Supreme Court Declines Case Involving Due Process for Feds in 'Sensitive' Positions

fstockfoto/Shutterstock.com

The Supreme Court this week denied a hearing on a lower court decision that prevents federal employees in national security “sensitive” positions from appealing terminations or demotions, effectively allowing the ruling to stand.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in August that federal employees -- mostly at the Defense Department -- in sensitive positions had limited appeal rights with the Merit Systems Protection Board. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case of a worker challenging the appeals court decision spells the end of the line for federal employee and whistleblower advocates, who have decried the decision as a blow to due process.

The decision opens approximately 200,000 federal employees whose jobs are deemed sensitive to unilateral terminations, according to the Office of Personnel Management, including those without security clearances or access to classified information.

The ruling has created a “one-two attack” against federal employees, according to the Government Accountability Project. OPM and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence proposed a rule in May 2013 that would expand the positions labeled as sensitive.

While OPM has denied any expansion and said the rule would simply offer clarification, GAP has said the new guidelines could “rebrand virtually any federal government position” as sensitive.

A Senate subcommittee held a hearing on the issue of sensitive positions in November, leading its chairman, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to introduce with bipartisan support a bill to ensure due process for employees in sensitive-designated jobs. The legislation has yet to move out of committee.  

(Image via fstockfoto/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.