Careless or Negligent Performance of Duties

Melville Johnson
October 28, 2020

As with anything else, it is important that you are careful and responsible as you carry out your duties as a federal employee. Failure to do so can harm the agency, the public, and yourself, which is why a federal agency can discipline an employee for Careless or Negligent Performance of Duties.


           A federal agency proves this charge against a federal employee by showing that: (1) the employee engaged in conduct affecting his/her duties as an employee; (2) the employee knew or should have known the standard of care for carrying out his/her duties; (3) the employee engaged in conduct that violated that standard and duty; and (4) the conduct indicated a lack of due care, at a minimum.


           The Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”) appears to define lack of due care or negligence as “failure to use such care a reasonably prudent and careful person would use under similar circumstances.” If the agency characterizes the employee’s actions as “gross negligence” or conduct that is “reckless or willful,” then it is held to a higher standard of proof. In any event, intent is not an element of the charge but may be a penalty consideration. The main way to defend against this charge is to factually dispute the elements of the charge.

The federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. are highly experienced in MSPB and EEO matters such as these, and are willing and able to assist you in your federal employment legal matters. Call or message us today to discuss your situation and learn how we can assist you.

This blog and web site published by Melville Johnson, P.C. should not be used as a substitute for seeking competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney. Readers of this information should not act upon any information contained on this blog or website without seeking professional counsel.
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