Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (10/19/2015)

Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to remove or demote a VA employee based on performance or misconduct.

A determination that the performance or misconduct warrants removal or demotion may consist of any of the following:

  • neglect of duty;
  • malfeasance;
  • failure to accept a directed reassignment or transfer of function;
  • violation of VA policy;
  • violation of law;
  • insubordination;
  • purposeful omission, including by a supervisor, from an electronic wait list of the name of one or more veterans waiting for VA health care; or
  • other performance or misconduct as the VA determines warrants removal or demotion.

The VA may also remove such individual from the civil service or demote the individual through a reduction in grade or annual pay rate.

A demoted individual: (1) shall be paid at the demoted rate as of the date of demotion, (2) may not be placed on administrative leave or any other category of paid leave while an appeal is ongoing, and (3) may only receive pay and other benefits if the individual reports for duty.

The VA shall notify Congress of, and the reason for, any removal or demotion.

An employee shall have the right to an appeal before the Merit Systems Protection Board within seven days of removal or demotion. An administrative law judge shall have to make a final decision within 45 days of such appeal or the original decision becomes final. The Board or an administrative judge may not stay any removal or demotion.

Between the date on which an individual appeals a removal from the civil service and the date on which the administrative judge issues a final decision on the appeal, the individual may not receive any pay, awards, bonuses, incentives, allowances, differentials, student loan repayments, special payments, or benefits.

The VA may not remove or demote an employee without the approval of the Special Counsel if the individual seeks corrective action from the Office of Special Counsel based on an alleged prohibited personnel practice.

The Special Counsel may terminate an investigation of a prohibited personnel practice alleged by a VA employee or former employee after it has given the individual a written statement of the reasons for the termination.

(Sec. 3) The appointment of an individual to a permanent position within the competitive service or as a career appointee within the Senior Executive Service shall become final after a 540-day probationary period, which the Secretary may extend. Final appointment to a permanent hire shall be made by the employee's supervisor.