The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board is an independent agency in the executive branch of the federal government that serves as the guardian of federal merit systems. This board, also known as the MSPB or the Board, is an appeals board that enables federal employees to challenge certain decisions made by the federal agencies where they are or were employed.
The MSPB is designed to protect federal employees by hearing and deciding appeals by federal employees that involve discipline, removal, lengthy suspensions, performance matters, and whistleblower retaliation. It is composed of three members, bi-partisan, and no more than two of its three members may be from the same political party.
The board may hear appeals of federal agency actions only when it has been expressly authorized to do so by law, rule, or regulation. A list of actions or decisions that are appealable to the Board can be found in the Board’s regulation at 5 C.F.R. § 1201.3. The majority of cases within the Board’s jurisdiction are appeals of adverse actions; removals, suspensions of more than 14 days, and reductions in pay or grade.
When an agency issues a decision notice to an employee on a matter that is appealable to the MSPB, the agency must provide the employee with the following: (1) notice of the time limits for appealing to the board and the address of the appropriate Board office for filing the appeal; (2) a copy, or access to a copy of the Board’s regulations; (3) a copy of the Board’s appeal form; and (4) notice of any right the employee has to file a grievance.
If an employee is a member of a bargaining unit that is represented by a union or an association, the bargaining agreement may have a negotiated grievance procedure available to the employee. Oftentimes, the grievance procedure will cover personnel actions that by law may otherwise be appealed to the board.
It is possible that the employee may have a choice between filing either a grievance with the agency or an appeal to the board. The employee may not file with both.
You may choose any person to represent you during the appeal process so long as the person is willing and able to serve. You can also represent yourself. Typical representatives include private attorneys, union attorneys, and other union representatives. As an employee or supervisor working for a federal agency, it is important to know the rights and regulations concerning the Merit Systems Protection Board.
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