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Contrary to popular belief, federal employees can be fired

On Behalf of | May 21, 2015 | Employees' Rights |

Many Detroit residents may have misconceptions regarding the benefits given to federal employees. It is often believed that the rights of federal workers and non-federal workers are very different. The agency that handles the appeals of federal employees who have been dismissed has listed these misconceptions and, according to the list, the first misconception is that federal employees are protected from dismissal. This is not true.

As happens in private sector businesses, federal employees are also judged on the basis of their performance. According to the Merit Systems Protection Board, more than 77,000 federal employees have been fired from their jobs due to poor performance. Employees are removed from positions only after the MPSB reviews documentation and conducts hearings to fully understand the circumstances of the accused person’s misconduct or poor performance. Fired employees may appeal a dismissal to a three-member governing board and then, if not satisfied, to a federal court, if they believe that the decision made by the MPSB was wrong.

An employee who has been removed from services is not entitled to be paid. However, if the appeal for reviewing the discharge is favorable to the employee and the earlier decision was found to be inappropriate, the employee may be reinstated to the previous position held with full salary and other benefits. Employees accused of criminal matters may be removed from their positions immediately, even if the charges are not clearly established or proven.

Contrary to popular belief, even senior employees may be removed if the MPSB finds their performance to be below the expected standard of performance for that level. The MPSB also suggests that most laws regarding employee rights are the same in both private sectors and federal departments.

Source:, “You can’t fire a federal employee? Don’t tell that to the agency that hears their appeals,” Eric Yoder, May 11, 2015


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