Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

Also known as: CSRA; Reform Act

Jimmy Carter

Signed into law by Jimmy Carter
October 13, 1978

The Civil Service Reform Act was passed in reaction to a belief that too many civil service employees were employed but could not be removed despite their incompetence or misconduct. The previously existing disciplinary system was complex and outdated in a patchwork. The CSRA rewrote, revised, and simplified the myriad statutes governing civil service. The goal was a more efficient system and civil service. It also sought to provide new protections for employees disclosing illegal or improper government conduct. The Reform Act established the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Personnel Management.

Enforcement & Remedies

The Civil Service Reform Act covers a swath of potential claims and appeals that can be brought before the Merit Systems Protection Board. The MSPB’s jurisdiction and power is not as broad as that at state and federal courts. It has authority to issue orders commensurate with the harm suffered by an employee. It can reverse personnel actions. It can restore back pay and benefits.

Notable sponsors: Abraham Ribicoff