Gallegos did not deny that it had refused to meet the mobility requirement. Rather, it raised a number of objections, including the argument that, apart from the mobility agreements it signed, the Agency had provided no evidence that the underlying targeted reallocation had contributed to the efficiency of the service. In that context, Gallegos argued that, in a case concerning a mobility agreement, the Agency must make the same representation as in the case of a zero mobility agreement. The Board rejected the appellant`s arguments and distinguished his case from Miller v. Ministry of the Interior, 119 MSPR 438 (2013). In this case, the Board decided that an organization must demonstrate, by compelling evidence, that a geographic move of an employee who is not subject to a mobility agreement was duly ordered on the basis of good faith considerations of management in the interest of promoting the efficiency of the service in order to maintain a dismissal issued due to the non-acceptance of a directed move. The complainant, Gallegos, was a GS-13 criminal investigator. As a condition of her employment, Gallegos had to issue a mobility agreement in which she acknowledged that any non-acceptance of a geographical transfer could make her dependent on separation from the federal service. In 2012, the gallegos agency informed of an impeded transfer from Florida to Virginia. She refused the transfer and the agency dismissed her on charges of “non-compliance with a condition of employment.” One question I have received on this subject concerns mobility agreements.
Some workers are required to sign mobility agreements as a condition of employment. If the employee refuses to move, he may be dismissed because he does not meet a condition of employment. This leads to the misconception that only employees with mobility agreements can be condemned to move. Other employees may also be ordered to move. The right of an organization to force a move and dismiss employees who refuse to move has been enshrined in case law since 1980. If the employee is not covered by a mobility agreement, the agency must demonstrate the burden of the move for legitimate management reasons that would promote the effectiveness of the service and adequately notify employees. If the agency can shoulder this burden and the employee cannot prove that the reason is a pretext, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) will generally maintain the distance. If the employee is covered by a mobility contract, the distance is even easier for the agency to defend. The Commission concluded by noting that if it accepted Gallegos` application, it would exercise the discretion of the agency`s management to determine the requirements and conditions for positions in its workforce, and that the agency`s policy establishes legitimate management reasons for the requirement of mobility – organizational effectiveness and career development of employees. The Merit Systems Protection Board held MSPB 53 (July 17, 2014), that the complainant`s expulsion for non-compliance with a condition of employment was appropriate if the complainant, although subject to a mobility requirement, refused a targeted move. Without going into the merits of this or any other proposal, the idea of a targeted redistribution to the different suburban areas deserves to be discussed.
Can the government force you to move or risk losing your job? Do they have to seek congressional approval? Do you need a mobility contract? What options do employees have if their workplace moves but they don`t want to follow? Workers considering positions subject to mobility agreements should be aware that any failure to adopt geographical redistribution may result in distance without recourse. .