Adverse Action

In the context of federal public employment, one of a list of personnel actions taken against certain types of federal employees that can be appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board ( (MSPB). This definition of adverse action is more specific than the concept of an adverse employment action taken against an employee in retaliation for engaging in protected activity (see Practice Note, Retaliation: What is an Adverse Employment Action? ( ).

The list of appealable adverse actions includes:

  • Removals (termination of federal employment).

  • Reductions in salary grade or pay.

  • Suspension for more than 14 days.

  • Furloughs for 30 days or less for cause that will promote the efficiency of the federal agency's service.

  • Involuntary resignation or retirement (considered to be a removal).

(5 U.S.C. § 7511-7514; 5 C.F.R. § 1201.3(a).)

This list of adverse actions is the same as the list of otherwise appealable actions ( that a federal employee can appeal to the MSPB if the employee believes the actions were taken in retaliation for engaging in whistleblowing or other protected activity.

Other personnel actions may be appealable to the MSPB under different statutory authority.

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