OSC Seal

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

1730 M Street, N.W., Suite 300

Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


(202) 653-7984      

    Today, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) had granted OSC’s petition to stay the termination of Mr. Roger L. Hoyt from his position of Computer Specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Alexandria, Louisiana. OSC requested the stay after determining that its ongoing investigation provided reasonable grounds to conclude that Mr. Hoyt’s protected activity of filing two union grievances was a significant factor in the VAMC’s decision to terminate his employment.

    Mr. Hoyt engaged in protected activity when he filed grievances, under a collective bargaining agreement between the VA and his union, the American Federation of Government Employees, on July 31, 1999 and August 31, 1999. Mr. Hoyt prevailed, in large part, in the first grievance. The VAMC’s decision to terminate Mr. Hoyt’s employment made the second grievance moot.

    Mr. Hoyt was appointed to a position as a Computer Specialist at the Alexandria VAMC on September 27, 1999. Mr. Hoyt’s appointment was terminated on the last day of his probationary status, September 24, 1999. Performance evaluations during this time, on March 31, 1999 and July 9, 1999, indicate that his performance was successful. In the July 9th performance review, both of Mr. Hoyt’s supervisors recommended that his employment be continued beyond the probationary period. Mr. Hoyt also received a performance award on September 10, 1999.

    In its termination notice, the agency cited eleven incidents as the basis for Mr. Hoyt’s termination. Four of the events predate, at least in part, the July 9, 1999 performance review that recommends the continuation of his employment. Five of them stem from the events that were the subject of his first grievance. In looking at the time line, the agency’s termination action was not initiated until more than seven weeks after the date of the primary incident of alleged misconduct and yet was initiated only two weeks after Mr. Hoyt’s filing of the second grievance.

    OSC requested the stay to complete its investigation and conduct a legal review of the information obtained to determine if the termination action was taken against Mr. Hoyt because of his protected activity. Under the Board’s decision, the stay will remain in effect for 45 days while OSC completes its investigation. Should OSC decide that Mr. Hoyt’s grievances were a significant factor in his proposed termination, it may then petition the MSBP for formal corrective action and/or attempt to negotiate a settlement with the Department of Veterans Affairs on his behalf.

    The Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency whose basic mission is to guard against prohibited personnel practices. 5 U.S.C. § 2302 (b)(9) 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.