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DAC1975  
#1 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 1:17:07 AM(UTC)
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I was hoping someone could help me understand a statement from a DoD employee in a mangment position.
 
"As a DoD Civilian , I can make you do anything." "That's why we made all the positionss Government Civilians". This person is referencing the "Other duties" in job descriptions.
DAC19752009-11-18 11:13:33
Copper  
#2 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 2:35:51 AM(UTC)
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In a nutshell---yes your boss can require you to do the work assigned under the typical job decription item "other duties as assigned".  Failing to follow instuctions could lead to dismissal.    In all my years of service I do not recall a single successful challenge to a claim that "it's not in my job description".   I do recall seeing a few job description re-written to include a task being challenged, however.   I also recall seeing a few people receiving the opportunity to find employment elsewhere.  Sometimes at performance review time a person received a lower than expected rating too.  In a union shop, there may or may not be recourse depending on the contract.  Bottomline---a boss has a right to assign work.  Choose your battles wisely and good luck.
DAC1975  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 3:29:38 AM(UTC)
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This statement is a required element of civilian job descriptions, allowing managers to assign work to employees without being confined by the contents of the job descriptions themselves. Duties not described in employees' job descriptions but assigned to employees should be reasonably related to the employee's position and qualifications. In emergency situations, duties which might not be reasonably assigned to an employee's position may have to be assigned.
kg78  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 4:02:04 AM(UTC)
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If it's legal and ethical, why argue with it?  If you're regularly being asked to do job duties that aren't in your description that you absolutely hate, and they're not related to your job, it sounds like you have an unreasonable boss anyway.  Why not just look for a job elsewhere?  I'd rather look for a job where I'm happy and have a boss I work well with than argue every little detail of my job with a boss who is unreasonable.
 
Thankfully, here, I don't have to. :)  I just went to my boss today with a complaint (not about her, but my job), she agreed with me, and it's all being worked out!  Life is too short to be in a position you hate with people who make your life difficult.
TheFrederalGovt  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 4:21:25 AM(UTC)
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kg78 wrote:
If it's legal and ethical, why argue with it?  If you're regularly being asked to do job duties that aren't in your description that you absolutely hate, and they're not related to your job, it sounds like you have an unreasonable boss anyway.  Why not just look for a job elsewhere?  I'd rather look for a job where I'm happy and have a boss I work well with than argue every little detail of my job with a boss who is unreasonable.
 
Thankfully, here, I don't have to. :)  I just went to my boss today with a complaint (not about her, but my job), she agreed with me, and it's all being worked out!  Life is too short to be in a position you hate with people who make your life difficult.
 
Exactly. Everyday you hear about people taking a sizeable paycut to work for the feds, just so they dont have to constantly stress about losing their jobs. You will find that deciding to work in a possibly lower-paying but positive working environment is the biggest decision one makes aside from whom to marry. :)
nellie2  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 5:01:27 AM(UTC)
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This statement is not a required element of civilian job desriptions, althoug some agencies may want it in there.  Many agencies moved away from using it years ago because, as several have pointed out here, you can be required to complete any task that management tells you to.
DAC1975  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 5:50:07 AM(UTC)
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I have learned alot about what to look for in possible jobs. When sitting in an interview and the interviewer asks "Do you have any questions?" I hve a list to be asked now. I try to do everyhting and anything in and out above and beyond to get the mission complete, but this, this is just tourture...luckly people move on..
Brothaman  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 9:17:19 AM(UTC)
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What that statement is suppose to mean, were for duties like, Safety coordinator, Training coordinator, HR liason, Building coordinator etc. It was being abused to the point, where the employee could not be evaluated correctly.

I know a person who's job title is 0343, but they are doing 2005 work. Imagine what can happen, if this person were to move to another agency.



Knight  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, November 18, 2009 11:41:52 AM(UTC)
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In other posts I have mentioned that "other duties as assigned" can also be trash detail, buff the floor, weeds and seeds, paint the rocks and clean the toilets. Some folk try to through in the "Within reason" statement but if my superiors can do the job I can't see me saying I can't. My office does not have maid service so we all chip in, military and civilian as needed and my boss loves to show his buffer and toilet brush skills.
bmj2  
#10 Posted : Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:09:06 AM(UTC)
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Knight, you are so correct.  I've done all those things and more.  The real issue I have with the "other" duties is how it get's out of scale.  That is, it should be a small percentage of the duty day.  If it get's to be significant, then the overall org structure is wrong.  If I spend 25% of my day on misc admin work, and so do the other engineers in the office, that's 2-3 additional labor years we are paying engineer time for that could easily be done by someone else, just in our office.  It's not cost effective.  If there's that much other stuff, management needs to hire appropriately.  And frankly, a good secretary is going to do that stuff much better than I can.  He or she (yes, I've worked with male secrataries) is trained for it.  I'm not.
 
