Senate Committee Votes to Clarify Sensitive Positions Appeal Rights

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted out of committee S.2968, a bill to reauthorize the Office of Special Counsel. Part of that bill contains NTEU-supported language that essentially reverses a Federal Circuit Court decision that ruled that the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board 1883 (logo)Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) could not review decisions made by an agency concerning the eligibility of employees to occupy sensitive positions.

NTEU has worked to change this decision since it was reported in August 2014. The Kaplan v. Conyers decision could leave many “Sensitive Position” employees with little ability to ensure that adverse actions taken against them are legally appropriate. S. 2968 restores the MSPB’s authority to review an agency’s determination that an employee is ineligible for a sensitive position.

The bill still has to pass the Senate. There is a related bill in the House, H.R. 4639, also reauthorizing the Office of Special Counsel, but it does not contain our language clarifying sensitive positions’ appeal rights.

NTEU will work to make sure the final bill sent to the President contains the Union-supported language.