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Internal Revenue Service

As a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and as one of the world's most efficient tax administrators, the IRS role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share. (Source: www.irs.gov)

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TheAmerican  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 2:24:13 AM(UTC)
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My friend was suspended for having more than 5 days AWOL in a calendar year back in 2020 and received a two week suspension without pay. Then COVID happened, and her job title Contact Representative GS-0962 became eligible for teleworking in an emergency evacuation order. She signed the teleworking agreement then and management accepted it.

She started teleworking with everyone else with no issues - for over 2 years - until yesterday where she received a contact memo from Labor Relations, basically citing IRC 6502(a)(2) that due to having 5 or more days AWOL in a calendar year, she is PERMANENTLY revoked from every teleworking ever again. It seems OPM's view that this is permanent, not that the statute states this specifically. It also cites either a suspension or downloading pornography/child pornography is the candidate from being barred from teleworking forever. What kind of ridiculous interpretation is this? Is there any recourse for her? She says the suspension paperwork makes no mention of a teleworking ban because teleworking did not exist yet for her job title!

There is guidance as of November 2021 that talks about all this, but it also mentions she should of been told all this in writing and it should of been timely. This is extremely disappointing as she carpools to work and now is forced to find alternative means to commute to work since I am still teleworking (I used to drive with her every day as we shared the same commute/hours). She is suffering from past consequences for something she was never made aware of, possibly if she was, she would of appealed it stronger or pursued alternative dispute resolution.

She is currently attempting to review her OPF file but she is very sad about all of this as she was so happy to being able to telework this whole time.. also she was told by the department manager that this would of fallen off after a year of "good behavior" some sort of 1 year probationary period.. so much for that.
Hired 2015  
#2 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 4:38:37 AM(UTC)
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The true history of teleworking isn't well explored in literature nor is it subject matter taught widely in schools.

Early experiments in the private sector where needs like storm damage caused employers to shift employees to working from home didn't really go all that smoothly. There were so many issues for local building codes, insurance, etc many of the telework programs that did exist were kept out of the mainstream job listings.

Teleworking agreements in the private sector that I am aware of always had zingers and rules that were mostly impossible to live up to. There were many telework programs I experienced that ran into gnarly legal issues & the corporate lawyers shut it down. I personally flourished in telework because I could exceed the metrics. Private sector tended to individualize telework agreements for situational needs. For example I had one telework situation where I had to work in the office for months at a stretch and then went home to work for months at a time. That situation relied on me living close to the office where the travel time to shift from one setting to the other was minimal.

A one size fits all telework agreement given my experience is going to have bumps for everyone. You are writing that missing story and literature in unchartered waters. Don't be fooled that its easy. It takes alot of professionalism and skills to stay on task working from home. Despite the great personal victory to achieve it you will change, the job changes and life changes. It might not be something you want in the future. The greatest skill I learned from it all was professional patience for all the things outside your control.




tic32003  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 6:50:44 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TheAmerican Go to Quoted Post
My friend


I'm kind of curious why "your friend" isn't asking for themselves.

But in any event, the answer you are looking for is here: https://www.telework.gov...es/employee-eligibility/

The Telework Enhancement Act

Quote:
...does specify two categories of employees who may not be deemed eligible under any circumstances:

1.an employee who "has been officially disciplined for being absent without permission for more than 5 days in any calendar year”



Seems pretty straight forward.

TheAmerican  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 9:07:24 AM(UTC)
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So straightforward to allow the employee to telework for 2 years with no issues, then take an event prior to the telework acceptance date to deny teleworking. That's straightforward to you?!
Catspajamas1811  
#5 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 9:25:18 AM(UTC)
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The only reason your friend was able to telework in the first place was because there was an emergency evacuation order, not anything else. Now the emergency order is over it would only make sense for it to default back to the original law unless a new law was passed. Actions have consequences.
teeeeej  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 9:51:51 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: TheAmerican Go to Quoted Post
So straightforward to allow the employee to telework for 2 years with no issues, then take an event prior to the telework acceptance date to deny teleworking. That's straightforward to you?!




The Evacuation Order forced all kinds of people to telework. It's to be expected that after the Evacuation ORder is over, people will revert to the pre-Covid rules.

Sounds like the AWOL will have lasting consequences - hope it was worth it!
TheAmerican  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, April 12, 2022 8:37:46 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: teeeeej Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: TheAmerican Go to Quoted Post
So straightforward to allow the employee to telework for 2 years with no issues, then take an event prior to the telework acceptance date to deny teleworking. That's straightforward to you?!




The Evacuation Order forced all kinds of people to telework. It's to be expected that after the Evacuation ORder is over, people will revert to the pre-Covid rules.

Sounds like the AWOL will have lasting consequences - hope it was worth it!


Nobody was forced into a teleworking agreement, it is strictly voluntary. There are numerous employees who sat home collecting a paycheck for 13 months without doing their jobs. The point is, a teleworking agreement was signed by the employee, and accepted by management. They are reneging on the agreement based on a prior event before the agreement was accepted. Nothing is cut dry when it comes to government policy.

If you review https://www.govinfo.gov/...partE-chap65-sec6502.htm it mentions a limitation, but nothing of permanence. OPM interprets it as such. You think a government entity opening up a national telework system is going to be fluid across the board? A telework agreement signed into law in 2010 did not have any interpretation for a global pandemic, only until the November 2021 guidance posted.
GWPDA  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, April 13, 2022 5:27:00 AM(UTC)
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You all might want to take a look at the paragraph following the one cited above (https://www.telework.gov/federal-community/telework-employees/employee-eligibility/) :

"Also, agencies should apply the provisions of the statute regarding eligibility prospectively. That is, ineligibility determinations should apply only to conduct or official discipline (e.g., discipline that is in the Official Personnel File) that occurred after the enactment of the Act."

