What is Due Process in Federal Civil Service Employment?

Source: U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, May 2015

From the press release:
The reasons why agencies must follow due process when removing Federal employees are explained in a new report issued by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, What is Due Process in Federal Civil Service Employment? The report discusses the current civil service laws that apply to adverse actions and the history behind their formation. It also describes the constitutional requirements such laws must comply with, namely due process. According to Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann, “The Constitution requires due process in any system where the Government must have just cause to act against an individual.”

The report explains that, in the Federal employment context, due process is: (1) a meaningful opportunity – before an adverse action takes place – for the individual to know the charges and penalty and present a defense; and (2) the ability to appeal a serious adverse action – such as a lengthy suspension, demotion, or removal – before an impartial adjudicator. …

The report walks the reader through a history of how and why the Government moved from a spoils system to a merit system; a discussion of court decisions explaining what due process the Constitution requires in a merit system; and an explanation of what the current statutes instruct agencies to do. The report also includes an appendix that discusses some misperceptions about adverse actions in the civil service and provides thoroughly documented corrections to clarify how the system actually operates today.