The Merit Systems Protection Board was established in 1978 to protect federal employees from unfair treatment at work and to promote the Merit System Principles. The MSPB comes into play when federal employees have blown the whistle on fraud or mismanagement, or when civil servants have complained of bias, arbitrariness, retaliation or other wrongful treatment in the workplace and need to appeal. It also provides independent research and analysis on the merit systems for the executive branch.
The All Circuit Review Act was signed into law on July 9 after a six-year pilot program. It gives federal employees to appeal Merit Systems Protection Board decisions to any federal appellate court of competent jurisdiction, which means any U.S. court of appeals. In the past, these decisions could only be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C.
The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act has only been law for a few months, but a case involving the Office of Personnel Management may compromise much of its protection for potentially thousands of federal government workers in jobs that are nominally related to national security.
When a federal government employee comes forward as a whistleblower, they understand the risk to their job and career. They have probably already tried to work with their chain of command, and report their concerns to their supervisors. Because so much of what government employees do affects public safety, witness the questions of what inspections were carried out at the West Fertilizer plant prior to the catastrophic explosion, just standing by and watching some disaster unfold is not an option.
When an employee of the federal government loses a case involving questions of discrimination and procedural issues with Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), courts had ruled that the employee must appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.