OSC Seal

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

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Washington, D.C. 20036-4505


(202) 653-7984

    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 supervisor.

    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 time-consuming litigation.”