U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES
CORRECTIVE ACTION AGREEMENT WITH THE IRS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 9/19/00
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has agreed to both
individual and systemic corrective action in a case involving clerical staff
in its Nashville, Tennessee call site office. An IRS employee complained to
the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) that she was hired as a Tax Examining
Clerk (Screener) GS-4, but was immediately placed in a Group Secretary,
GS-5, position with different duties than the position for which she was
hired. She further asserted that notwithstanding that she was in the GS-5
Group Secretary position, she was paid as a GS-4 Tax Examining Clerk.
The OSC investigated the complaint to determine whether
the agency violated 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(12). This provision of law states
that it is a prohibited personnel practice for an agency to violate a law,
rule or regulation that implements or concerns one of the merit systems
principles found at 5 U.S.C. § 2301. Here the alleged violated principle is
the failure of the IRS to provide equal pay for equal work. 5 U.S.C. §
2301(b)(3). The law, rule or regulation implementing that principle is 5
U.S.C. § 5101.
During the course of its investigation, OSC discovered
that there were three other IRS employees in the same situation as the
complainant. The IRS has now agreed to offer complete corrective action to
each of these individuals by providing retroactive promotions upon
eligibility and backpay where appropriate. In addition, the IRS agreed to
reassign the affected individuals at their requests to the positions for
which they were hired.
Further, the agency will provide systemic corrective
action in the form of training. The IRS will require that all of its
managers at the Nashville call site attend a minimum of four hours of
personnel management training. Another matter came to light during
OSC’s investigation; the possible misuse of seasonal appointments. The IRS
has agreed to investigate the issue, and work with the U.S. Office of
Personnel Management to develop agency-wide uniform guidance for the
appropriate use and to define the limitations of seasonal appointments.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel receives,
investigates, and prosecutes before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board
charges concerning the commission of prohibited personnel practices,
including reprisal for whistleblowing. OSC’s investigations frequently
result in the favorable settlement of complaints without litigation.