News from the Federal Circuit: On February 18, 2015, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential split decision in Herring v. Merit Systems Protection Board, ___ F.3d ___, No. 2013-3170. The majority found 'good cause' to excuse Ms. Herring's untimely filing of her Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeal, based on delays by Ms. Herring's law firm.
Developments at the EEOC: On January 28, 2015, the EEOC's Office of Federal Operations (OFO) issued its decision in Complainant v. Dept. of the Air Force, EEOC Appeal No. 0120142407. OFO found that the Complainant, a federal contractor, was able to press a discrimination complaint against the Air Force (Agency) through the federal-sector EEO process.
Developments at the EEOC: On February 6, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register (80 Fed.Reg. 6,669-6,671). In the ANPRM, the EEOC requests public comment on all aspects of its federal-sector EEO complaints adjudication process, potentially contemplating a future revision of that process.
Developments at the MSPB: On February 2, 2015, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued its annual performance report for FY 2014, combined with its performance plan for FY 2015-2016. The report discussed the current status of the MSPB's caseload of furlough appeals, its overall case processing in FY 2014, and specific case statistics for whistleblower reprisal cases.
Developments at the MSPB: On January 28, 2015, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) published a final rule in the Federal Register (80 Fed.Reg. 4,489-4,497). This final rulemaking affects the MSPB's jurisdictional standards in the major categories of appeals within the MSPB's jurisdiction. The final rule is effective March 30, 2015, and will be applicable to any appeal filed on or after that date.
Developments at the GAO: On January 23, 2015, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a new report, "Whistleblower Protection: Additional Actions Needed to Improve DOJ's Handling of FBI Retaliation Complaints", Report GAO-15-112. In the report, GAO analyzed whistleblower reprisal cases from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) over a four-year period.
Developments at the OSC: On January 22, 2015, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register (80 Fed.Reg. 3,182-3,184). The Proposed Rule seeks to expand OSC's whistleblower disclosure program to handle complaints from current and former employees of certain federal government contractors, subcontractors and grantees.
News from the Supreme Court: On January 21, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Dept. of Homeland Security v. MacLean, 574 U.S. ___, No. 13-894. The Court, 7-2, ruled in favor of whistleblower Robert MacLean, upholding the findings below that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) engaged in whistleblower reprisal when it unlawfully fired Mr. MacLean.
News from the Whitehouse: On January 15, 2015, President Obama issued a new Presidential Memorandum, "Modernizing Federal Leave Policies for Childbirth, Adoption and Foster Care to Recruit and Retain Talent and Improve Productivity." The new Presidential Memorandum directs agencies to modify present leave regulations and policies in several respects to expand leave entitlements for pregnant women and for parents adopting children in the federal workforce.
News from the Federal Circuit: On January 14, 2015, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its decision in Higbie v. U.S., __F.3d__, No. 2014-5042. The panel, 2-1, rejected Higbie's claim that violations of the mediation confidentiality agreement from a federal-sector EEO complaint mediation should give rise to breach-of-contract remedies under the Tucker Act.