About the Merit Systems Protection Board

Appealing an MSPB Decision

A federal employee files an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) for the purpose of resolving an employment dispute with a federal agency. Many times the employee’s dispute is resolved by the MSPB. However, sometimes the MSPB’s decision goes against the employee. The employee may believe that the decision reached by the MSPB administrative law judge was legally incorrect and that the employee remains entitled to justice. In those cases, the employee has the right to appeal the MSPB decision.

How to Seek Judicial Review of an MSPB Decision

In most cases, appellants have 60 days from the date of the MSPB decision to file an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The appellant must file a petition for review or appeal of an order or decision of the MSPB. The U.S. Court of Appeals has very specific filing deadlines and requirements for filings.

Additionally, there are very intricate and specific rules for making arguments to the Court. Accordingly, most people who are appealing an MSPB decision find it essential to hire an attorney who has experience appealing MSPB cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Review of MSPB Decisions Related to Discrimination

The MSRP has jurisdiction to hear employee discrimination complaints only if the discrimination complaints are brought before the Board with other allegations over which the Board has original jurisdiction. Discrimination only complaints would be heard by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Therefore, the law provides that an employee who is adversely affected by the decisions of the MSPB with regard to discrimination can file the discrimination complaint with the EEOC or in the United States District Court rather than with the U.S. Court of Appeals. Of course, if the EEOC or District Court also find against the employee then the employee may bring the claim to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Appeals

In limited cases, the Director of OPM can also seek judicial review of an MSPB decision. The law allows the OPM Director to petition the MSPB Board for reconsideration or to seek judicial review if the MSPB decision has a substantial impact on a civil service law, rule, regulation or policy.

How to Be Successful in an Appeal of an MSPB Decision

If you’ve brought a complaint before the Merit Systems Protection Board and you have received an unfavorable ruling that you are undoubtedly discouraged. However, the law provides you with an important opportunity to continue your pursuit of justice. Specifically, you have the right to appeal, as described above.

In order to be successful in your appeal it is important to be realistic about the potential outcomes of your case and to seek the advice of experienced counsel. Your lawyer will review your case and offer his or her legal opinion about your chances of success upon appeal. Unjustified adverse employment decisions have no place in our federal government so it is important to keep fighting for your rights.