As might OPM.
ashulein  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, April 13, 2022 6:22:08 PM(UTC)

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Originally Posted by: TheAmerican Go to Quoted Post


She started teleworking with everyone else with no issues - for over 2 years - until yesterday where she received a contact memo from Labor Relations, basically citing IRC 6502(a)(2) that due to having 5 or more days AWOL in a calendar year, she is PERMANENTLY revoked from every teleworking ever again. It seems OPM's view that this is permanent, not that the statute states this specifically. It also cites either a suspension or downloading pornography/child pornography is the candidate from being barred from teleworking forever. What kind of ridiculous interpretation is this? Is there any recourse for her? She says the suspension paperwork makes no mention of a teleworking ban because teleworking did not exist yet for her job title!


http://nteuchapter72.org...2-National-Agreement.pdf

Page 216- J

I believe this is what they are referencing based on how you are describing the scenario. "indefinitely when the alternative discipline agreement takes the place of a suspension." I don't know if it is correct but this really may be a matter of Labor Relations misinterpreting the contract (clearly she was not granted an alternative discipline agreement since she was, in fact, suspended) ... certainly something worth asking your union steward about since it may (or may not) be grievable.

Page 268- J

This goes over dispute resolution... which states "The Employer will place in writing its decision to deny a Telework request and provide the written decision to
the employee. Within ten (10) workdays of the employee’s receipt of the written decision to disapprove the request for Telework, the Union and/or employee may file a request for reconsideration of the denial to the first level Executive or designee in the employee’s chain-of-command." Assuming your friend is still within 10 workdays of the denial they really might want to speak to a steward and pursue reconsideration.

Hope that helps!

Edited by user Wednesday, April 13, 2022 6:34:15 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

TheAmerican  
#10 Posted : Thursday, April 14, 2022 12:20:05 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: ashulein Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: TheAmerican Go to Quoted Post


She started teleworking with everyone else with no issues - for over 2 years - until yesterday where she received a contact memo from Labor Relations, basically citing IRC 6502(a)(2) that due to having 5 or more days AWOL in a calendar year, she is PERMANENTLY revoked from every teleworking ever again. It seems OPM's view that this is permanent, not that the statute states this specifically. It also cites either a suspension or downloading pornography/child pornography is the candidate from being barred from teleworking forever. What kind of ridiculous interpretation is this? Is there any recourse for her? She says the suspension paperwork makes no mention of a teleworking ban because teleworking did not exist yet for her job title!


http://nteuchapter72.org...2-National-Agreement.pdf

Page 216- J

I believe this is what they are referencing based on how you are describing the scenario. "indefinitely when the alternative discipline agreement takes the place of a suspension." I don't know if it is correct but this really may be a matter of Labor Relations misinterpreting the contract (clearly she was not granted an alternative discipline agreement since she was, in fact, suspended) ... certainly something worth asking your union steward about since it may (or may not) be grievable.

Page 268- J

This goes over dispute resolution... which states "The Employer will place in writing its decision to deny a Telework request and provide the written decision to
the employee. Within ten (10) workdays of the employee’s receipt of the written decision to disapprove the request for Telework, the Union and/or employee may file a request for reconsideration of the denial to the first level Executive or designee in the employee’s chain-of-command." Assuming your friend is still within 10 workdays of the denial they really might want to speak to a steward and pursue reconsideration.

Hope that helps!


Yes, we have multiple fronts to fight this on, thank you for that, it's been just a few days.

One option is to appeal directly to the directorate and see if there's flexibility there.

Secondly, the union. The problem with our union chapter is that we cannot reach them. Phone number goes to voicemail, the chapter president does not respond to email, and we attempted the NTEU website and they redirect back to the chapter with the same phone number and email.

Thirdly, I believe this may fall under a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal, one of the criteria under their jurisdiction is 'OPM suitability eligibility'. OPM is saying she is not suitable, not her directorate, since the contact memo came from Labor Relations.

Fourth, their Nov 2021 Teleworking guidance is incorrect. OPM states that teleworking eligibility is permanently revocable due to a record of an adverse action if it is on the right side. However, adverse actions are a OPM-GOVT 3 file. Their published guide, The Guide to Personnel Recordkeeping, does not state a record of adverse action goes on the right side, additionally, the OPM-GOVT 3 file must be disposed of no less than 4 years and no greater than 7 years. Therefore, she should have a clean record 4-7 years from the date of the adverse action, regardless of the outcome. That is to say, her adverse action should typically have a disposal date, she is still attempting to access her eOPF to find that out.

The only materials that belong on the right side are who you are, your military records, and hiring/end/resumption dates, certification for eligibility for Veteran's preference (and other military records), basis for rating in a civil service examination, background investigation completion, nothing regarding adverse or punitive actions that I could find..

https://www.opm.gov/poli...keeping/recguide2011.pdf

Edited by user Thursday, April 14, 2022 12:31:22 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Hired 2015  
#11 Posted : Tuesday, April 19, 2022 2:10:07 PM(UTC)
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Telework is not SE. There are some realisms and rules that don't workout for everyone.
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