News from the Supreme Court: On November 15, 2013, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) appealed the August 20, 2013, en banc decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Kaplan v. Conyers and MSPB, Case No. 2011-3207, to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has discretion on which cases it takes for appeal, and so this AFGE appeal is more formally referred to as a petition for a writ of certiorari (or 'cert petition'). Passman & Kaplan previously analyzed Conyers in this blog and in its Federal Legal Corner.
Developments at the EEOC: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently issued new guidance concerning complaints from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees on the EEOC website. This guidance, Processing Complaints of Discrimination by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Federal Employees, caps off the Commission's long-term trend of extending the federal sector EEO complaints process to cover claims of discrimination previously excluded as 'sexual orientation' complaints.
Developments at the MSPB: On November 8, 2013, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) published a Solicitation of Public Comments in the Federal Register (78 Fed.Reg. 67,076-67,077). Comments are due December 9, 2013.
Developments at the MSPB: On October 30, 2013, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued four decisions in whistleblower reprisal cases, all containing favorable holdings for employees. These cases show the ripple effects of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012 (WPEA) on the MSPB's case law, a topic previously discussed in this blog and in Passman & Kaplan's Federal Legal Corner, as well as an overall trend of more favorable outcomes in whistleblower reprisal cases.
News on Security Clearances: On October 31, 2013, Judge Huvelle of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued the latest decision on the long-running matter of Rattigan v. Holder, a case which focuses on the nexus (connection) between discrimination law and security clearances.
Developments at the OSC: On October 29, 2013, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced the settlement of a complaint against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for misconduct in the hiring process.
Developments at the OSC: On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) issued its annual report to Congress for Fiscal Year 2012. This report demonstrated greatly increasing enforcement activity by OSC, but also increased hurdles for cases reaching the investigation stage and increased case backlogs.
Developments at OPM: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published a Proposed Rule in the August 30, 2013 edition of the Federal Register (78 Fed.Reg. 53,695-53,700) for religious accommodations for federal employees. Comments on this Proposed Rule must be received by OPM by October 29, 2013.
Developments at OGE: On August 19, 2013, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) issued a new legal advisory discussing the effects of the Supreme Court's recent decision in United States v. Windsor on federal ethics rules. In Windsor, which was previously analyzed in this blog, the Court struck down the provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act which had set the default definition of "marriage" as excluding same-sex marriages.