Back Pay Act Restored for FAA Employees

February 22, 2012

On February 14, 2012, President Obama signed into law the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.  The statute includes a little known, but very important, “technical correction.”  This correction retroactively restores to the Merit Systems Protection Board all remedial authority for FAA employees.  In the mid-1990s, Congress permitted the FAA to largely opt out of the federal civil service system, and create its own personnel system.  In 2000, FAA was generally placed back under the federal civil service, including under the MSPB’s jurisdiction.  But, whether intentionally or by mistake, Congress failed to restore the applicability of the Back Pay Act to the FAA.  As a result, the MSPB and Federal Circuit Court of Appeals held that FAA employees are not able to recover back pay from the FAA, even when they proved that they were wrongly terminated, suspended, or otherwise deprived of pay by the FAA.

The new law overturns these decisions and restores the Board’s authority to award relief under the Back Pay Act in appeals involving the FAA.  The technical correction thus resolves this longstanding problem for FAA employees, not only in future cases but also for all FAA employees who were prevailing parties against the FAA but were denied relief under the Back Pay Act at any time since April 1, 1996.

Kator, Parks & Weiser is currently assisting a number of FAA employees submit claims for back pay awards due under the new law.  Contact Kator, Parks & Weiser today to discuss the impact of this new law on your claims.

Section 611 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act states:

Section 40122(g)(3) is amended by adding at the end the following: `Notwithstanding any other provision of law, retroactive to April 1, 1996, the Board shall have the same remedial authority over such employee appeals that it had as of March 31, 1996.’.

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