IRS Keeps Rehiring Problem Employees
|The IRS has a reputation for making lives miserable, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with it comes to its own employees. It seems that the IRS keeps rehiring employees that have been fired for misconduct or poor performance. I think I’ve talked to a few of them.
In response to this, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., has proposed a bill, titled the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act, that would prevent the IRS from rehiring these employees. She introduced this bill following a recent Treasury inspector general report that shows the IRS rehired more than 200 fired workers in a little over a year. Previous reports concluded this problem dated back to at least 2009.
- A fired worker with several misdemeanor theft convictions and one count of felony possession of a forgery device.
- 11 employees previously disciplined for unauthorized access to taxpayer accounts.
- An employee who was absent without leave for 270 hours—the equivalent of 33 work days.
- An employee fired for physically threatening co-workers.
- An employee fired for lying about previous criminal convictions on employment forms.
- 17 employees previously caught falsifying official documents.
What is even more insane is that two IRS employees fired for poor performance were actually rehired within six months. The IRS didn’t care. In a response letter to the Inspector General’s Office, the IRS’ chief human capital officer wrote that the IRS “determined its current process is more than adequate to mitigate any risks to American taxpayers, federal agencies, and its employees.”
So since the IRS has refused to change its hiring practices, the only recourse was congressional action. Since a previous version of Noem’s legislation passed the House, 345-78 - a little more than two years ago - it has a good chance to pass this time.
Some people may say this seems unfair because, like private-sector managers, federal managers sometimes may be unfairly critical toward employees that they don’t like. The difference here is that, unlike in the private sector, the government has multiple safeguards to prevent wrongful terminations. In fact, it is really hard to get fired from a federal government position.
There are four separate agencies to help fired federal employees challenge a termination. In many cases, an employee can have multiple agencies review their case one after another. Thorough to the point of absurdity, this complicated process of appeals can tie up a dismissal for years.
On average, the federal government only fires about 10,000 employees a year out of a workforce of 2.1 million. Another major reason is that many managers just ignore problem employees as long as they can, because of all of the paperwork just to fire one employee. A recent survey found that only 44 percent of federal employees said that steps were taken to deal with bad employees in their offices.
Considering how hard it is to get fired from the federal government, you really have to be a bad employee. Those type of employees should never be let back in. Rep. Noem’s legislation is long-overdue to create a workforce that works for the American people, not the other way around.