Some 500 Customs and Border Protection agents have reached the next step in a workplace discrimination case. The hundreds of CBP workers allege that after telling their supervisors they were pregnant, the employees were placed on ‘light duty,’ even when not requesting the accommodation. The plaintiffs said the blanket policy violates the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which said employees should only be placed on light duty if they specifically request it. A judge at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has now certified the case as a class action lawsuit.
(CBP Agents Win Class Cert in Pregnancy Discrimination Suit - Gilbert Employment Law )
The Postal Service said its next-generation fleet of delivery vehicles is behind schedule. USPS said in a federal court filing that it now expects to receive its first next-generation vehicles in June 2024. The agency previously said vendor Oshkosh Defense would provide those vehicles this October. USPS placed its initial order for the next-gen fleet in March 2022 and spent nearly $3 billion to buy 50,000 vehicles. USPS expects electric vehicles will make up 75% of its next-generation fleet, but it is still facing a lawsuit from 16 states over an earlier plan to acquire a mostly gas-powered fleet.
House Homeland Security Committee leaders are raising questions about a new office at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. In a letter to CISA Director Jen Easterly, Cybersecurity Subcommittee Chairman Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.), and ranking member Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), asked about CISA’s plan for a "systemically important entities" office. The lawmakers want to know how exactly the new organization will evaluate systemic risks across U.S. critical infrastructure. They also want a detailed description of the office's proposed structure, estimated staffing levels, and required resources.
A federal judge upends two major acquisition initiatives from the General Services Administration. The Court of Federal Claims struck down GSA's interpretation of Section 876 in the Polaris small business governmentwide acquisition contract. The court said GSA's use of the authority, not to have price as an evaluation factor at the main contract level, was too broad and upheld a protest of Polaris last week. And now that decision is impacting other GSA acquisition efforts. The agency said it will have to add price as an evaluation factor to the OASIS-plus multiple award contract, pushing back the timeline for the release of the final solicitation by a month or more.
( - Federal News Network)
The Department of Transportation is making sure cybersecurity is a factor in new U.S. infrastructure projects. DoT’s approach to ensuring cybersecurity is a factor in its infrastructure grants, includes four main ingredients. The agency is telling grantees, including state and local government offices, to designate a cybersecurity point of contact; ensure they are reporting cyber incidents to the right government agency; create a cyber incident response plan; and conduct a cybersecurity self-assessment. “We would like infrastructure that's either modernized or newly built to be secure by design, so that the cybersecurity aspect of it is built in and not added later, as we might have to do to legacy technology,” Transportation Chief Information Officer Cordell Schachter said.
The next generation of federal leaders have a chance to hone their skillsets in the 2024 CXO Fellows Program. Employees at the GS-9 to GS-13 levels in the acquisition, data, finance, human capital and IT sectors, now can apply for this 12-month virtual program to grow professionally and build a diverse network of rising leaders from across the government. The fellows meet about three times a month on Fridays. Applications for the CXO Fellows program are due by June 9.
A new course developed by the Uniformed Services University is teaching nurses how to treat mental health issues in military children. The course identifies such mental health disorders, which are exacerbated in many cases when a parent leaves the home for a deployment. The course focuses on evidence-based treatments for depression, anxiety, ADHD and behavioral problems. The first students took the course last year, and the school refined the course this year, as it went through the roll-out process.
Heading into another year of a projected shortfalls in recruiting, the Army is changing the way it trains recruiters. The Army Recruiting Command added two weeks to the basic training course for new recruiters. They will get more sales training, and one week will focus on helping the recruiter candidates and their families make decisions about where they want to go and how to navigate the move, which often lands then away from a military base with all the accompanying supports systems.
Agencies have a new way to dig into the results of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The Office of Personnel Management has launched a FEVS dashboard. The new online platform breaks down federal employees’ survey feedback by index, trending questions and more. The dashboard is housed in OPM’s online data portal, and is part of the agency’s recent data strategy that will stretch over the next few years.
The Biden administration will launch a Cabinet-level task force on gaps in federal artificial-intelligence policy, if a new bill makes it through Congress. The ASSESS AI Act would require that task force to flag areas where new policies or standards are needed for the ethical use of AI in the federal government. The legislation would require all agencies to review their existing AI policies, to ensure they respect civil rights, civil liberties, privacy and due process. Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) is leading the bill.