Executive Order 13839: Reflections on Accountability and Streamlined Disciplinary Actions

As we quickly approach the one-year anniversary of the Executive Order Promoting Accountability & Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent with Merit System Principles, we at FEDS Protection believe that while the Executive Order may not have had the impact on the overall federal workforce many anticipated, the spillover effects on the lives of federal managers has left them vulnerable to unprecedented rates of discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblower reprisal allegations.

Overall, it seems that agencies are emboldened by the Executive Order or feel compelled by the Executive Order to take disciplinary action against employees at a rate not seen before, even for minor infractions.  Perhaps the biggest impact of the Order is that it has restricted the agency’s ability to resolve complaints associated with disciplinary or performance-based actions by “cleaning up” or altering the record of such actions.  Other notable impacts that we see are that agencies appear to be using the misconduct procedures to address issues which have historically been addressed as performance-based actions and/or shortening the performance improvement period (PIP) from the traditional 60-90 day period to 30 days when they do take a performance-based action.  As a result, employees are losing faith and trust in the “process” they are afforded to challenge such actions and are availing themselves to more proactive measures, such as EEO or other complaints against the management officials themselves. 

And managers are not immune by any means from unwarranted personnel actions.  At FEDS Protection we have witnessed a surge in minor managerial infractions, such as failing to supervise or failure to hold employees accountable—all infractions that would have previously resulted in verbal reprimands or simple counseling meetings turned into serious disciplinary actions.  In fact, we have even seen managers being held accountable for the underlying misconduct of subordinate employees, all in the name of accountability.  Despite that this is the unfortunate reality of today’s federal workplace, we still have federal employees calling FEDS Protection asking for legal representation for an on-going investigation or matter without having a professional liability insurance (PLI) policy in place.

FEDS Protection can provide you with the representation you need if you ever find yourself in these situations. FEDS Protection provides coverage in three areas – administrative, civil and criminal. It is important to understand that this is an insurance policy and you must have FEDS Protection in place prior to knowledge of an incident that could result in a claim – or coverage will be denied.

The application process takes five minutes. Enroll online at www.fedsprotection.com  or over the phone at 866-955-FEDS.

Posted in Manager Matters

Tags: FEDS, FEDS Professional Liability Insurance, federal professional liability insurance, professional liability insurance, professional liability insurance for feds

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