Settlement Agreement Spawns New Round of Appeals

When a union representative signed a settlement agreement on behalf of an employee it was representing back in 2000, the agreement was not to litigate the issue further. The Postal Service probably thought the case was over. But the union then went to arbitration anyway, the employee went to the MSPB and then to federal court arguing that because he had not personally signed the agreement, it was invalid. Seven years later, the issue may now be resolved.

Using The “He Said/He Said” Defense in a Removal Action

A Border Patrol agent who did not come to the aid of another agent asking for help while in a “hostile encounter” was fired by the agency. The fired agent offered the “I was fired because I was a whistleblower” defense that seemingly gets raised routinely in federal appeals. That didn’t fly nor did his argument that his colleague wasn’t really in trouble so a court upholds the removal action.

Misuse of Position Leads to Removal

Federal agencies have considerable power and authority. Federal employees have to be wary of trying to improperly use their position for personal gain or for other reasons unrelated to their official job requirements. This agent of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was fired for misuse of his position and the removal is upheld by the MSPB and a federal court.

Not a Stickler for Detail

A mother and son worked at the same agency. The mother was a human resources specialist. Both of them were fired. The son was fired for falsification of job applications in the agency’s automated program. The son’s appeal went to federal court but the court upheld the credibility determination made by the administrative judge and he stays fired.

If I Had Known They Could Fire Me, I Would Not Have Done It

In addition to the typical defense that he was fired because he was a “whistleblower”, this Air Force employee argued that his “employment contract” with the government did not outline the standard of review for indefinite suspensions. Fortunately for agencies, the court held that an agency is not required prior to hiring a new employee “to provide…all the case law that may become relevant….”

Atmosphere Like a Popular Sitcom But Case Dismissed by Court

For a harassment claim to succeed, among other things the plaintiff has to show that her employer knew (or should have known) about the harassment and did nothing to stop it. In this case, the atmosphere in the federal group sounded like a script from a popular sitcom. But the employee waited several months to complain. The end result was a summary judgment decision for the agency.