Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC

A Washington, D.C. based law firm with a civil practice in employment law

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Back Pay Act Restored for FAA Employees

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.’.

KPW Argues “Difficult” Case Before the Federal Circuit

On February 10, 2012, Michael Kator argued before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a case involving threats to due process protections for federal government employees.  In the case of Norris v. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Kator asked the court to reverse a termination decision, and protect worker due process rights.  The agency’s decision to fire Mr. Norris was based in part on evidence not provided to him.  Also, an arbitrator reviewing the case had refused to consider evidence regarding changes in Mr. Norris’s medical condition, and how the improvement in his condition may have impacted his ability to perform his job.  Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk described the questions presented by the case as a “difficult area” of the law.  The court took the case under advisement.

To listen to a recording of the oral argument, please click here.

Federal government focuses on sexual orientation discrimination

The federal government has focused on stopping discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) federal employees and applicants.  The Office of Special Counsel recently invited Kator, Parks & Weiser to a meeting to explore the federal government’s focus on this area.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management recently published a helpful guide for LGBT employees and applicants who are experiencing discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  The attorneys of Kator, Parks & Weiser have been at the forefront of the fight to end discrimination against LGBT employees in the federal workplace.  To learn more about this issue and how Kator, Parks & Weiser may be able to help you, please click here.

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