Recent Supreme Court Ruling Impacts MSPB Appeal Rights

The Supreme Court recently determined that federal employees appealing certain decisions from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) can file for judicial review in federal district court. In Perry v. MSPB, No. 16-399, 2017 U.S. LEXIS 4044 (June 23, 2017), the Supreme Court decided that the proper forum for judicial review of cases involving discrimination (including “mixed cases”) decided by the MSPB is federal district court when the MSPB dismisses a case on the merits, on procedural grounds, or on jurisdictional grounds.

In Perry, an employee of the U.S. Census Bureau appealed his suspension and coerced retirement to the MSPB, alleging discrimination based on race, age, and disability, as well as retaliation based on a prior complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The MSPB administrative law judge presumed Perry’s retirement to be voluntary and dismissed his case for lack of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court held that for case like Perry, a mixed case dismissed by the MSPB on jurisdictional grounds, the proper forum for judicial review is federal district court.

The ruling in Perry correctly applies the law and expands the rights of federal government employees to seek judicial review of MSPB decisions. Employees are better served by the opportunity for the applicable federal district court to hear MSPB cases alleging discrimination when the case is dismissed on the merits, procedural grounds or jurisdictional grounds.