Legislative History: Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 | Free Essay Example

Legislative History: Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

Words: 820
Topic: Law


The Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) of 1978 was an essential step towards creating an effective government system in the US. President Carter together with unions created a system in which employees could serve the country and perform their duties. The law had direct and indirect implications on the federal and local levels as it influenced the way organizations operated. Other proposals were implemented to support the rights of employees in the country as well. This paper aims to explore the issues that led to the creation of the CSRA and to examine how it had influenced the environment of civil services.

Main Body

CSRA had addressed many of the concerns of federal employees. Before 1978, the civil service in the US was described by President Carter as a “bureaucratic maze” (as cited in Ogrysko, 2018, para. 4). Lack of motivation for work and inability to advance in one’s career were the main issues with employment by the government. The restrictions and regulations associated with work made it impossible for the personnel to perform tasks better. It was believed by the public that those who served the government could not be removed from their positions as the disciplinary system was overly complicated. Therefore, the CSRA’s implementation was vital to ensure that the US government functions properly and effectively, as it had been experiencing a variety of issues.

The implementation of CSRA has made governmental agencies more effective as the changes brought by the reform were significant. Khan (2014), states that President Carter utilized business practices to enchase the efficiency of governmental processes. Besides, the cooperation between labor unions and lawmakers was essential in creating effective policy. According to Ogrysko (2018), the law was aimed at restoring valuable principles, providing more flexibility to managers, and aligning rewards with the performance of an employee.

The Civil Service Commission had seized to exist, having been replaced by the Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Personnel Management (“Civil Service Reform Act of 1978”, n.d.). The objective was to provide guidelines to the management while guarantying that the power would not be abused by officials. Disciplinary hearings were handled by the Merit Systems Protection Board, which researched whether an employee had violated any regulations with their actions. Additionally, Federal Labor Regulations Authority was established to ensure that unions can utilize the approach of collective bargaining while advocating for the rights of employees.

The CSRA of 1978 had direct and indirect implications for the civil service on the local and federal level. The direct influence the law had on agencies is the process in which they have operated. Because changes were made to how managers and employees handled their duties, the work process had become more efficient. The objective of the reform was to “provide the people of the United States with a competent, honest, and productive federal workforce reflective of the Nation’s diversity, and to improve the quality of public service” (“Civil Service Reform Act of 1978”, n.d., para. 14).

Thus, the law influenced each organization on the local level. On the federal level, the CSRA established a new practice for handling conflicts with employees through the Merit Systems Protection Board. The indirect implication that the CSRA had created was the perception of the governmental system by the public. Therefore, the CSRA had affected many aspects of agencies’ operation on the local and federal level.

Apart from the CSRA, other legislative initiatives were directed at improving work conditions for those who are employed by the government. According to Rubin (2018), the law is valid to this day, “the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, and its accompanying laws protect the rights of civil servants by prohibiting them from being fired because of their personal political beliefs” (para. 7). Thus, the changes that were made in 1978 remain essential for government officials throughout the years.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 were directed at improving work conditions and illuminating discrimination in the workplace. Although the laws were not solely enforced on the governmental employees, they were crucial for anyone who sought to find a job as they guaranteed equal rights and opportunities.


Overall, before the implementation of CSRA federal employees in the US were discouraged by the functioning of the system. The law change was a response to a variety of issues in the government system. Thus, CSRA allowed the employees to work more efficiently while offering the unions an opportunity for collective bargaining. The Merit Systems Protection Board and the Office of Personnel Management were created to address the existing problems, including the issue of investigating misconduct of employees. Additional laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and others enhance the workforce diversity and protect the rights of the personnel in the US.


Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. (n.d.). Web.

Khan, H. (2014). The passage of the Civil Service Reforms Act of 1978, and the business and the union: A non-zero sum game. International Journal of Public Administration, 37(1), 35 – 43. Web.

Ogrysko, N. (2018). Stars aligned for civil service reform in 1978; will they again in 2018? Federal News Radio. Web.

Rubin, J. (2018). Distinguished person of the week: Someone takes his oath seriously. The Washington Post. Web.