OPM’s Final Rule Emboldens Managers to Fire Feds for Political Reasons

Categories: The Insider

The Trump administration’s Office of Personnel Management has issued a final rule to allow employees to be disciplined or removed with little recourse. 

The rule change implements controversial anti-worker provisions of the three White House executive orders targeting federal employees. It greenlights arbitrary and discriminatory discipline against employees who will have little recourse to challenge poor or politically corrupt management. 

Among the most questionable provisions are rules that will: 

  • Abolish progressive discipline 

OPM wants to allow agencies to impose different penalties for employees doing the same thing – an open door for discrimination and retaliation. Arbitrators will also be prevented from ensuring that discipline and penalties are fairly assessed, leaving to managers the right to impose unfair penalties. 

  • Limit employee performance improvement periods to 30 days 

Agencies will not be required to provide assistance to employees looking to improve their performance, a step in the wrong direction since it takes an enormous amount of time and money to recruit, hire and train people. 

  • Abolish clean record settlements 

A clean record settlement allows an employee and the agency to quickly settle a dispute over an adverse personnel action. It prevents disputes from escalating into expensive, lengthy legal battles. But OPM wants to get rid of these settlements and make the entire process less effective and efficient and more contentious. 

“These rule changes erode key protections for civil servants that will make it easier for federal agencies to discriminate against federal employees and fire them for political reasons,” said AFGE President Everett Kelley. “Unfortunately, they are just the latest in a series of attacks by this administration on the apolitical government employees who serve our country with honor and distinction.”  

AFGE is reviewing the final rule and will be weighing our legal options accordingly. 

It’s worth noting that none of the concerns raised by our comments were addressed in the final rule. 


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