Federal Court of Appeals Approves MSPB Standard for Government Shutdown Furloughs

In Synder v. Dept. of Navy, Federal Circuit, April 27, 2017, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed Merit Systems Protection Board’s approval furloughs of the plaintiff resulting from the October 2013 sequestration.  The legal standard applied is that an agency’s furlough decision must “be a reasonable management solution to the financial restrictions placed on the agency” and the agency must “determine which employees to furlough in a fair and even manner.” 5 U.S.C. 7513(a); 5 C.F. R. 1201.56(a)(1)(ii)(2015).  This standard had been employed in several earlier cases including Einboden v. Dept. of the Navy, 802 F.2d 1321, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2015). Federal agencies have the legal authority to furlough employees, but they must do this in the proper manner and the employees remain entitled to recover the pay that they lost.

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