S.1856 - A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for suspension and removal of employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs for performance or misconduct that is a threat to public health or safety and to improve accountability of employees of the Department, and for other purposes.114th Congress (2015-2016)
|Sponsor:||Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT] (Introduced 02/23/2015)|
|Committees:||Senate - Veterans' Affairs|
|Latest Action:||09/16/2015 Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Hearings held. (All Actions)|
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Summary: S.1856 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Bill Information (Except Text)
Introduced in Senate (07/23/2015)
Department of Veterans Affairs Equitable Employee Accountability Act of 2015
This bill authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to: (1) suspend a VA employee without pay if the employee's performance or misconduct is a clear and direct threat to public health or safety; and (2) remove a suspended employee when, after investigation and review, removal is determined necessary for public health or safety interests.
A suspended employee is entitled, after suspension and before removal, to:
- a written statement of the specific charges and an opportunity to answer the charges and submit affidavits,
- a case review by the VA before a decision adverse to the employee is made final, and
- a written statement of the VA's decision.
A VA employee who is suspended or removed is entitled to: (1) appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board; and (2) back pay, less amounts otherwise earned during such period, if the suspension or removal is determined to be unwarranted.
The VA shall:
- conduct an annual performance plan for each political appointee that is similar to that conducted for VA Senior Executive Service employees;
- provide managers with training on the rights of whistle blowers and how to address reports of hostile work environment, reprisal, or harassment; and
- develop a promotional track for technical expert employees that allows for career advancement without being required to transition to management positions.
Evaluation of VA managers shall include actions taken to address employee performance.
Before terminating VA employment an official who has participated personally and substantially in a VA acquisition that exceeds $1 million or held a key acquisitions position at the VA shall obtain a written opinion from a VA ethics counselor regarding any restrictions on activities that the official may undertake on behalf of a contractor during the two-year period after the official terminates VA employment.
A contractor may not knowingly provide compensation to such an individual during the two-year period unless the contractor determines that the individual has obtained or requested such written opinion.
The VA may not place an individual subject to disciplinary action on administrative leave for more than 14 business days during any 365-day period.