Religious Compensatory Time Challenges for Managers
In a recent IG report, employee abuse of Religious Compensatory Time (RCT) at the EPA resulted in big payouts and potential additional payouts.
Lack of guidance, weakness in management, and inadequate controls were identified as the reasons this abuse was allowed to happen. One of the recommendations made by the OIG was to develop training on the proper use of RCT and require all EPA managers approving, and employees using, RCT to complete the course. While this is a solid recommendation, even with extensive training, effectively managing and monitoring an employee’s use of RCT, at any agency, could be difficult for the individual federal manager.
Incidents involving employees requesting RCT should be handled with care, especially to avoid discipline for the improper handling of an employee’s request, and/or to avoid an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) claim. If you are presented with the possibility of an administrative investigation resulting from a religious or RCT matter, especially one that involves media attention or public scrutiny, get your own personal attorney to represent your interests. Remember – it is the job of the agency attorney to represent the agency which could result in an agency defense that is adverse to your own. This is one of the reasons all managers should have professional liability insurance (PLI) in place. This type of policy would also provide an attorney to defend the manager in an EEO complaint that was filed by an employee alleging discrimination based on religion. With the strides the government has made in recent years reducing inequality and discrimination in the workplace, the occurrence of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints, unfortunately, has steadily risen.
Federal managers must continue to improve at effectively dealing with individual employees who may engage in unethical behaviors. The majority of your employees will fulfill their mission with integrity and passion, but it is absolutely necessary for you to keep in mind that you could be held personally responsible for an individual who would abuse agency policies for his or her own personal gain.
FEDS is there to protect managers whose decisions, actions, or inactions in the performance of duties lead to an agency investigation or discipline. To learn more, visit fedsprotection.com or call 866.955.FEDS today.
FEDS provides professional liability insurance for the entire federal management community. For information on your specific exposures, how professional liability insurance protects you, or how the FEDS program differs from other insurance programs, visit us at fedsprotection.com.
Posted in Manager Matters
Tags: FEDS, religious holidays, compensatory time off for religious observances, FEDS Professional Liability Insurance, federal professional liability insurance, professional liability insurance, professional liability insurance for feds