An agency cannot enter into an agreement on relocation incentives during a period of service defined by the service contract to encourage the hiring of a staff member or by a previously authorized relocation incentive service contract. An agency may set up a moving incentive service contract during a period of service established by a previously approved retention incentive service contract, or a staff member receives pre-approved retention incentive payments without a service agreement. Workers wishing to take positions subject to mobility agreements should be fully aware that any geographical non-reallocation could lead to expulsion without recourse. One question I asked about this is about mobility agreements. Some workers must sign mobility agreements as a condition of employment. If the worker refuses to move, he or she may be dismissed because he or she does not meet a condition of employment. This leads to the mistaken belief that only workers with mobility contracts can be asked to relocate. Other staff may also be asked to relocate. The Merit Systems Protection Board in Gallegos v. Department of the Air Force, 2014 MSPB 53 (July 17, 2014), that the complainant`s expulsion for non-compliance with a condition of employment is appropriate if the complainant, despite being subject to a mobility application, refused a targeted reassignment. An agency`s right to force the move and dismiss workers who refuse to move has been enshrined in jurisprudence since 1980.
If the worker is not covered by a mobility agreement, the Agency is responsible for proving that it is doing so for legitimate management reasons that would promote the efficiency of the service and to adequately inform staff. If the Agency is able to fulfill this burden and the employee is unable to prove that reason is a pretext, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) generally maintains the distance. If staff are covered by a mobility agreement, it is even easier to defend the Agency`s move. An agency may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the authorization requirement if the worker is a member of a group of workers subject to a mobility agreement or when a larger organizational unit is transferred to a new service. In the context of such a waiver, an agency must indicate the group of covered workers, the conditions under which the waiver is allowed and the period during which the waiver can be applied. Categories of workers must be allowed for incentives to relocate according to the same criteria as those that apply to individuals.