News from Congress: On December 19, 2012, the House approved amendments to the Hatch Act which were previously passed by the Senate. The Hatch Act Modernization Act of 2012, S.2170, makes several changes to the Hatch Act which affect its disciplinary provisions and the scope of employees covered by the Hatch Act. According to Senate Report 112-211, these amendments were supported by Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner. S.2170 now goes to President Obama for his signature.
News from the Supreme Court: In a unanimous decision on December 10, 2012, the Supreme Court clarified the appellate procedures for federal employees appealing adverse actions in cases involving discrimination or EEO reprisal. The Court's decision in Kloeckner v. Solis, 568 U.S. ____ (2012), Case No. 11-184, reinstates the "mixed case" appeal process envisaged by Congress: MSPB cases involving claims of discrimination are appealed to the federal disctrict courts.
Developments at the OSC: On November 29, 2012, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) received a stay order from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), protecting four whistleblowers from threatened reprisal, including negative performance evaluations and bad employment references.