Veterans' Preference Advisor
Appeal of Reduction in Force (RIF) Actions
Employees who believe that an agency has not complied with the law or with the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) regulations governing Reduction in Force have the right to appeal the action to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) except when a negotiated procedure must be used. Assignment to a position at the employee's same grade or representative rate is not appealable. Appeals must be filed during the period beginning on the day after the effective date of the RIF action and ending 30 days after the effective date. Time limits for filing a grievance under a negotiated procedure are contained in the negotiated agreement.
If an agency violates OPM RIF procedures. The Agency must correct the mistake by changing the status of the preference eligible veteran. The required change may be made before the RIF is implemented or after it has taken place. This may require the agency to use a temporary exception to keep one or more employees on the rolls past the Reduction in Force effective date in order to meet this obligation.
If an agency finds that an eligible employee reached for Reduction in Force separation or downgrading effective on or after November 18, 1997, was not provided retention preference consistent with P.L. 105-85, the Office of Personnel Management recommends that the agency take appropriate corrective action.
Employees are not subject to reduction in force while they are serving in the uniformed services. After return from active duty, they are protected from RIC action. If they served for more than 180 days, they may not be separated by RIF for 1 year after their return. If they served for more than 30 but less than 181 days they may not be separated by RIF for 6 months.
If an employee was separated or downgraded by Reduction in Force, the agency should determine whether or not the employee would have been affected differently based on the change in Veterans' Preference. If the employee would still be separated or downgraded, the agency should correct the employee's notice. If the employee was separated, the agency should also correct the Reemployment Priority List (RPL) registration (if any) to accurately reflect their Veterans' Preference.
If the corrective action results in a surplus of employees in one or more competitive levels, the agency may have to run a new Reduction in Force. However, the agency cannot retroactively adjust the results of the prior Reduction in Force.
An employee cannot be given Veterans' Preference without required documentation. The agency should work with the employee and the appropriate military service record organizations to obtain this documentation as soon as possible to avoid having to "rerun" the Reduction in Force at the last minute.