The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) reported on September 10 that it had received more than 32,000 appeals this fiscal year, with the vast majority of them being furlough-related from Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees. They also indicate that they have received approximately 6,000 filings during the same period for other matters not related to the sequester triggered furloughs.
The MSPB hears appeals from federal employees involving adverse job actions and prohibited personnel practices. The number of appeals submitted to the MSPB this year is unprecedented. However, the MSPB is working to consolidate many of the furlough appeals to enable them to be adjudicated in a reasonable time period.
In order for the MSPB to consolidate a group of cases, the judges will consider a variety of factors, with the overall goal of expediting the adjudication and preventing any negative impact on the parties.
The factors considered include “similarity of the issues raised, appellant work location, whether appellants ask for hearings, the deciding official involved, or command.” Consolidation of these cases is similar to certification of a class action, in that numerous parties with similar issues will be decided together.
As with any class-type filing, if your particular facts do not match the facts of the other cases, you need to ensure that those distinguishing elements are identified and that your issue is heard in the correct context.
The MSPB has indicated that they will not be adjudicating all of the cases at the same time, but they will send out acknowledge notices when they determine if your case will be consolidated.
Source: FedSmith.com, “MSPB Updates DoD Furlough Information September 10, 2013“, Bob Gilson, September 12, 2013