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Liability Insurance for Federal Employees and Contractors

FEDS February Newsletter

OPM Probationary Period Efforts Leave Managers Vulnerable

From training and motivating existing personnel to onboarding new talent, supervisors and managers are the engine that makes the federal government go. If you are a federal manager or supervisor, your employees see you as a leader in your federal agency and a resource for answers and guidance. 

While all aspects of management are important, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is urging supervisors and managers to specifically take a more active role in new federal employees’ probationary periods – the first year of federal employment, during which new personnel do not receive the same removal protections as their tenured counterparts – to both ensure new employees have the tools they need to succeed and to remove those who perform poorly.

OPM advised that agencies need to be better at instilling the value of the probationary period into supervisors and managers as new talent is hired. In doing so, federal managers would be taking a more proactive role in the agency’s overall success and development. OPM suggested new practices to help this effort. For example, notices from management could be provided to the new employee months prior to the expiration of the probationary period and would allow management to make decisions on the appropriate action of continued employment based on the probationer’s assessment.

As agency departments work to find middle ground, supervisors and managers will have to carefully navigate compliance and cooperation with their teams and HR Departments. Adjusting these policies and procedures may be challenging and could lead to increased vulnerabilities for federal managers nationwide. Managers may see an increase in complaints and allegations of mismanagement – especially if the timing in communication is not consistent with updated guidelines or there are any ambiguities in a new worker’s performance during the probationary period. 

Allegations against federal managers 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 and 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 or call (866) 955-FEDS, M-F 8:30am-6pm to speak directly to a representative.

*This article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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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.”
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