Comments on the Legality of ACTION's Reduction in Force

B-205445: Published: Mar 8, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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An opinion was requested on the right of ACTION to implement a reduction-in-force (RIF) eliminating positions in the Peace Corps. It was alleged that ACTION had not consulted with the Peace Corps about the impact of the RIF and that ACTION may have violated a labor-management agreement. In 1981, the Peace Corps was separated from ACTION and established as an independent agency. Regulations regarding the procedures for conducting a RIF stipulate that it is the responsibility of agency management to determine which functions will be eliminated and which will be continued. GAO did not find any provision of law restricting the authority of ACTION to carry out a RIF in its offices which provided joint support services, nor any law that required ACTION to consult the Director of the Peace Corps prior to the RIF. ACTION stated that its RIF was essentially carried out because of the scheduled phaseout of another program, but this explanation did not account for the abolishment of the Peace Corps' Office of Former Volunteer Services. GAO did not find any evidence that the RIF action was carried out for any reasons other than those stated in the RIF notices or any indication that ACTION violated any federal or agency regulations that would invalidate the RIF. The question of whether the RIF violated the applicable labor-management agreement was currently being considered under grievance procedures and, therefore, was not appropriate for consideration by GAO. Based on the information reviewed, GAO could not conclude that the RIF was legally erroneous.

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