The Merit Systems Protection Board sided with the agency in all the furlough appeals it had adjudicated as of Tuesday, a board official said.
The quasi-judicial agency had decided 40 fiscal 2013 furlough appeals as of Sept. 10, said William Spencer, clerk of the board. Thirty-five were filed by employees of the Federal Aviation Administration; three were from Environmental Protection Agency workers, and the remaining two appeals were from employees at the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration.
MSPB judges decide each case on its individual facts, but so far it seems that winning back pay could be a long shot for the thousands of employees who have filed furlough appeals. Typically, an agency must demonstrate that the adverse actions taken -- in these cases, furloughs -- were reasonable under the circumstances and promoted “efficiency of service.”
The 40 completed cases are only a fraction of the more than 30,000 furlough appeals Defense Department employees have filed to date. Defense civilians were forced to take six days of unpaid leave this fiscal year because of sequestration.
MSPB, which only has about 200 employees in Washington and in eight regional offices nationwide, has docketed nearly all of the 32,000 furlough challenges that employees have filed to date this fiscal year. Defense employees filed 99 percent of the appeals.
The agency plans to consolidate similar appeals to expedite the process.