We are happy to report a significant recent victory for federal employees. This week, the Federal Labor Relations Authority affirmed an arbitrator's decision that The Office of Cuba Broadcasting, part of the Broadcasting Board of Governors [BBG], conducted a reduction in force to retaliate against employees who had criticized the agency to the GAO and Congressional officials. The agency claimed that the RIF was legal and motivated by a 2009 budget cut, but the arbitrator found otherwise:
"This case is all about a RIF that never had to happen," the arbitrator stated. It was affected by the "improper motivations" of the director. It was not for lack of work or lack of funds. The agency willfully overlooked achievable cost savings that would have precluded a RIF and failed to negotiate over its impact.
Accordingly, she ordered that the 16 impacted employees be reinstated with backpay. After the arbitrator's ruling in November 2011, the agency appealed her decision to FLRA. FLRA has now concluded that there was nothing incorrect in her decision and therefore upheld it. As Joe Davidson of the Washington Post noted that the case was a significant victory.
At The Federal Practice Group, we understand that budget-based RIFs are a particular threat to today's federal employees. When a RIF is announced, federal employees need to know their rights and how to protect themselves. If you have concerns about a threatened or pending RIF at your agency, contact us at 202-862-4348 to discuss your rights and your options.