On June 27, 2019, the Foreign Service Grievance Board ordered the reinstatement of a Foreign Service Officer represented by Daniel S. Crowley and Karey L. Hart.
The employee, whose personal hobby involved the study and preservation of reptiles, rescued a number of tortoises, turtles, and lizards, while posted abroad. When his tour ended, he tried to navigate the foreign, domestic, and international trade laws necessary to bring the reptiles home to the United States.
Claiming to have discovered irregularities in his paperwork, his employer, the U.S. Agency for International Development, charged the employee with poor judgment and lack of candor. The employee was placed on leave without pay in August 2016 as the agency pursued his termination through the FSGB.
The case was presented to a panel of three FSGB judges during a three-day evidentiary hearing. The Board found no “element of deception” in the employee’s conduct. As a result, the agency could not prove the lack of candor charge and could not fire the employee.
The employee will now be returned to work and paid nearly three years of back pay and benefits. HANNON LAW GROUP, LLP will also ask the FSGB to order the agency to pay all the attorneys’ fees the employee incurred defending himself.