, but will let...

    Kristin’s Answer

    You have raised several issues. Without knowing all the details of your situation, it's impossible to give on-point advice. That being said, however, here are a few things for you to consider: a) initiate an informal EEO complaint regarding the current failure to accommodate (but see "c", below); b) apply for advanced sick leave and/or sick leave through the leave bank (if you are not familiar with the leave bank, talk with the RA coordinator and HR); c) you mention a grievance -- if you are a bargaining unit employee, then you have a collective bargaining agreement that may be apply -- but then you also have to choose to pursue EEO claims through the CBA OR the EEO office but you cannot do both; d) talk with a lawyer (and show the lawyer a recent SF50 which will give a hint of what your rights may be); e) learn your rights now so you will be prepared with a plan if the agency does try to take action against you.

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  • My job is based on my honesty of following codes and project spec. Was slanderous statement by contractor VP do I have case.

    I am an inspector on a project and my ethics is a must. However a VP from the main contractor sent an email to my supervisor and his boss stating I took a key off there employees desk and that this needs to stop. Now my job has caused this contrac...

    Kristin’s Answer

    If you work for the federal government, you legal rights and obligations may be very different than if you work in the private sector. Under either scenario, if you are pointing out that the contractor is not complying with the contract, you might be protected under whistleblower laws. To determine which laws might apply and whether you might have any rights or claims, you should talk with a lawyer and identify the following: a) your employer; b) the type of contract (DoD or other gvt contracts have particular rules that apply) ; c) the types of violations; and d) if employed in the private sector, in which state are you employed, do you have an employment contract, and does the employer have an employee manual.

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