A union representing over 260,000 employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs has won a case against the agency’s policy of firing people and posting details of the terminations online.
The court ruling found that the VA was guilty of unfair labor practices against the American Federation of Government Employees by publicly posting what we’re called “Adverse Action Reports,” which allowed for disciplined workers to be easily identified.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service arbitrator Andrew Strongin issued a ruling demanding that the VA remove the AArs from its website, and to prevent from doing any similar action until they could achieve compliance with the Privacy Act.
According to Task & Purpose, the AARs included the easily-identifiable information in regards to infractions, to include the type and date of disciplinary action, as well as the employees grade, level, category, and position.
The ruling was handed down in March, though it was only announced last week after the decision was finalized.
While the Accountability Act made it easier for VA management to fire, suspend or otherwise discipline employees, some feel that the system has been abused in order to publicly shame lower-level employees, while infractions by administrators are allowed to slip by.
The actions were allegedly taken by the VA “in a pursuit to shame employees and erode veterans’ trust in the VA,” according to AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “VA leaders should be focusing on improving veterans’ access to quality health care at VA facilities, not publicly shaming employees and violating their privacy.”
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