U.S. OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL ANNOUNCES CORRECTIVE AND DISCIPLINARY ACTION IN CASE ALLEGING RETALIATORY DENIAL OF PROMOTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 12/19/02
CONTACT: JANE MCFARLAND
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) today announced the favorable resolution of a petition for disciplinary action that OSC filed with the Merit Systems Protection Board in August, 2002, against Ms. Jill Stringer, the Regional Personnel Director of the Defense Commissary Agency’s (DeCA) Midwest Region. OSC’s petition had alleged, among other things, that Ms. Stringer twice took steps to prevent union steward Raymond Cantu from receiving a promotion to a higher graded meat-cutter position, in retaliation for his filing a grievance challenging the circumstances under which Ms. Stringer’s husband had been hired at DeCA’s Fort Sam Houston Commissary. OSC’s petition also charged Ms. Stringer with advocating for her husband’s eventual promotion.
Pursuant to a settlement agreement, in which Ms. Stringer does not admit liability, she will be suspended for 45 days without pay for the violations charged in OSC’s petition. In addition, OSC announced that DeCA had taken voluntary action to retroactively promote Mr. Cantu to the position he had been denied, with backpay.
In announcing the resolution, Special Counsel Elaine Kaplan stated that she was “very pleased that in this case OSC secured a full remedy for Mr. Cantu, whom OSC concluded was the victim of reprisal, as well as a significant suspension of Ms. Stringer, whom we believe engaged in retaliation.” She noted that “a hallmark of the merit-based civil service system is that employees are guaranteed the right to pursue challenges to the lawfulness of management actions through available grievance and appeals processes. Persons in authority who punish employees for exercising these fundamental rights should be held accountable. The 45-day suspension that Ms. Stringer will serve does so,” she said, “and should serve as a warning to others who might abuse their authority.”
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal agency that investigates and prosecutes complaints alleging the commission of a prohibited personnel practice. In cases where an OSC investigation reveals reasonable grounds to believe a prohibited personnel practice has been committed by a covered federal official, OSC may prosecute a petition for disciplinary action before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).