Federal Employee Misconduct Examples

Federal employee misconduct charges refer to allegations or accusations of inappropriate or wrongful behavior by individuals employed in federal government positions. These charges can encompass various actions, including violations of workplace rules, ethical standards, and laws.

Misconduct charges may lead to disciplinary actions, such as suspension, demotion, or termination, depending on the severity of the misconduct. In more severe cases involving criminal behavior, federal employees may also face criminal charges, leading to potential legal consequences. Filing and addressing federal employee misconduct charges involves investigations, due process, and various administrative and legal procedures to ensure accountability and fairness.

Federal employee misconduct charges we handle: 

  • AWOL: Repeatedly failing to report to work on time or being absent without proper authorization.
  • Insubordination: Disobeying or disrespecting a supervisor’s legitimate orders or refusing to perform assigned duties.
  • Lack of Candor/Falsification: Engaging in lying, fraud, or falsification of records.
  • Misuse of government resources: Inappropriately using government property, time, or funds for personal gain or non-official purposes.
  • Workplace harassment: Engaging in any form of unwelcome behavior that creates a hostile work environment, such as sexual harassment or bullying.
  • Conflict of interest: Being involved in activities or relationships that could compromise the employee’s impartiality or loyalty to the government.
  • Violation of security protocols: Breaching security procedures or mishandling sensitive information

Federal Misconduct Allegations Process

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.  

Federal Employee Misconduct Charges Defense 

If your Agency charges you with misconduct, it is your right to make sure you are treated fairly and receive due process. If you appeal to the MSPB, the Administrative Judge will consider whether the Agency met its burden of proof given the particular charge. To prevail, an agency must: 

  • Agency must prove charge(s): If your Agency has taken adverse action against you because of allegations of misconduct, the proposal to take the adverse action will identify the specific charges against you (e.g., lack of candor, insubordination, failure to follow leave policy, etc.). At the MSPB, the Agency must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the employee committed the misconduct as alleged in the proposal. Each charge has a burden of proof that the MSPB will use to determine whether the Agency proved its misconduct charge. 
  • Action must promote the efficiency of the service: The Agency must also establish that the adverse action it took against the employee “promotes the efficiency of the service.” This means there must be a clear and direct relationship between the articulated grounds for an adverse personnel action and the employee’s ability to accomplish their duties satisfactorily or some other legitimate governmental interest. 
  • The penalty must be reasonable: Finally, the Agency bears the burden of establishing that its chosen penalty is reasonable in light of the Douglas factors, i.e., in light of any mitigating evidence such as length of service, performance on the job, and potential for rehabilitation.

Engaging a federal employment attorney with experience in federal employment law and a track record of successfully representing federal employees in misconduct cases is essential. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Federal employees are protected from discrimination based on sex, gender, color, race, national origin, religion, age, and disability, and have the right to file an EEO complaint against their agency should they face discrimination. Federal employees also have the right to due process before being subjected to an adverse action  

Yes, federal employees can sue for discrimination, but first you must exhaust administrative remedies, which includes filing a formal complaint with your agency and letting 180 days pass. In many instances, federal employees elect to pursue their EEO complaints through the EEOC’s hearing process instead of filing a civil action. 

Federal employees must initiate contact with an EEO Counselor within 45 days of any act of discrimination. After an informal complaint stage, you will be issued a Notice of Right to File a formal complaint, which will permit you 15 days to do so.  

Federal employees do not have the right to sue for wrongful termination the way private sector employees do, but most federal employees have the right to appeal a removal to the MSPB, which will adjudicate whether the Agency can sustain any charges raised against you.  

Yes, most federal employees can file a complaint against their agency with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) if they are facing whistleblower retaliation. If OSC does not accept your complaint for investigation and prosecution, OSC will issue you an Individual Right of Action (IRA) notice giving you the right to pursue corrective action at the MSPB. Federal employees do not have the right to sue in court under the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Speak with Our Attorneys about Federal Employee Misconduct Charges today