Workers considering accepting positions subject to mobility agreements should be aware that any non-acceptance of geographical redistribution may result in distance without recourse. The right of an agency to impose a move and dismiss employees who refuse to move has been enshrined in case law since 1980. If the employee is not covered by a mobility agreement, the Agency must prove that he is making the move for legitimate management reasons that would promote the efficiency of the service and sufficiently inform staff. If the Agency is able to cope with this burden and the employee is unable to prove that it is a pretext, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) generally maintains the distance. If staff are covered by a mobility agreement, the distance is even easier for the Agency to defend. Gallegos did not contest its refusal to meet the mobility requirement. On the contrary, it raised a number of objections, including the argument that the Agency did not provide any evidence, with the exception of the mobility agreements it signed, that the underlying targeted reallocation had promoted the efficiency of the service. In this context, Mr Gallegos argued that in the case of a mobility agreement, the Agency had to present the same presentation as no mobility agreement. The board rejected the applicant`s arguments and distinguished her case from Miller v. Department of the Interior, 119 MSPR 438 (2013). In this case, the Board decided that an agency had to demonstrate, by means of preponderant evidence, that a geographical redistribution of a staff member who is not subject to a mobility agreement had been properly ordered, on the basis of good faith management considerations, in the interest of promoting the efficiency of the service, in order to maintain a distance taken as a result of the non-acceptance of a directed redistribution.
The complainant, Gallegos, was a GS-13 investigator. As a condition of her employment, Gallegos had to establish a mobility agreement in which she acknowledged that any non-acceptance of a geographical transfer could condition her on separation from the federal service. In 2012, the agency informed Gallegos of an implemented transfer from Florida to Virginia. She refused the transfer and the Agency withdrew it following an indictment for "non-compliance with a condition of employment". Here`s the key – if you accept this job, you`d better be willing to move where they tell you – and not complain. This could mean leaving behind his family and friends. .