For example, a few years ago, we spent several weeks painting our building because management could not afford to pay for a painting crew.  Well the true cost to the government was about $80K by using us under the "other duties" task vs the $25K it would have cost to pay a painting contractor. 
 
I also hate using the "other" task to cover for a contractor who is failing to do the job the government is paying for.  It's not a question of whether we should or shouldn't do the work, but a if the contractor isn't performing, correct the contract, don't have us pick up afterward.
bmj22009-11-19 19:21:04
Knight  
#11 Posted : Thursday, November 19, 2009 8:39:07 PM(UTC)
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I agree with you 100%
mudpie  
#12 Posted : Thursday, November 19, 2009 9:18:56 PM(UTC)
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While the DoD mindset is carried over to the civilian workforce by prior military members that are now civilian managers, Title 5 and OPM guidelines do limit the misconception of "other duties as assigned."

Those additional duties must be within the OPM job qualification standards of the GS series the employee was classified and certainly at a level commensurate with the individuals grade.

For example, asking a GS-12 to paint rocks won't fly, neither will ordering a IT Specialist to cut grass.
However, adding an additional duty, such as alternate COMSEC Manager, is permissible.

If challenged by a seasoned GS employee, the supervisor will most definitely lose and could be
setting themselves up for a "hostile workplace" EEO complaint.
Furthermore, those actions would cross the line between exempt and non-exempt workforces as defined under the Fair Standards Labor Act.

The "performs other duties as assigned" clause, which is commonly abused, as defined by OPM shall be understood to mean minor or incidental tasks related to the position being described. For example, a position description would not need to describe the need for "filing" paperwork or attend meetings, which are related to the PD.

Sure you can hold it over an employees head during the evaluation period, but then your adding fuel to the fire for a Retaliation EEO complaint.

Best bet is to ask for volunteers, but not penalize those who refuse. You can shift the work of one who volunteers to one that does not, as long as it is not repeated and becomes the norm. That would create a hostile work environment as well.

Other suggestions:

1. Hire a contractor.
2. Contact the COTR if the contractor is not performing within the Scope of Work.
3. Assign a military member to do the work.
4. Put in a work order with post/base civil engineering.


mudpie2009-11-20 05:43:28
StellaMaris  
#13 Posted : Friday, November 20, 2009 3:17:13 AM(UTC)
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Mudpie,
 
Thanks for a simple, to the point response. 
Great Spirit, let me not judge another until I have walked in his moccasins a moon or two.
Knight  
#14 Posted : Friday, November 20, 2009 8:32:30 AM(UTC)
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This is BS. 3. Assign a military member to do the work.
 
Why would a civilian not be selectable to do a job but the corresponding military person could? Too many civilian refuse to do something they don't like, have a sickout to not work a shift they don't want and file grievances when they are caught doing wrong.
 
My example: Civvy wants Friday off but we are gearing up to bomb something in Iraq and he is the lead IT person for the night crew supporting the intel and predator flyers. I assign him the task a week in advance, it is during his normal duty shift (3 pm - 11 pm) but on Thur he wants to take leave. I deny leave and suddenly he comes down sick. I replace him with myself after I worked all day. After the operation was over I go to the local club to see him partying with friends. Monday, I charge him with leave abuse and suddenly I have a EEO complaint since I was not taking his personal desires in to consideration when giving assignments.
 
Give me a break. Everyone but him and his union rep think I will win this one but still, really. We are in the business of taking lives, or supporting those that do. In my opinion, I would fire him if I could. But before I do, I am going to make him clean the toilets.
mudpie  
#15 Posted : Sunday, November 22, 2009 9:04:16 PM(UTC)
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Knight:

For the example you posted: I agree with you. The subject was trying to work the system. Stick to your guns. The EEO won't fly, but the investigation still has to happen. I would charge the individual with unprofessional conduct through a personnel action. You gave enough notice and assuming subject did not provide a doctor's note for the illness on the verge of a military exercise, I would do my best to research the proper personnel actions and move forward.

EEO complaint are most often for a violation of a protected class. Being sick is not a protected class. (Assuming only the facts you gave us).

However, you must remember that civilian employees are definitely different when considering work assignments, leave, pay etc.

Oosik  
#16 Posted : Sunday, November 22, 2009 9:29:13 PM(UTC)
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Knight wrote:
This is BS. 3. Assign a military member to do the work.
 
