Q & A Session – Reinstatement Date after MSPB Order


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


Can I choose the return day to the job after a Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) Reinstatement Order? During the Removal Proposal period, my agency forced me to return to work after two weeks of sick leave. Two hours after I returned to the office after the Removal Proposal period, the Deciding Official ordered me to go home until further notice, which lasted for more than two months. He had placed me on Administrative Leave, but I believe that it was actually an indefinite suspension requiring an SF-50. Who is correct?

Nearly two years later, the MSPB Final Order was issued which reinstated me. The same Deciding Official from before forced me to return to work a week before Christmas after I asked to return mid-February. I believe the Deciding Official is exerting bad faith by placing me back at work at a time when most employees are taking leave. I also believe that the agency can choose a final day to calculate back pay and use the “effective date” that I asked for (in mid-February). Is that possible?


To answer your first question, your supervisor is correct. Administrative leave can be for an indefinite period, but you are paid.

As for your second question, the agency has an obligation to place you back at work. You might be able to negotiate some leave, but you have to return or be fined for AWOL.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of the federal employment law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

Disclaimer: Ask a Lawyer publishes information on this website for informational purposes only. Information on this website is intended – but not promised, guaranteed, or warranted – to reflect correct, complete and current developments. In addition, the contents of the website do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the attorney. Information from this website is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. You should not act, or refrain from acting, based on information on this website without seeking specific legal advice about your particular circumstances. No attorney-client relationship between you and Ask a Lawyer’s author is created by the transmission of information to or from this site.


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.

1 Comment

  1. Recently our Agency selected a new Assistant Chief. His father works in the same Dept. and is suppose to retire in Dec. If the father does not retire than wouldn’t this be a conflict of interest and the possibilty of extreme favoritism?

Leave A Reply