President Trump recently appointed Andrew Maunz as a new board member to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). The MSPB is a judicial agency in the Executive branch that is responsible for adjudicating federal employee appeals and accessing the merit of personnel management actions ( Employment law attorney Andrea Downing discusses how the new MSPB appointment will impact previously filed and future federal employment appeals in this week’s FAQ Friday.

Downing says, “Federal employees could go to the Merit Systems Protection Board if they’ve been suspended for 15 days or more, if they’ve been removed from their positions, or a number of other things if they’re in specific job categories.” The MSPB functions similarly to a court. After an appeal is filed, the board gathers evidence about the personnel action from the employing agency and they can make arguments to a judge who will make a decision as to the action that is in front of them.

What does the new MSPB appointment mean for appeals?

“The new appointment is great news for people who have already filed appeals,” Downing says, “because it means there will be movement on their appeal coming up. However, individuals who are considering filing an appeal to the full board now are going to face a wait, similar to those who filed an appeal the year before them who faced a wait due to the lack of the quorum on the form.”

Downing explains that the timeline of hearings before administrative judges will not be affected by the appointment of the new board member. Nor will negotiations over a matter between the personnel and his or her employing agency.  

Should you wait to file an appeal?

Despite potential backlog, waiting to file an appeal could result in a missed opportunity to take action. The MSBP adheres to very strict deadlines when filing an appeal following an employment action. Downing says, “Be sure to follow the guidelines of the MSBP to ensure that you do not miss the window to protect your rights as an employee to take action.”