EMPLOYEES CAN WITHDRAW RESIGNATIONS & DOWNGRADE REQUESTS
At times, agency managers will pressure and even harass an employee to the point that he gives up and resigns or asks for a downgrade to an easier job. Once the managers have the signed request, they never want to let the employee take it back. But MSPB has said that it is not up to them; it is for the employee to decide.We were all reminded of that in the Board’s recent decision in Loredo and Dept. of Treasury, IRS, 2012 MSPB 129 (2012). On October 22, 2010 Loredo requested a downgrade when the management full-court press and threats became too much to handle. Five days later she asked to withdraw her requests only to be told that management would not allow her to. It then implemented the downgrade on November 21, 2010.
Loredo, a manager, filed an appeal with MSPB which overturned her downgrade because the agency failed to comply with the law. The Board once more pointed out the following:
. . . an employee has a right to withdraw an alleged voluntary demotion request at any time before its effective date unless the agency has a valid reason for refusing to permit the withdrawal. Id. Valid reasons include, but are not limited to, administrative disruption or the hiring of a replacement. Id. at 494. The agency bears the burden of proving by preponderant evidence that it had such a valid reason.
The lesson union reps is that the employee almost always can withdraw a resignation, retirement application or downgrade request the next day or any time before the agency makes it effective so long as the agency does not have a valid reason,. In other cases, the Board as noted valid reason can include administrative disruption or the hiring of a replacement. However, avoidance of adverse action proceedings is not a valid reason nor is an agency need to reduce its workforce or speculation about the possibility of a future RIF.