Susan McGuire Smith

Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.

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Unprotected Whistleblowing Will Not Undo Removal of Federal Employee

By on May 25, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Unprotected Whistleblowing Will Not Undo Removal of Federal Employee

A Department of Education employee removed for various misconduct reasons tried to thwart the agency’s action by pointing to his whistleblowing activity. Since he could not prove it was protected whistleblowing and the agency could prove it would fire him even if it had been, he lost out on his appeal.

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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Divorce Dispute Over Air Force Retirement Pay

By on May 20, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
U.S. Supreme Court Decides Divorce Dispute Over Air Force Retirement Pay

The U. S. Supreme Court slapped down a decision by the Arizona state courts that held the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act did not pre-empt the Arizona family court’s order requiring that a military retiree make up for a portion of his annuity lost by his ex-wife by operation of federal law.

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Appeals Court Rules on Former VA Director’s Termination

Appeals Court Rules on Former VA Director’s Termination

In an early test of the new law designed to make it easier to fire DVA senior executives and to streamline the appeals process, the appeals court has handed down a significant ruling that presents a mixed bag.

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Whistleblowing or Failure to Communicate Properly With Supervisors?

By on May 9, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Whistleblowing or Failure to Communicate Properly With Supervisors?

Here’s a situation where a federal employee received a “counseling memo” following what he apparently considered as a whistleblowing complaint to his agency chain of command. He tried to challenge the informal discipline as retaliation for protected whistleblowing and eventually his case went to the federal appeals court.

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Who Says You Cannot Fire a Federal Employee?

By on April 10, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Who Says You Cannot Fire a Federal Employee?

When a deciding official cited an extraordinary lack of productivity in addition to the four reasons laid out in the notice of an employee’s proposed removal, the agency spent nine years cleaning up the mess and finally effecting and defending a removal action.

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Do As This Former VA Employee Says, Not As He Does

By on March 20, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Do As This Former VA Employee Says, Not As He Does

A Veterans Affairs employee, claiming to be a protected whistleblower, was removed for mishandling a radiological substance, the very activity that he had blown the whistle on with regard to others at his facility.

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Whistleblower Failed Burden of Proof In Challenge to Her Removal

By on March 14, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Whistleblower Failed Burden of Proof In Challenge to Her Removal

A federal attorney who was fired claims that it was done in retaliation for being a whistleblower. The MSPB said it had no jurisdiction, saying she failed to make her case. See how the federal appeals court has now ruled on her appeal.

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Court Awards Back Pay to Federal Employees Over 2013 Government Shutdown

By on February 17, 2017 in Court Cases, Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments
Court Awards Back Pay to Federal Employees Over 2013 Government Shutdown

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has just handed down a payday bonanza for federal employees who signed up for the class action case demanding redress for lost pay during the 2013 government shutdown.

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Was This Federal Employee Too Clever by Half?

By on February 14, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Was This Federal Employee Too Clever by Half?

A federal employee removed for poor performance refused to accept or sign for the notice of termination. On appeal he argued harmful error in that the agency had not served him with proper notice. See how the appeals court deals with this ploy.

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Whistleblower Wins at Appeals Court

By on February 8, 2017 in Court Cases with 0 Comments
Whistleblower Wins at Appeals Court

Finding that the Government failed to justify reassignment of a Department of Justice whistleblower, the appeals court has bounced his appeal back to MSPB and ordered the Government to pay his costs.

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