Q & A Session – “Bumping” in a Reduction in Force


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 an employee in a higher grade level with a lower competitive level bump or displace an employee in a lower grade level with a higher competitive level in a reduction in force?


“Bumping” is unavailable because you may only bump employees in lower tenured groups than you, rather than vice versa. However, you may be entitled to “retreat” rights, which means that you could displace an employee on a different competitive level only if: (1) the employee with lower retention standing is within your own tenure group and subgroup; (2) the employee is not more than three grades lower than your position, unless you are in a special category of disabled veterans which allows up to five grades; and (3) the employee is in the same or essentially identical position as you, which takes into account whether you share the same grade or classification series, duties, qualification requirements, pay schedules and working conditions. There is one caveat:  if you have a current annual performance rating of record of minimally successful, then your retreat rights are limited to positions held by employees with the same or lower performance rating of record. I do not have enough facts to answer whether you are actually entitled to retreat rights, but you will need to apply all of the facts in your situation against this standard to make your own determination and then raise this with your agency.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of 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

Leave A Reply