In 1979, the United States Civil Service Commission established the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which is an agency designed to prevent federal employers from engaging in prohibited personnel practices. Under the MSPB, federal employees are entitled to a hearing after they are terminated, suspended, or demoted because of their performance or conduct.
The MSPB process is crucial for employees who believe that their conduct did not warrant the adverse employment action taken against them. The Civil Service Reform Act mandates that federal employees are given their due process when terminated. This is to prevent powerful federal employers from engaging in arbitrary employment actions. Of course, when a federal employer takes an adverse action against an employee, there are lasting impacts on that person’s personal and professional life.
The MSPB is a complex entity, and there are many roadblocks that an employee may encounter, due to the nature of the employing agency and the processes involved. First, employees should consult with an attorney to determine whether their adverse employment action will trigger an MSPB appeal. Although it seems clear in some situations, MSPB protections are not extended to all types of federal positions. However, some common situations when an appeal is triggered are when there is an adverse action or a forced retirement. Furthermore, even though the MSPB will attempt to handle a claim within six months, the Board may also pressure the parties to settle in order to more quickly resolve the matter. A Texas employment lawyer can guide employees in effectively working through these steps.
The MSPB Process
In most cases, after a federal employee has been terminated, they have 30 days to file an appeal with the Board. An MSPB appeal must be comprehensive and include all allegations, specific defenses, responses, and requests for relief.
When the MSPB receives and reviews the appeal, it will ask the employee to present information regarding jurisdiction or an acknowledgement order, which includes very strict deadlines. Next, both the federal employer and the employee will have the opportunity to provide the MSPB with discovery. Discovery allows the parties to do things such as request documents and engage in discovery. Finally, after the end of discovery, the parties will go through all of the necessary pre-hearing motions. If the parties do not settle, a hearing in front of an administrative law judge will be held.
Do You Need Assistance Understanding Your Rights?
If you believe you have been wrongly terminated by your employer, you should contact one of the Texas wrongful termination attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. Federal employment law is complex and often deals with seemingly conflicting statutes and policies. An experienced employment attorney can help mitigate the overwhelming burden that employees often face in these situations. Going through the MSPB process can affect future career options and opportunities, and it is important to have the assistance of an attorney to guide you through the process. Contact the law firm of Rob Wiley, P.C. at 214-528-6500 to schedule your free initial consultation.
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