False Job Classifications at ATF Lead to Increased Scrutiny
An Office of Special Counsel (OSC) investigation found that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been inaccurately classifying many jobs as law enforcement positions. Because of this misclassification, the agency overpaid the employees affected by more than $20 million and provided them with entitlements to benefits to which employees in their position are not supposed to receive.
The investigation was brought on by complaints from two whistleblowers from ATF’s Human Resources office. They revealed that the bureau unlawfully provided pay and benefits to agents and investigators who were not in law enforcement positions – some of which were in the Human Resources office.
Due to the significant financial impact the allegedly intentionally misclassified jobs had over a five-year period, OPM suspended the authority of ATF to classify law enforcement positions.
Senator Joni Ernst issued a press release and sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Justice requesting that the IG investigation include recommendations for disciplinary action up to and including termination, as well as criminal referrals where appropriate, for those ATF personnel implicated in improper or illegal activity. Even if not directly involved in this incident, Human Resources professionals at ATF are vulnerable to being wrapped up in the investigation. Additionally, ATF losing their ability to classify law enforcement positions may cause administrative setbacks that can reflect poorly on employees and managers. If that happens, it is essential that employees are able to defend themselves – FEDS Protection can help.
Alleged incidents involving federal employees can lead to agency investigations. If an allegation is made against you, it is a necessity, not luxury, to have knowledgeable and effective counsel advocating on your behalf. Your agency attorney is not your attorney. It is the job of the agency attorney to defend the agency – not you. As a federal employee, you need to have counsel that has specific experience representing employees with your professional vulnerabilities.
FEDS Protection offers federal employee policies with $1 million, $2 million, or $3 million in civil liability protection for attorney’s fees and indemnity costs in the event you are sued in your civil capacity. The FEDS policy also includes $200,000 of legal representation coverage per incident for administrative actions and $100,000 of coverage for criminal defense costs. Annual premiums for FEDS Protection PLI start at $290, which is less than it would typically cost to hire a federal employment lawyer for an hour. Additionally, federal managers and law enforcement officers are eligible for a reimbursement of up to 50% the cost of their PLI policy through their agency. To learn more about how a FEDS PLI policy can protect you and your career, visit www.fedsprotection.com or call (866) 955-FEDS, M-F 8:30am-6pm to speak directly to a representative.
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*This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Are You a Retiring Federal Employee or Leaving Federal Service and Considering Contracting with the Government?
If yes, consider FEDS Protection for your government contracting insurance needs. At FEDS Protection, we also support Federal Contractors by providing insurance coverage specifically tailored to meet the unique needs of today's federal contractors including general and professional liability, Defense Base Act Insurance and Foreign Liability coverage. In our experience, many small businesses need assistance in navigating the insurance portion of a government RFP.
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"Having held many positions of significant responsibilities over the course of an approximate 40-year career, I can attest to the importance of maintaining professional liability insurance. I have witnessed and experienced situations in which ‘good people believed they were doing the right thing’ as it related to executing their professional duties and responsibilities. Most of them were. However, they were not immune to becoming subjects of internal investigations, disciplinary actions and lawsuit claims. The majority of them assumed they would have access to Agency legal counsel and be entitled to representation because of their job position and motives. Unfortunately, they were wrong and found themselves in precarious situations. That's why I promote carrying professional liability insurance. The Senior Executives Association exclusively endorses FEDS Protection to its members for professional liability insurance! Professional liability insurance is a must for professionals within the Federal sector who may find themselves being personally liable for an action they did or did not take. FEDS Protection policies are comprehensive, very affordable and available today. I highly encourage you to contact FEDS Protection. Help yourself by allowing FEDS Protection to help you."
- Marcus Hill (President, Senior Executives Association)
Radio & Webinars
The FEDS team will host a webinar on Professional Liability Insurance for General Services Administration (GSA) on August 29th. Contact us if you or your agency are interested in a webinar or brochures that provide federal employees best practices on how to protect themselves with a federal employee professional liability insurance policy like the one offered by FEDS Protection. This benefit is so important, it could be partially reimbursed for many federal employees!
FEDS On the Road
- Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) 2023 Training Conference (Tampa, FL)
- National Council of Social Security Management Association’s (NCSSMA) 54th Annual Meeting (Fargo, ND)