The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) serves to prevent the practice of the spoils system, in which government personnel receive positions and promotions based on political connections as opposed to individual merit. If an individual believes that the government agency with which he or she is employed has violated merit system principles by exercising prohibited personnel practices (PPP) that have directly affected the individual, there may be cause to file an appeal with the MSPB. The process can be complex, but referencing a few guidelines can help simplify the process.
Gathering the Appropriate Information
The first step to filing an MSPB appeal is gathering all of the information and paperwork that will be required to process the appeal. The majority of appeals require:
- Notice of proposed action
- Agency decision being appealed
- SF-50 or other notice of personnel action
Essentially, this information provides the MSPB with the appellant and their representative’s contact information, a description of what happened with the agency involved and why the appellant believes it to be a PPP violation, desired outcome, and other grievances.
Determining the Right Time and Place for Filing
In most circumstances, the appeal must be filed within 30 days of the action’s effective date. All appeals must be submitted in writing using MSPB’s online electronic application or by mail, fax, or in person; an appeal form is available for those who apply on paper. The appeal must be filed with the local or regional office where the action was taken or, under certain circumstances, the appeals office that has jurisdiction over the area in which the appellant lives. Appeals may not be submitted via email.
Selecting a Representative
While appellants may choose to represent themselves, selecting someone to represent them before the MSPB is recommended. Appellants often choose trusted attorneys who have experience in MSPB litigations and hearings. The representative must be designated during the application process.
Understanding the Appeals Procedure
Once an appeal is filed, a judge assigned to the case will send the appellant and representative an acknowledgment order, which gives the agency in question a chance to respond to the claim. The judge will continue to gather files and data from both parties as necessary until meetings referred to as “prehearing conferences” have provided the judge with enough information to hold a formal hearing, in which a decision is made and the record is closed.
If you need help filing an MSPB appeal, Avery Dooley & Noone, LLP can help. Our team of attorneys is experienced in representing clients with MSPB appeals and understands the complexities and requirements of the process. For more information on choosing a qualified MSPB representative, contact our Belmont, MA office today at (617) 489-5300.