The Merit Systems Protection Board recently overturned an
administrative law judge’s decision affirming a mail
handler’s removal during her probationary period for
failing to consider her status as a disabled veteran.
Ordinarily, a postal service employee may file an appeal to
the Board only if the employee is veteran’s preference-eligible
or is a supervisory employee and has completed one year of
continuous service in a same or similar position. Finding
the mail handler had been terminated before she finished
one year of service, the administrative judge found the
Board could not hear her case. However, in her petition for
review, the mail handler alleged that the Postal Service was
violating a veteran’s preference provision in connection
with a personnel action in her case citing the Uniformed
Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and the
Veterans Employment Opportunities Act.
In reversing the administrative judge’s decision, the Board
concluded that under both acts, a veteran, such as the mail
handler, is considered a “person” and is therefore not
prohibited from filing an appeal to the Board. The Board
remanded the case to the agency for further proceedings.