U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL SEEKS TO STAY THE
TERMINATION OF EMPLOYEE WHO FILED UNION GRIEVANCES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 11/1/99
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
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
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
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
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.