U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL OBTAINS STAY OF REMOVAL
OF EMPLOYEE ALLEGING RETALIATION FOR FILING GRIEVANCE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 8/5/99
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC)
announced that on August 4, 1999, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)
granted its petition to stay the termination of Mr. Joseph Perfetto from his
position as a Safety Technician for the U.S. Department of Navy’s Naval
Support Activity (NSA) in Naples, Italy. OSC requested the stay because its
investigation revealed reasonable grounds to conclude that Mr. Perfetto’s
protected activity of filing a grievance against a departmental supervisor
was a significant factor in the determination to fire him.
Mr. Perfetto began his appointment and one-year
probationary term as a NSA Safety Technician on August 8, 1998. He filed a
grievance against the NSA Director of the Public Safety Department (PSD) on
January 15, 1999. Almost immediately after learning of the grievance, the
PSD Director met with the NSA Director of the Human Resources Office (HRO)
and began steps for terminating Mr. Perfetto during his probationary period.
At that time, the HRO Director advised that the grievance should be resolved
before issuing the termination.
On February 17, 1999, the grievance was sent back to Mr.
Perfetto for him to amend and resubmit it. Later that day, Mr. Perfetto was
told that he was being terminated. Mr. Perfetto’s first-line supervisor,
who had rated him as “outstanding in all assigned and assumed duties,”
did not learn of the termination until after it was issued.
When Mr. Perfetto’s first-line supervisor met with the
PSD Director to tell him that Mr. Perfetto was an outstanding employee and
that it would be a mistake to terminate him, the PSD Director criticized the
supervisor for not providing him with information concerning the grievance.
He warned that the supervisor was walking “on thin ice.”
At OSC’s request, the Department of Navy had
voluntarily stayed Mr. Perfetto’s termination and placed him on
administrative leave. Although the Navy was willing to continue the informal
stay, the parties agreed that a formal stay should be entered because Mr.
Perfetto’s probationary employment period ends on August 8, 1999. The
formal stay the Board entered directs that the Navy maintain Mr. Perfetto in
his position for 45 days and tolls the probationary period for the duration
of the stay. During that period, the parties will attempt to achieve a
voluntary resolution of the matter. After 45 days, OSC may petition the MSPB
for formal corrective action. (MSPB Docket Number CB-1208-99-0062-U-1)