U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES FAVORABLE
SETTLEMENT OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEE’S COMPLAINT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 7/24/98
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today
announced the favorable settlement of a complaint filed with it by Deborah
L. Shaw, a federal employee, against the Social Security Administration (SSA),
Shaw was employed by SSA as a temporary attorney in 1995.
She sought union assistance to obtain the promotion of GS-12 lawyers in her
office, and the union eventually filed a grievance. Shortly thereafter, in
June 1997, SSA proposed Shaw’s termination, claiming that she had engaged
in certain disruptive conduct.
Shaw filed a complaint with OSC alleging that her
proposed termination violated 5 U.S.C. 2302(b)(9), which makes it a
prohibited personnel practice to take, fail to take, or threaten to take or
fail to take a personnel action against an employee for exercising any
appeal or grievance right granted by law, rule or regulation. OSC conducted
an investigation that uncovered reasonable grounds to believe that the real
reason SSA had proposed Ms. Shaw’s termination was because of the exercise
of her right to file a union grievance. OSC obtained stays of Ms. Shaw’s
termination during the pendency of its investigation, and she continues to
be employed by the agency.
The specific terms of the settlement agreement, which
grants Shaw full corrective action, are confidential. The settlement was
approved by the Merit Systems Protection Board’s (MSPB) Chief
Administrative Law Judge, Paul G. Streb, on July 6, 1998.
Shaw’s attorneys, Michael Kator and former MSPB Vice
Chair Jessica Parks of Kator, Scott & Parks, said: "OSC’s
thorough investigation and aggressive action have saved the career of a
talented and dedicated government employee. Only the Special Counsel’s
diligence and zeal prevented the SSA from carrying through its unlawful
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel provides an
independent avenue to protect merit systems principles in federal
employment. OSC receives, investigates, and prosecutes before the MSPB,
charges concerning the commission of prohibited personnel practices, with
priority given to protecting whistleblowers. In addition, the Office
provides a secure channel for federal employees who possess information
regarding legal violations, gross mismanagement, fraud, waste and abuse.