U.S. Supreme Court
Employment — federal employees
A federal employee who claims that an agency action appealable to the MSPB violates an antidiscrimination statute listed in §7702(a)(1) should seek judicial review in district court, not the Federal Circuit, regardless whether the MSPB decided her case on procedural grounds or on the merits.
Two sections of the CSRA, read naturally, direct employees like Kloeckner to district court. Begin with § 7703, which governs judicial review of MSPB rulings. Section 7703(b)(1) provides that petitions to review the Board’s final decisions should be filed in the Federal Circuit—“[e]xcept as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection.” Section 7703(b)(2) then provides that “[c]ases of discrimination subject to the provisions of [§7702]” “shall be filed under” the enforcement provision of a listed antidiscrimination statute. Each of the referenced enforcement provisions authorizes an action in federal district court. Thus, “[c]ases of discrimination subject to the provisions of [§7702]” shall be filed in district court. Turn next to §7702, which provides that the cases “subject to [its] provisions” are cases in which a federal employee “has been affected by an action which [she] may appeal to the [MSPB],” and “alleges that a basis for the action was discrimination prohibited by” a listed federal statute. The “cases of discrimination subject to” §7702 are therefore mixed cases. Putting §7703 and §7702 together, mixed cases shall be filed in district court. That is where Kloeckner’s case should have been, and indeed was, filed. Regardless whether the MSPB dismissed her claim on the merits or threw it out as untimely, she brought the kind of case that the CSRA routes to district court.
639 F. 3d 834, reversed and remanded.