What Is the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978?

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About the CSRA and Why It Was Needed

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, or CSRA, was created in order to provide federal managers with the flexibility to improve Government operations and productivity while protecting employees from unfair or unwarranted practices. This federal law established the merit system principles (MSPs) and prohibited personnel practices (PPPs) that serve to protect federal employees and applicants for federal employment. The law abolished the U.S. Civil Service Commission, which was a government commission tasked with overseeing the merit-based selection system for federal civil service employees. The CSRA replaced the Civil Service Commission with three new independent agencies:

  • The Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) serves as the chief human resources agency and personnel policy manager for the Federal Government. OPM provides human resources leadership and support to Federal agencies and helps the Federal workforce achieve their aspirations while serving the American people. It also manages the U.S. civilian service.

  • The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)

The mission of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is to protect the merit system principles and promote an effective federal workforce free of prohibited personnel practices. The Merit Systems Protection Board hears appeals from federal employees and studies federal merit systems in an effort to protect the rights of federal employees.

  • The Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA)

The purpose of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) is to provide a collective bargaining framework for various classifications of federal service workers. The FLRA is involved in every aspect of the labor management relationship that exists between the federal government and its workers.

The CSRA is so important because it was one of the largest reforms in Federal personnel regulations since the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883. The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act provided for selection of some government employees by competitive exams instead of ties to politicians. This act made it illegal to fire or demote certain government officials for political reasons.

What Is Title 5 of the United States Code?

The CSRA is codified in scattered sections of Title 5 of the U.S. Code. Title 5 of the US Code is a positive law title of the United States Code. The term positive law refers to laws that require a specific action. In this case, this action is about protecting government organizations and employees. When we talk about title 5 jobs, we are referring to employees who are considered National Guard Civilians. Some employees are also considered “hybrids.”

These individuals are covered by Title 5 for performance appraisals and adverse actions, and they are covered by Title 38 for appointments and pay matters. Title 38 is a special pay authority used to recruit and retain employees in certain healthcare occupations. As a Title 38 hybrid employee, you are employed under a combination of Title 5 and Title 38 personnel systems.

The CSRA directly protects government operations and employees who are impacted by them, and The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC works to make sure protections like these are enforced. If you are a federal employee who is facing employment discrimination or another type of workplace injustice, we would he honored to represent your needs and advocate for your rights.

Do you need help from a lawyer, or are you interested in learning more about federal employment law? Call The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC at (202) 759-7780 or contact us online.