The agency's duty to inform an employee that their performance is unacceptable includes specific requirements. The agency must inform the employee of the performance requirements or standards that must be met in order to demonstrate acceptable performance, and that unless the employee's performance improves to, and is sustained at, an acceptable level, the employee may be reduced in grade or removed.
A federal agency cannot discipline a poorly performing employee without giving that employee the opportunity to improve their performance. Additionally, the agency must offer the employee assistance to improve their performance. Typically, this is done by placing the employee on a Performance Improvement Plan, or "PIP."
During a PIP, the agency is supposed to provide an employee with a structured program consisting of assignments, instruction, feedback, and assistance, including training when necessary, designed to help the employee improve performance.
When placing an employee on a PIP, the agency is required to provide a PIP Notice which outlines the requirements and expectations for the employee, as well as what is required and expected of the agency.
While on a PIP, federal employees should ensure that they understand each element of the PIP and exactly what is required of them in order to achieve fully successful performance.
It is a good idea for employees to keep written records of questions and clarifications sought during the PIP and written records demonstrating that the agency management either did or did not live up to its requirements during the PIP.
This includes keeping records of whether management met with the employee, as well as any training or other assistance that was offered to the employee. At the end of a PIP, the agency is required to inform the employee whether they successfully completed the PIP.
If the employee is successful, and the employee's performance remains successful for one year following the completion of the PIP, the agency must remove any record of unacceptable performance from the employee's records. If the employee is not successful, the agency may propose the employee's demotion or removal.
If you are facing a Performance Improvement Plan, or demotion or removal as a result of failing a Performance Improvement Plan, the federal employee attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. may be able to help. Call or message us today to discuss your claim and learn how we can assist you.