What to know about Common Charges Used to take Adverse Actions against Federal Employees
While under 5 U.S.C. § 7512 (Chapter 75), an agency may take an adverse action (i.e., removal, reduction in pay or grade, or a suspension of more than 14 days) whenever a federal employee commits misconduct, there are some charges including conduct unbecoming a federal employee/improper conduct, AWOL, lack of candor/falsification, insubordination/failure to follow instructions or policy, which arise more frequently than others. While an agency is not required to define the alleged misconduct with a specific charge, when it does label an act of alleged misconduct, it must prove the elements that make up the legal definition of the charge. Each charge has a distinct burden of proof an agency must meet by preponderant evidence when an employee appeals an adverse action through the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or other avenues, such as a grievance filed by a union. Below are some of the more frequently used charges:
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