About the Merit Systems Protection Board

Why the MSPB Rejects Appeals

The stakes are often high when you file an appeal with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). You likely filed an appeal because you’ve lost your job or suffered an adverse employment action. You hope that the MSPB can resolve the situation, and that you can find justice in a personally, professionally, and often financially, difficult situation. So, you may be stunned when the MSPB refuses to hear your appeal. However, you shouldn’t despair. If the MSPB refuses your appeal, then you may be able to refile your appeal or file an appeal elsewhere.

Below are some common reasons why the MSPB rejects appeal requests and what you can do about them:

Your Timing is Wrong: You cannot appeal to the MSPB until the effective date of the agency’s action or a final decision has been issued by the agency. That means that cannot file an appeal in anticipation of a wrongdoing – even if you have been told that a prohibited personnel practice will occur on a date certain. If you do file a premature appeal to the MSPB, the MSPB will return the appeal to you and instruct you to wait until the time is right for your appeal;

You Have no Standing to Appeal: You can only appeal an agency decision if it directly affected you or if you are the personal representative, or lawyer, of someone who was directly affected. You have no standing to appeal an agency action that negatively affected your coworker, friend or someone whom you supervised;

Your Appeal Lacks the Required Procedural Information: All MSPB appeals must meet certain technical procedural requirements. For example, all appeals must:

o Be submitted on standard 8 ½ by 11 inch paper;

o Include the appellant’s name, address and telephone number;

o Include the agency’s name and address;

o Include the appellant’s signature or the signature of the appellant’s representative;

o Be electronically filed or include 2 paper copies for filing; and

o Include the effective date of all agency actions being appealed.

Any appeal that is noncompliant with these procedural requirements will be returned to the appellant and will need to be resubmitted;

Your Appeal Lacks Required Substantive Information: In addition to the procedural elements described above, each appeal must include a description of the agency’s action(s) and supporting documentation. If it does not, then the appeal will be returned to you for revision; and

You Did Not Provide the Agency with the Required Stay Request: If you are requesting that the agency delay its action pending the outcome of the MSPB appeal then you must serve the agency a copy of the stay request.

Hiring a Lawyer Can Help Prevent MSPB Appeal Rejections

It is important to file your MSPB appeal correctly to prevent unnecessary delays in the resolution of your case. A lawyer, experienced in MSPB appeals, can ensure that your MSPB appeal contains all of the required procedural and substantive elements, is filed in a timely manner, and by someone with authority to file the complaint - So that you can receive a fair and equitable decision as soon as possible.