[Request for Advance Decision Concerning Claim for Backpay]

B-211522: Oct 12, 1983

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An advance decision was requested concerning the period to which a claimant was entitled to backpay in compliance with an order of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The claimant had applied for a teaching position at an elementary school connected to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but she was not selected for the position. Later the claimant's husband was transferred to Korea, where his family joined him. The claimant filed a discrimination complaint against the Army that was upheld by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in a finding that her nonselection was due to racial discrimination. The Army was ordered to offer her a similar teaching position. If she declined the offer, EEOC further directed that the Army should award her a sum equal to the pay she would have received up to the date of the offer. The claimant received and declined the offer while she was in Korea. The Army questioned whether the claimant could be considered available for the position for the time during which she was in Korea. The employee contended that, if she had obtained the teaching position, she would have remained in West Point and would not have accompanied her husband on his tour of duty. In view of the claimant's statements that she would have remained at West Point had she received the teaching position and since GAO was not aware of any bar to her having been able to do so, GAO found that the claimant should be considered available for employment for the full period in question. Accordingly, payment was authorized for the amount due for the full period and the voucher submitted was returned for payment.