Appeal rights of the federal employee facing disciplinary action

Michael Pearson
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Summary Micheal Pearson

Rights of the Federal Employee

As with any employer, an employee has an obligation to do their job within the expectations outlined for them when they take employment. Working for the Federal Government makes those obligations no different, and the Federal Government as your employer does have every authority to ensure that those obligations are met by employees. Similar to any employer, they sometimes take personnel actions that adversely affect employees.

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

However, when this happens, it must ensure that those employees are protected from unfair or arbitrary treatment. Under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, most Federal employees may appeal various personnel actions affecting them to the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).  The Merit Systems Protection Board is an independent, quasi-judicial agency in the Executive branch of the Federal Government that serves as the guardian of Federal merit systems. The Board is composed of three members who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They serve overlapping, non-renewable 7-year terms. The Board is required to be bipartisan. No more than two of its three members may be from the same political party.

Appealable actions

Employees that have experienced agency adverse actions may qualify to appeal those actions to the board. Appealable items include actions such as removals, suspensions, reductions in grade or pay, furloughs, denials of restoration or reemployment rights etc. The list of cases qualifying for appeal are numerous and an experienced MSPB lawyer can help you determine if your case qualifies for appeal.