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Private Sector and Federal Employee Law Blog

RIFs in the Trump Era: What is a RIF?

We're sure you've heard by now that President Trump is proposing massive layoffs to the federal government. But how can he do this, and what rules does he need to follow? Tune in for our three-part series on RIFs. Today we will discuss what a RIF is. On Wednesday, we will focus on appeals and grievances of RIF decisions. And finally, on Friday, we will discuss reemployment rights after a RIF.

What is a RIF and how does it work?

A RIF is a government layoff called a Reduction in Force. The federal government must abide by certain rights and protections when deciding who to layoff. Employees within specific geographic areas are ranked according to four factors: tenure, veteran's status, years of service, and performance ratings. The government is required to start from the bottom during RIFs.

What age discrimination means for older women in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is not uncommon and can stem from many factors including differences in race, religious preference, political affiliation, gender and age. In Washington, D.C., older people who desire to continue their employment or go back to work are often faced with judgments from their younger counterparts who may discredit qualifications based on age.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination is when someone treats an applicant or employee unfairly based on biases associated with age. By definition, older workers are a class of people who are aged 40 and above. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act provides protection for this class and forbids employers from making unfavorable decisions with reference to age, in job assignments and responsibilities, pay structure, and any of the other following situations:

  •          Training
  •          Promotion
  •          Hiring
  •          Termination
  •          Layoff
  •          Fringe benefits

Ensuring your Sick Leave is Properly Calculated

Are you a federal employee scheduled to take administrative leave? Ensure that the Agency is properly calculating your leave request.

Counting Use of FMLA Time

Employees may only be charged for hours that they were scheduled to work. Regulations state that if an employee requests 12 administrative work weeks of FMLA time, the employee may utilize 12 times what their normal schedule would be. For example, if an employee normally works 40 hours per week, the FMLA entitlement will be 480 hours, however if an employee normally works only 20 hours per week, the FMLA entitlement will be only 240 hours.

Counting Holiday Time

Any holidays authorized under 5 U.S.C. § 6103 or by Executive order, and nonworkdays established by Federal statute, Executive order, or administrative order that occur during the period in which the employee is on leave may not be counted toward the 12-week entitlement to family and medical leave.

Can employers turn down applicants over workers' comp costs?

When someone suffers an injury on the job, or already has a disability, their life may be difficult for many reasons. If you are in this position, you may have financial troubles, physical pain and other problems. However, if you are applying for a job, it is vital for you to know your rights and address any instances of disability discrimination that you encounter in Washington, D.C.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are generally not allowed to turn down job applicants solely because they assume that the job applicant is more likely to sustain an injury on the job, thereby raising workers' compensation costs. However, if an employer can prove that hiring a person will carry a direct threat due to job-related risks, this may be a valid reason to turn down someone's application. That said, employers cannot turn down applicants just because there are possible safety risks and they want to play it safe.

Can an employer discriminate against an employee for being obese?


In the United States, more than two thirds of the adult population is considered to be overweight or obese.

Unfortunately, some workplaces engage in discriminatory conduct against employees based on their personal appearance. This could include weight, height or another aspect of a person's appearance.

Discrimination over age rampant in the workplace

For those who experience age discrimination, daily life can be tough. Whether someone loses their job and suffers financial setbacks, such as being unable to pay their bills or buy food, or someone is unable to secure a position they are qualified for because of their age, all forms of unlawful age discrimination are unacceptable. In Washington, D.C., and across the U.S., those subjected to age discrimination may also have strong emotions, such as frustration, sadness and serious anxiety.

A study which was recently carried out found that age discrimination is still rampant in the workplace. As part of the study, researchers sent in over 40,000 false resumes which were the same, setting aside gender and age. Researchers discovered that there were fewer responses for workers who were older, particularly for those who were female.

2 disabled workers allege discrimination

From discrimination based upon an employee's gender to the rejection of an application solely because of a person's age, there are a number of examples of unlawful discrimination in the workplace. However, some workers may also find themselves facing discrimination because of their disability, which can be very devastating. In Washington, D.C., and across the United States, workers who believe they have been illegally discriminated against because of their disability should not hesitate to stand up for themselves.

Two disabled veterans who have been employed by a bank claim that they have been subjected to discrimination. According to the two employees, they are being forced to work longer hours and relocate to the bank's Washington D.C. headquarters, which would be especially difficult due to their disabilities. Furthermore, another employee, also a veteran with a disability, said that she was denied a promotion and is currently involved in a lawsuit with her employer.

Harassment at work: Understanding your rights


Every employee deserves to work in an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and other examples of unfair treatment. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

Harassment in the workplace can take many forms. It is generally defined as bullying or other behavior that is threatening, belittling or aggravating to another employee. Making fun of a co-workers religious practices or national origin, for example, may be considered harassment. Making jokes about an employee's age or disability may also be considered harassment.

Breaking: New Guidance from OPM Regarding Criminal and Financial Background Checks

On January 3, 2017, the Obama administration enacted a rule, "Recruitment, Selection, and Placement (General)" and "Suitability," designed to open federal employment to applicants who have been shut out of federal employment due to prior incarcerations or bad credit. Under the new rule, agencies can request an applicant's criminal or adverse credit history only after they make a conditional offer of employment. Agencies have until March 31, 2017, to come into compliance with the rule.

Employment contracts: security or shackles?

When a company in Washington, D.C., offers you an employment contract, you want to believe that the document is mutually beneficial. While it should protect you from unfair actions and assure the company that you plan to be a good employee, making the assumption that the contract does this could get you into a tight spot.

Your eyes may naturally be drawn to the section that talks about your pay and benefits, but according to, your financial success can be tied to other factors in the employment contract. For example, the employer may expect you to sign a noncompete agreement that keeps you from working in the field or starting your own company for months after your job ends. This could lead to a period of under- or unemployment at a time when you need the income the most. The contract could also forbid you to work for another employer, or for yourself, during your time with the company, tying you to the single income.

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  • AV Preeminent
  • AVVO | Newsweek
  • Bloomberg BNA | Law 360 | Government Executive
  • Ten Leaders | WUSA 90
  • SuperLawyers | Univision
  • Washingtonian | abc7 | The Washington Post
  • Lead Counsel Rated
  • Top Rated Lawyers AV | ThreeBest Rated
I have been a litigator for close to 20 years and Alan is most certainly one of the best attorneys I have ever come across.
Mr. Lescht is an excellent Trial Lawyer, He is calm, cool, and collected.
I also appreciated Alan's frankness and his ability to identify what is important and what is not when going through a case like this.
I would highly recommend Alan to anyone who needs an exceptional and incredibly talented Employment Attorney.
Mr. Lescht is an extraordinarily responsive attorney, returning my emails and phone calls within minutes. I would absolutely recommend him to anyone who thinks they may need a lawyer. Definitely incredible work.
I was impressed with his knowledge and professionalism, and I will always be grateful for his guidance.

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