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Federal Employees News Digest : March 4, 2013
INSIGHT by Mike Causey continued from page 1 Kristi Dougherty General Manager Phil Piemonte Managing Editor Sherkiya Wedgeworth Online Managing Editor Becky Fenton Circulation Manager Nathan Abse Writer Mike Causey Columnist Edward Zurndorfer Columnist Published by 1105 Government Information Group, Anne Armstrong, President. 1105 Government Information Group is part of 1105 Media, Inc. Neal Vitale, CEO. Corporate Headquarters: 1105 Media, Inc. 9201 Oakdale Ave., Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311 www.1105media.com Office: 8609 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 500 Vienna, VA 22182-2215 Phone: Editorial: (703) 891-8554 Subscriptions: (800) 989-3363 Fax: (703) 876-5130 Internet: www.FederalDaily.com Subscription Rates: 1 year---$99 Site Licenses are available: E-mail: FENDsitelicense@ FederalDaily.com For single article reprints (in minimum quantities of 250-500), e-prints, plaques and posters contact: PARS International Phone: (212) 221-9595 E-mail: email@example.com www.magreprints.com/QuickQuote.asp The Comptroller General has ruled that federal agen- cies and departments may buy Federal Employees News Digest publications with government funds. This decision is No. B-185591. Federal Tax ID 20-4583700. DUNS #612031414. FEDERAL EMPLOYEES NEWS DIGEST (ISSN 1065-0970) is published weekly except first week in January and last week in December by 1105 Media, Inc., 9201 Oakdale Avenue, Suite 101, Chatsworth, CA 91311. Annual subscription rate is: US $99. Subscription inquiries and customer service: Mail to: Federal Employees News Digest, PO Box 15428, N. Hollywood, CA 91615-5428, customerservice@feder- aldaily.com or call (800) 989-3363, fax (818) 487-4550. © Copyright 2013 by 1105 Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproductions or distribution in whole or part prohibited except by site license or reprint purchase. The information in this newsletter has not undergone any formal testing by 1105 Media, Inc. and is dis- tributed without any warranty expressed or implied. Implementation or use of any information contained herein is the reader's sole responsibility. While the information has been reviewed for accuracy, there is no guarantee that the same or similar results may be achieved in all environments. Technical inaccuracies may result from printing errors and/or new develop- ments in the industry. This publication's subscriber list, as well as other lists from 1105 Media, Inc., is available for rental. For more information, please contact our list manager, Merit Direct. Phone: (914) 368-1000; E-mail: 1105media@ meritdirect.com; Web: www.meritdirect.com/1105. March 4, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 31 2 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com didn't need to be mailed. Labor offered to pay any fines or court costs contrac- tors had if there was a backlash to not sending out the alerts. Now that sequestration is upon us--- and Congress took a six-day vacation--- the White House has told departments and agencies to publicize their worst- case scenarios. DOD says it will fur- lough between 700,000 and 800,000 civilians one day a week for up to 22 days. Justice has warned that law enforcement operations (like the FBI) will be hard hit. Agriculture says food inspections could be slowed to the point where some processors might go out of business. Interior says it may have to shutter some national parks. The White House says hundreds of thousands of private-sector jobs will disappear and unemployment will jump if sequestration happens. Other stuff could happen, too. Washington-based lawyers who spe- cialize in federal personnel matters are salivating at the prospect of furloughs caused by sequestration. Can you say Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Merit Systems Protection Board claims? The sequestration-triggered fur- loughs would be the first under new guidelines which seem to permit unlimited awards claims the govern- ment would have to pay out if the EEOC or MSPB ruled they had dis- criminated against, or treated some employees unfairly and illegally. Previously the cap for such awards and the all-important legal fees that come with them had been $300,000. At $10,000 to $15,000 a pop to process cases that take an average of four months, according to one legal specialist, the government could be flooded by cases brought by employees who don't want to get furloughed. Under the so-called "protected class" definition, just about everybody is a member of a protected class because of age, race, color, creed, sex and disability. Individual employees could demand that the government supply them with all furlough-related documents, memos and guidebooks (including the 394-page Office of Management and Budget guide) as part of their case against the government. The govern- ment also could be compelled to supply data showing the age, race, sex, etc., of people furloughed to establish if the furloughs in their agencies had a "dis- parate impact" on one group, but not another, and were therefore illegal or discriminatory. Military veterans could also claim veterans' preference seniority in fur- lough situations. Non-veterans, in theory, could also claim they were being discriminated against if vets weren't furloughed and they were. Union members, and nonmembers part of a bargaining unit, would have the right to negotiate terms of fur- loughs. Attorney John Mahoney, who chairs the labor and employment law practice group of Washington, D.C., law firm Tully Rinckey, said the legal actions that might arise from furlough back- lash could cost the government as much as the across-the-board seques- tration cuts would save. Because of the 30-day notification process, Mahoney says none of the furloughs could begin until sometime in March and that various appeals and consultations could push them into April. Since furloughs are for the current fiscal year. they would have to be completed by Sept. 30, unless Congress and the White House change the rules again. Bottom line: Nobody knows how or when this will play out. But if it hap- pens. it could give a new meaning to the term "federal case."
Feb. 25, 2013
March 11, 2013