A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office boss who voluntarily retired claimed she was forced out because of her race and nationality after being demoted for nepotism, according to federal court documents.
Hoa Nguyen was working as a supervisory patent examiner when she “violated rules prohibiting nepotism in attempting to use her position in the agency to prevent her son, a probationary patent examiner also at the agency, from being fired,” according to testimony. The testimony is part of a U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) case that was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in D.C. The case was first reported by FedSmith.com.
Nguyen asked two supervisors if they could hire her son when his firing appeared imminent. Nguyen threatened to resign when her supervisor, Derris Banks, proposed reducing her grade on Sept. 6, 2013, and gave her a poor performance review because of her behavior.
But when technicians arrived to clear out her desk, Nguyen claimed she was forced to resign, even after her bosses said in writing she was welcome to stay at the reduced-grade position, according to the U.S. Appeals Court documents.
When Nguyen’s bosses rejected her proposal to take a 30-day suspension instead of a demotion, she submitted her retirement papers.
Nguyen also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint with her agency, claiming she was forced out “as a result of reprisal and discrimination based on race and national origin,” according to the court documents. (RELATED: EPA Pays Bureaucrats To Quit Instead Of Firing Them)
But the U.S. Appeals Court agreed with MSPB that Nguyen retired voluntarily, dismissing her case.
“Because we agree that Ms. Nguyen has failed to non-friviolously allege that her retirement was involuntary, we agree that the board lacked jurisdiction, and we affirm,” the U.S. Appeals Court claimed, agreeing with MSPB’s dismissal of the case.
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