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What happens at a Merit Systems Protection Board hearing?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Firm News

A Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) hearing is a legal proceeding that happens when a federal employee appeals an adverse personnel action, after their agency has taken adverse action against them. 

What the Merit Systems Protection Board is

The MSPB is an independent agency that conducts hearings and makes decisions on appeals of negative personnel actions, such as removals, suspensions, reductions in pay or grade and furloughs.

At one of these hearings, the appellant can present evidence and arguments to support their appeal. They can have an attorney to act on their behalf.

Likewise, the appellant’s employer, the agency that took adverse action, can present evidence and make arguments supporting their decision.

The decision-making process

The hearing is conducted by an administrative law judge (ALJ) who listens to both parties and decides based on the evidence. The administrative law judge may ask the parties and witnesses questions and can admit or exclude evidence as appropriate.

After the hearing, the administrative law judge issues a written decision that either upholds the agency’s adverse action or overturns it. If the appellant wins their appeal, they can be entitled to back pay, reinstatement or other remedies as deemed necessary.

If the agency prevails, the adverse action stands, and the employee has limited options for further appeal. It is important to note that different types of adverse action use different rules under the law.

In addition, the United States Federal Government has an adverse action process that agencies must follow when they take adverse action against an employee. In the same way, the federal employee has rights under federal law, including the right to appeal any adverse action at a Merit Systems Protection Board hearing.






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