4th Time’s the Charm? Bill Reintroduced to Bolster Appeal Rights of Some Feds

Legislation has again been introduced to overturn a court decision which limited appeal rights of some federal employees in sensitive positions.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has reintroduced legislation for the fourth time that would overturn a 2013 federal court decision which limited the due process rights of some federal employees serving in sensitive positions.

The bill was last introduced in 2018. H.R. 5560 would overturn what Norton called an “unprecedented” federal court decision from 2013 which limited review of federal agency decisions on an employee’s eligibility to hold a sensitive position even when it does not involve access to classified information. See Court Limits Federal Employee Appeal Rights in Security Cases for details about the case.

In a statement about the bill, Norton said, “Stripping employees whose work does not involve classified matters of the right of review of an agency decision that removes them from their jobs opens entirely new avenues for unreviewable, arbitrary action or retaliation by an agency head and, in addition, makes a mockery of whistleblower protections enacted in the 112th Congress. Our bill would stop the use of ‘national security’ to repeal a vital component of civil service protection and of due process.”

According to a press release about the bill, the court decision would affect at least 200,000 DOD employees who are designated as noncritical sensitive.

Given that the legislation has been introduced on three previous occasions but did not pass suggests that it is unlikely to do so this time as well.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.