Q&A Posts


Ask the Lawyer received the following paraphrased question from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.

Q: In an appeal to the MSPB (Merit Systems Protection Board), can the employee ask for money damages?  That is, if the board decides the employee’s argument(s) prevail, can they award him money in lieu of getting his job back?

A: Remedies Available at the MSPB

If an employee prevails in an MSPB appeal, the MSPB administrative judge has the authority to award a range of remedies designed to make the employee “whole,” that is, to place the employee in the situation he or she would be in if the adverse action had not taken place.  Remedies an administrative judge may award include reinstatement, back pay with interest, reversal of a demotion or an increase in previously reduced pay, restoration of lost benefits, a purging of records of the adverse action, and if the appellant prevails in an EEO claim, compensatory damages of as much as $300,000. 

The MSPB judge’s discretion is related to the job and while the judge can order reinstatement, back pay, lost benefits and attorney’s fees, the judge may not order money compensation in lieu of a return to the job.  Such a result, however, can be obtained through settlement if both the appellant and the agency agree.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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