This bill — known as the MERIT Act — would establish an alternative way for the heads of federal agencies to expedite the removal of employees for poor performance or misconduct. It would only allow appeals to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) if they’re made within 7 days after the removal. Removals for those causes would negate protections that ordinarily afford employees at least 30 days advance written notice of the proposed action, a reasonable time to answer the proposal orally and in writing, representation by an attorney, and a written decision (a process agency heads could continue to use).
When the MSPB receives an appeal, it would be required to issue a decision within 30 days after the appeal’s date. In any case when an MSPB judge can’t issue a decision within 30 days, the removal would be considered final.
The MSPB would uphold the decision of an agency head to remove an employee if the decision is supported by substantial evidence, and couldn’t stay any removal unless the reason for the appeal is related to prohibited personnel practices (like discrimination or retaliation against a whistleblower).
The bill’s full title is the Modern Employment Reform, Improvement, and Transformation Act of 2017.