The Department of Veterans Affairs is currently fighting to protect civil service and federal agents from firing procedures as expedited as that which FBI Director James Comey faced in recent news. Last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit seemingly sided with the VA after it re-granted VA senior executives the right to appealterminations up to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Legislation backed by both Democrats and Republicans could already jeopardize this decision, however. The Washington Post recently discussed what is going on with Debra D’Agostino of the Federal Practice Group to benefit from her experience and insight.
SPEEDING UP THE PROCESS HURTS EMPLOYEE PROTECTIONS
Attorney D’Agostino explained during her interview that attempting to expedite the firing process of civil servants, specifically those employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, effectively “eliminate two layers of review.” In a matter as sensitive as terminating a federal employee, the more review conducted, the better.
Comey’s sudden firing raised alarms across federal agencies. As a political appointee, he did not have the same protections as the average federal employee. But, if the bipartisan bill in the works passes, the same rapid procedures to terminate an agent or civil service employee could exist. Multiple review layers helps protect against graft and corruption that could arise if an expedited system is permitted to become the norm.
The VA Accountability First Act has since been approved by the House. It boasts that expedited procedures would cut department costs, protect the American people from internal abuses from “bad VA employees,” and also reinforce whistleblower protections. These results are speculative of the impact of the bill. The actual language of the Act allows for department terminations to occur with a lowered burden of proof, and for appeals, to administrative panels and the MSPB board, to be filed in a shortened amount of time.
If you would like to read the Washington Post article featuring Attorney D’Agostino in full, click here to visit the news group’s website. If you are a federal employee facing unjust retaliation or other legal complexities in the workplace, you can rely on The Federal Practice Group for assistance and representation services. Call 888.488.1774 to connect with our team trial attorneys. We help clients around the world, so do not hesitate to contact us today.