U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES FAVORABLE SETTLEMENT OF COMPLAINT
ALLEGING RETALIATION AGAINST EMPLOYEE FOR FILING GRIEVANCE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 5/16/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced
the favorable settlement of its Petition for Corrective Action against the
U.S. Department of Navy on behalf of Mr. Joseph Perfetto, a Safety
Technician for the Navy’s Naval Support Activity (NSA) in Naples, Italy.
OSC’s petition, filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB),
alleged that the Navy had committed a prohibited personnel practice in
February 1999, when it proposed to fire Mr. Perfetto, because he had engaged
in the protected activity of filing a grievance against a departmental
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 Human Resources Office (HRO) and
began steps for terminating Mr. Perfetto during his probationary period.
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.
At OSC’s request, the Department of Navy voluntarily
stayed Mr. Perfetto’s termination and placed him on paid administrative
leave. OSC and the Navy later agreed to enter into a formal stay before Mr.
Perfetto’s probationary period ended on August 8, 1999. Subsequently, OSC
requested and was granted an indefinite stay of his removal by the MSPB,
which returned Mr. Perfetto to his job.
On December 9, 1999, Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan sent a
17-page Report of Prohibited Personnel Practices to the Secretary of Navy,
John H. Dalton. The report outlined OSC’s investigative findings that Mr.
Perfetto had been a victim of a prohibited personnel practice and that his
filing of a grievance was a significant factor in the decision to fire him.
Kaplan requested that the Navy provide full corrective action to Mr.
Perfetto and rescind his proposed termination. On January 14, 2000, OSC
filed a petition with MSPB seeking such action.
As a result of the settlement, which was approved
yesterday by MSPB Chief Administrative Law Judge Paul Streb, Mr. Perfetto
will receive full relief. He will be placed back in his Safety Technician
job and all references to his proposed termination will be removed from his
personnel files. (MSPB Docket Number CB-1214-00-0009-T-1.)
Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan said, “OSC’s action
demonstrates that rank and file, probationary employees do have rights.
Filing a grievance is a protected activity regardless of an employee’s
status.” Kaplan stated that, “OSC’s investigation uncovered
significant evidence that Mr. Perfetto was going to be fired in retaliation
for filing a grievance against a supervisor.” Kaplan noted that, “It is
fortunate that, due to OSC’s intervention and the cooperation of the
Department of Navy, Mr. Perfetto was able to continue to be paid while this
matter was under investigation.” Kaplan expressed her appreciation, “to
the Navy for settling this matter without the need for costly and