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BOP Agrees to Settlement After Its Demotion Action Found Without Cause

Following a ruling in favor of an employee by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, a settlement was reached between the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the employee.

John E. Cannon was the Acting Warden at Federal Correctional Institution Phoenix on April 13 through April 15, 2001.  He was advised on April 13 that four prisoners who were moved due to renovations to their cell area refused to move into their new cell assignment.

The refusal to move was due to the new housing being “considered a protective custody range.”  Due to their refusal, the prisoners were placed in a shower and handcuffed in front.”  They were provided an opportunity to move into the new housing, afforded meals in styrofoam trays from the mainline, and allowed regular use of the bathroom in dry cell.  On April 15, the prisoners agreed to move into the new housing.

Cannon received on June 26, 2001, an evaluation that found he was performing “at an acceptable level of competence.”  Yet, on September 4, 2001, Cannon received notice of demotion from Associate Warden to Correctional Program Officer at the Community Corrections Office for “failure to exercise sound correctional judgment” based on the April incident.

The Merits Board found Cannon “controverted the alleged failure to provide decent, humane treatment to the inmates.”  As such, the BOP failed to meet it burden and its “action was arbitrary and capricious.”  Following that ruling, Cannon and the BOP reached a settlement agreement on May 17, 2002.

It provided for pay retention to his previous grade at his current position, an increase in job responsibilities, an upgrade in his performance level, a 14 day suspension to be served by Cannon, back pay for the demotion period, and attorney fees of $6,808.36 and Cannon must retire within 30 days of the earliest date his is eligible.  See: Cannon v. U.S. Dept. Of Justice, U.S. Merit System Protection Board, Case no DE- 0752-0152-I-1.

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Related legal case

Cannon v. U.S. Dept. Of Justice