What Happens after a Charge is Filed with the PAB/OGC?
- First, the PAB/OGC will notify GAO’s Office of General Counsel that a Charge has been filed and provide them with a copy of the Charge. Charging parties will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the Charge and a copy of the letter sent to GAO. The PAB/OGC will also provide charging parties with information about the Personnel Appeals Board’s (PAB) mediation process and how to request mediation if charging parties are interested.
- The PAB/OGC will then assign the Charge to one of the attorneys on staff for investigation. The attorney will contact charging parties shortly after the Charge is filed and may ask for additional information regarding the Charge. During the investigation of the Charge, the PAB/OGC acts as an independent investigator. In other words, the PAB/OGC does not represent charging parties when the Charge is initially filed with the PAB/OGC or during the investigation of the Charge. However, charging parties can choose to be represented by an attorney at their own cost during the PAB/OGC investigative process.
- The PAB/OGC will investigate the matters raised in the Charge. This may include requesting information and documents from GAO and interviewing witnesses. Upon completion of the investigation, a brief report summarizing the facts obtained and conclusions reached in the investigation, along with a Right to Petition Letter, is provided to charging parties. The report sets forth the results of the investigation conducted by the PAB/OGC and is not a decision of a PAB administrative judge. Only charging parties will receive a copy of the report.
- If the PAB/OGC determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe GAO violated the law, the PAB/OGC will offer to represent charging parties in a hearing before the PAB. Charging parties are not required to accept the PAB/OGC’s representation offer and, instead, may represent themselves or may choose someone else to represent them at their own expense. The PAB is not advised of the PAB/OGC’s determination. Please see the PAB’s Guide to Practice for guidance on filing a Petition with the PAB.
- If the PAB/OGC does not offer representation, charging parties may still file a Petition with the PAB. For more information on filing a Petition, please see the PAB’s Guide to Practice.
If the PAB/OGC has not completed its investigation or issued a Right to Petition Letter within 180 days of the date the Charge was filed with PAB/OGC, charging parties may forego the PAB/OGC investigative process and file a Petition directly with the PAB.
The PAB/OGC can also stay a personnel action after a Charge is filed. More information about the PAB/OGC’s stay process can be found by clicking on the Rights Protected Tab on the PAB’s website.