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Legislative Updates

MERIT Act would remove workplace due process rights

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) recently introduced the Modern Employment Reform and Transformation (MERIT) Act (H.R. 559), a bill to make it easier for agencies to fire federal employees.

Under the measure, agency heads who are political appointees would be granted authority to fire public servants based on the agency head’s determination of performance or misconduct.

While H.R. 559 claims to provide due process to affected employees—in the form of written notice of personnel action and the opportunity to respond—it severely diminishes the employee’s right to appeal, by forcing the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to make decisions within 30 days.

The legislation was referred to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), has stated that one of his priorities during this 115th Congress includes making it easier to fire “poor performers” in the federal workforce.

With Congress moving swiftly on priority issues, this legislation could advance. Letter carriers should be alert for calls to action.

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