You’re Fired! Congress Rings in the New Year with Measures to Undermine Your Job

Categories: Congress, Budget

Well, that didn’t take long. In its first action of the new year, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform passed two bills making it easier to fire new and career federal employees. If it has its way, new federal employees could be fired for any reason for the first two years of their employment. 

Currently, most employees are on probation for one year with little recourse if accused of wrongdoing. The bill, H.R. 3023 passed by the committee would double the probationary period, subjecting the employees to the whim of managers for a much longer period of time and effectively stripping the employees of the rights to defend and protect themselves.

“There is little if any evidence that suggests at least doubling the length of the probationary period for federal employees generally improves government performance,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “If a supervisor can’t determine whether an employee can do the job successfully after one year, maybe they should be the one under the microscope.”

The panel led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah also passed another anti-worker bill that would interfere with management flexibility to efficiently resolve personnel matters by requiring the agency to include in the employee’s personnel file a permanent notation of an adverse action taken even after the employee has left the job.

There are two other anti-worker bills pending in Congress, but the committee deferred action on them. One would artificially limit how much time an employee facing disciplinary action could be placed on administrative leave and another would give managers unfettered ability to discipline employees under the guise of IT security.

“These bills would punish the whole workforce for the potential actions of a few and would undermine basic principles of due process that have been in place for decades,” Cox added.

AFGE outlined our opposition to the four bills in a Jan. 11 letter to Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland.

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