Why would a civilian not be selectable to do a job but the corresponding military person could? Too many civilian refuse to do something they don't like, have a sickout to not work a shift they don't want and file grievances when they are caught doing wrong.
 
My example: Civvy wants Friday off but we are gearing up to bomb something in Iraq and he is the lead IT person for the night crew supporting the intel and predator flyers. I assign him the task a week in advance, it is during his normal duty shift (3 pm - 11 pm) but on Thur he wants to take leave. I deny leave and suddenly he comes down sick. I replace him with myself after I worked all day. After the operation was over I go to the local club to see him partying with friends. Monday, I charge him with leave abuse and suddenly I have a EEO complaint since I was not taking his personal desires in to consideration when giving assignments.
 
Give me a break. Everyone but him and his union rep think I will win this one but still, really. We are in the business of taking lives, or supporting those that do. In my opinion, I would fire him if I could. But before I do, I am going to make him clean the toilets.
 
Knight,  How dare you put work ahead of a personally enriching experience for this employee?
 
Actually, I hope you threw the book at him.  he should be charged AWOL and be given a suspension at a minimum and given the seriousness of the mission, removal is not out of bounds.  The Douglas Factors do not require progressive discipline if you have a serious incident and he will be extremely hard to trust in the future.   If the situation is as you state, no investigator is going to have a difficult time finding for the agency.  Recognize also that an investigation is a two way street.  You will be able to suggest lines of questioning such as his actual "illness" and his presence at the club.
mudpie  
#17 Posted : Sunday, November 22, 2009 10:15:08 PM(UTC)
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Knight:

Since you were acting in the performance of your position, you should be entitled to legal counsel at the government's expense. I suggest looking into this with HR before you commit to a EEO Counselor's interview.

Red223  
#18 Posted : Monday, November 23, 2009 1:23:50 AM(UTC)
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There were 2 Federal Wage Grade employee's at the WG-10 as Heavy Equipment Mechanics that were "detailed" to go around the installation to sheetrock and paint offices for the Installation Commander. It all started out when they did their break room and the next thing you know.......they were detailed permanently to be sheetrock-wall painters and doing nice trim work along with maybe putting down carpet. For the 2 years I worked there, they never touched a wrench or a vehicle.

I asked them personally why they were doing that detail when it was not in their job position.

They laughed. They worked at their own pace, did as they wished, got longer lunches....and the work they did should have paid half.

They both are retired WG-10's in California now that America actually lost money on.

If your boss wants to detail you to scrub the toilets for the next 5 years. Do it with a smile laughing all the way to the bank.

There are quite a few Americans doing so right now. Technically it was fraud waste and abuse, the Federal Agency I won't mention already had employed people to do the sheetrock/painting, well over a dozen of them. They just didn't have any skills.

We all know people that don't do their job descriptions and still get paid. Multiply them across the entire Federal Government....sick isn't it? Or funny, if you are one of the lucky few laughing all the way to the BANK.

overpaid  
#19 Posted : Monday, November 23, 2009 12:05:34 PM(UTC)
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Look we have thousands of CS showing up everyday and fail to put in 8 hours, play of the computer or sit in the break room. That is were the real waste fraud and abuse is
booger1  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, November 24, 2009 5:50:01 AM(UTC)
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Tongue
As a Classification Specialist, I can tell you other duties as assigned" should never be more than 20%, even that is too high.   Usually 5 to 10%.
 
There are reasons for this and it kinds depends on your grade and series, lower graded, one-grade interval work in clerical for example may have a higher % of other duties as assigned and ususally this work is lower graded misc work.
 
Now, if you are a GS-343-12 and you supervisor continually gives you what you believe is GS-13 work more than 5 or 10% of your normal work then I would gather up each and every time you do the higher graded work, complie it by like work, and request a desk audit.  If the work occurs on a regular and reoccurring basis at least 25% or more of the time in a 52 week period..mgmt. is either going to have to remove assigning you the higher graded work, advertise a new position, or non-comp promote you.  It is their choice how to assign work.
 
It is not a bad idea you be assigned higher graded work to give you more experience so when a job comes up, you can be competitive, but if they use this to continually give you higher graded work whether you be one grade or two grade interval, request a desk audit and if you working within a Union make sure you contact them too.  File a pre-grievance if need be, giving them so much time to conduct the review.
 
If you boss says you can't request a desk audit..have he or she put it in writing and why and file a grievance or take it to OPM.  Have he or she take a look at the law for filing classification desk audits on the opm website.
 
Good luck!
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