In Landmark Decision, MSPB Finds Federal Career Intern Program in Violation of Veterans Preference Rights


In a ruling issued last week, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) found that the Federal Career Intern Program (FCIP) was in violation of Veteran’s Preference laws, a decision holding major implications for the controversial program.

The case arose when David Dean and Larry Evans, both preference-eligible veterans, brought suit against the Office of Personnel Management and Department of Veterans Affairs, respectively. Dean argued that OPM failed to justify placement of positions filled under FCIP in the excepted service, and that this improper placement allowed them to circumvent the more transparent competitive hiring process. Evans filed suit against the Department of Veterans Affairs when the Columbia VA Medical Center violated his veteran’s preference rights by hiring nine out of nine available positions at the facility under the FCIP program.

In both cases, the MSPB ruled that the gentlemen’s veterans preference rights were violated:

“The Board has jurisdiction over both appeals, as each appellant exhausted his remedy with the Department of Labor, non-frivolously alleged that he is a preference eligible veteran, that the action(s) at issue took place after the enactment date of VEOA, and that the agency violated his rights under a statute or regulation relating to veterans’ preference.”

The November 2nd decision mandated that the program be placed under review, giving OPM 120 days to ensure that it is in compliance with Title V before resuming. It was also determined that both Dean and Evans were entitled to corrective action for the agencies’ violations.

“This was a landmark decision affirming veterans preference,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “It is vitally important to ensure that the men and women who served our country in uniform are afforded their rights under the law when applying for federal jobs.”