Filing Unfair Labor Practice Cases

The Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) creates rights and obligations on the part of unions, agency management, and employees. If either labor or management fails to perform its obligation to the other party, an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge may be filed. A ULP charge may also be filed if either labor or management interferes with the rights each has been given under the Statute. Employees may also protect their rights under the Statute by filing ULP charges against labor or management.

For example, it is illegal for agency management to threaten or retaliate against employees for seeking union representation or to refuse to provide a union information that the law requires the agency to provide. Similarly, unions may not try to influence management to discipline employees who did not join the union or refuse to represent employees because they are not union members. Neither an agency nor a union may refuse to bargain with the other in good faith. You can find out information about how the Authority has interpreted and applied the Statute to specific situations by searching Authority decisions; you can find additional information on specific subjects by searching historical Office of the General Counsel Guidance or Case Law Outline.

ULP charges are filed with the FLRA's Regional Offices, which can answer questions about this process. Information you may need about this process includes the form for filing a charge, the statutory section describing the violation, the regulations describing the process, Office of the General Counsel information on ULPs, and historical Office of the General Counsel Guidance memoranda on particular subjects. Alternative dispute resolution of ULP charges is also available.

The Regional Offices of the FLRA pursue charges filed with them by issuing complaints that are generally heard by Administrative Law Judges (ALJs). The procedures for hearings before ALJs are contained in the Authority's Regulations. After a hearing, the ALJ issues a decision recommending either that the complaint be dismissed or that a violation be found and relief ordered. If an appeal of the ALJ's decision is not filed with the Authority, then the ALJ's decision becomes final. In addition, the Office of Administrative Law Judges has a Settlement Judge Program, which attempts to settle ULP complaints.

A union, agency, or employee that is not satisfied with a decision issued by an ALJ may appeal that decision to the Authority within 25 days. Information concerning the filing of appeals is contained in the Authority's Regulations and checklists. Specific questions about appeals can be directed to the Office of Case Intake and Publication. Final Authority decisions concerning ULP complaints can be appealed to the federal courts of appeal.