News from the Supreme Court: On November 4, 2014, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the matter of Dept. of Homeland Security v. MacLean, No. 13-894. This represents the latest stage in the long-running MacLean case, which was previously analyzed by Passman & Kaplan, P.C. in the Federal Legal Corner, and in this blog.
Developments at the MSPB: On September 29, 2014, a split Special Panel issued its decision in Alvara v. Dept. of Homeland Security, 2014 MSPB 77. As previously analyzed in this blog, the Alvara case involved a dispute between the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over whether Mr. Alvara's removal for medical inability to perform should be overturned due to the agency's failure to reasonably accommodate Mr. Alvara with a modified schedule. The Special Panel found in favor of the EEOC, with the case remanded to an administrative judge to order Mr. Alvara's reinstatement and to award compensatory damages and other relief.
News from the Whitehouse: On September 26, 2014, President Obama signed Pub.L. 113-170, the "All Circuit Review Extension Act". The new law extends a current pilot program for judicial review of the MSPB decisions in whistleblower reprisal cases by three years.
Developments at the EEOC: On September 15, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations (OFO) published a report entitled Preserving Access to the Legal System: Common Errors by Federal Agencies in Dismissing Complaints of Discrimination on Procedural Grounds. The report's findings revealed an alarming rate of erroneously dismissed EEO complaints by federal agencies.
Developments at the MSPB: On August 19, 2014, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued an Interim Final Rule implementing procedures for handling adverse actions against Senior Executive Service (SES) employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (79 Fed.Reg. 48,941-48, 946, as corrected 79 Fed.Reg. 49,423). The MSPB had to rush to draft these regulations in order to meet a 14-day deadline specified in Section 707 of Pub.L. 113-146--the statute creating this new adverse action procedure--which was previously analyzed in this blog. As an interim final rule, the regulations came into immediate effect, but the MSPB will be accepting comments on the regulations through September 18, 2014.
Developments at the MSPB: A recent case has placed the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) into conflict over reasonable accommodations involving modified work schedules to disabled employees.
Developments at OPM: The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published a Final Rule in the August 8, 2014 edition of the Federal Register (79 Fed.Reg. 46,608-46,638). The Final Rule contains OPM's final regulations for implementing the phased retirement created by Section 100121 of Pub.L. 112-141, as previously analyzed in this blog. The effective date for the rule is November 6, 2014.
News from the Whitehouse: On August 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Veterans' Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113-146. While most of the statute concerned veterans' care issues, Section 707 of the statute has profound effects on the adverse action protections for Senior Executive Service (SES) employees working at the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).
Developments at the EEOC: On July 14, 2014, the EEOC issued its first comprehensive guidance since 1983 on pregnancy discrimination and the interaction of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Enforcement Guidance was accompanied by a Questions and Answers document.