What One Hand Offers, the Other Takes Away

Find out why the FDIC’s revocation of an accepted term appointment offer is not an appealable “removal.”

The facts in Reddick v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (CAFC No. 2014-3188, 1/8/16) are narrow; however they describe a circumstance when an agency can pull back an employment offer without giving rise to an appeal. The facts described are taken from the court’s recent decision.

Reddick was serving a two-year term appointment with FDIC as an Investigation Specialist when the agency offered an extension for another two years, which he accepted. The agency made clear in the paperwork that the extension was conditioned on Reddick’s “continued successful employment.” Before the new term began, however, the agency revoked its offer. There is no dispute that the revocation occurred after Reddick had accepted but before the new term began.

Reddick grieved the agency’s action, arguing it amounted to an appealable adverse action. The agency disagreed and the matter went to an arbitrator. Finding the agency’s offer had been conditional and that Reddick had not met the condition of continued successful performance, the arbitrator found the agency’s action was justified.

Reddick took his case to court. The court sided with the arbitrator and the agency, stating it is “well-established that the failure to appoint is not an adverse action.” (p. 4) The same goes for not extending or renewing a term appointment. The court acknowledged that the issue turned on whether the agency terminated the appointment before or after the new term began. Finding that it was before the new appointment took place, the court ruled that the agency “could revoke the extension offer notwithstanding Mr. Reddick’s acceptance thereof…” (p. 5)

Long story short, the facts here did not add up to an appealable removal and therefore the court had no jurisdiction to hear Reddick’s appeal.

Reddick v. FDIC (2014-3188)

About the Author

Susan McGuire Smith spent most of her federal legal career with NASA, serving as Chief Counsel at Marshall Space Flight Center for 14 years. Her expertise is in government contracts, ethics, and personnel law.