The MSPB has a little-known program known as the Mediation Assistance Program (MAP), wherein Federal Employees can attempt to negotiate a resolution to their MSPB appeal with their Agency.
In my experience, very few Agency attorneys have experience with, or even know of, the Mediation Assistance Program. This is unfortunate, because the program is probably one of the better mediation forums available to Federal employees.
Upon request to the Administrative Judge (preferably upon agreement of both sides), your case will be assigned to a qualified Board mediator. In my experience, this has usually been an Administrative Judge from a different region of the MSPB or a senior clerk with the MSPB. In one instance, I had occasion to work with an MSPB attorney on a matter being mediated while on appeal to the Full Board.
What makes this mediation process so much better than others is that the mediators seek to educate both Parties and their attorneys. Too many mediators in the EEOC and other forums rush to find “common ground”, and typically only find “common discord”. MSPB Mediators seem to have greater experience and training in evaluating the strengths and positions of both the Agency and the employee; as a result, they are better at helping both sides see the advantages to negotiating a resolution versus the disadvantages of going all the way to a hearing.
I recommend to all of my clients that they consider using the Mediation Assistance Program, if for no other reason than to explore creative solutions to their employment situation that they never saw before they filed the appeal. Not every case that goes to the MAP will actually settle, but the Parties will definitely leave the mediation much more aware of what may or may not happen at a hearing.
If the mediation is not successful, the case is returned to its original Administrative Judge, at which time all pending deadlines are re-calendared, and the case continues towards hearing.
If you would like to discuss your MSPB appeal with an attorney, or if you would like to discuss whether the Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC can help you in mediating your appeal before the MSPB, contact us today.