Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

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Civil Service Reform Act of 1978
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An Act to reform the civil service laws.
Enacted by the 95th United States Congress
Effective October 13, 1978
Public Law 95-454
Statutes at Large 92 Stat. 1111
Titles amended 5 U.S.C.: Government Organization and Employees
U.S.C. sections created 5 U.S.C. ch. 11
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 2640 by Abraham A. Ribicoff (D-CT) on March 3, 1978
  • Committee consideration by Senate Governmental Affairs
  • Passed the Senate on August 24, 1978 (87-1)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on October 4, 1978; agreed to by the Senate on October 4, 1978 (agreed) and by the House on October 6, 1978 (365-8)
  • Signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on October 13, 1978

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, (October 13, 1978, Pub.L. 95–454, 92 Stat. 1111) (CSRA), reformed the civil service of the United States federal government, partly in response to the Watergate scandal. The Act abolished the U.S. Civil Service Commission and distributed its functions primarily among three new agencies: the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).

  • OPM provides management guidance to agencies of the executive branch and issues regulations that control federal human resources.
  • FLRA oversees the rights of federal employees to form collective bargaining units (unions) to bargain with agencies. The CSRA imposes standards on the officers of those unions which are enforced by the Office of Labor-Management Standards in the U.S. Department of Labor.[1]
  • The MSPB conducts studies of the federal civil service and hears appeals of federal employees who have been disciplined or otherwise separated from their positions. Personnel actions which discriminate among employees based on marital status, political activity, or political affiliation are prohibited by the CSRA. Federal employees may file complaints regarding possible violations of this rule with the Office of Special Counsel, which was created as a subunit of the MSPB.

Patricia W. Ingraham and Donald P. Moynihan describe the CSRA in Evolving Dimensions of Performance from CSRA Onward as "mov[ing] from personnel administration to the specific linking of human resource management to broader management activities and performance."[2]

Under the "rank-in-the-person" provision of the act, agency heads can move career senior executives into any position for which they are qualified.

The CSRA is codified in scattered sections of Title 5 of the United States Code.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS): The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) Standards of Conduct at US Dept. of Labor web site
  2. ^ Ingraham, Patricia W.; Donald P. Moynihan (2000). The Future of Merit. p. 103.