Disciplinary Actions -- General Steps for US Employees

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1. Consult with the Employee Relations Specialist (51 MSS/DPCE) assigned to your organization.

2. Interview the employee in private; tell him/her the purpose of the interview, and that you are considering taking disciplinary action. Clearly state the problem and the facts.

3. Give the employee an opportunity to respond and to express his/her views. If the employee requests time for thought before answering, the request should be honored. If the employee answers, consider the response and explanation offered. If the response does not resolve the matter, advise the employee that the matter is not resolved and that a decision will be provided in the near future. Write a summary of the employee's response.

4. Gather and document the facts (include date, time and nature of offense). If appropriate, obtain signed statement from, or interview other employees, supervisors, or witnesses who observed the incident. Collect and keep documentary evidence, such as security reports, time cards, investigative reports or extracts, and relevant material of any previous record or action used to support the proposed action and attach to the summary of the employee's response.

5. Determine whether or not disciplinary action is appropriate. If not appropriate, tell the employee. (No further action is required.) If disciplinary action is appropriate, review AFI 36-704, Attachments 3 and 4. If the disciplinary action being considered is more severe than an oral admonishment, complete the "Douglas Factors" (see Atch 1 to this Fact Sheet).

6. Consult with the Employee Relations Specialist (ERS) and present your disciplinary package for review and advice. In consultation with the ERS, the supervisor will prepare an official notice proposing the action. Note: The Civilian Personnel Flight (CPF) is the primary local source of authoritative information and interpretation of policy and procedures concerning civilian discipline and adverse actions and shares in management's responsibility to ensure that actions have merit and comply with governing requirements. Accordingly, prior to providing a proposed notice of disciplinary or adverse action to an employee, the complete package must be reviewed by the ERS and a case file assembled. Once the ERS has completed review and assembled the case file, the action is coordinated through appropriate members of the Civilian Personnel Flight and the Staff Judge Advocate's Office.

7. After appropriate coordination, the documentation is returned to the supervisor to issue to the employee. After the proposed notice has been issued, the employee may reply orally, in writing, or both. If an employee replies orally, the deciding official must prepare a summary memo and attach it to the Douglas Factors. No decision will be made to effect the proposed action until after the time allowed for the employee's reply. The employee's reply is normally directed to a management official higher in the chain of command than the proposing official. However, a Reprimand is normally proposed and decided by the same management official.

8. The deciding official must consider the employee's response(s) and is required to either complete a second set of Douglas Factors or review the Douglas Factors previously used to propose the action (adding any new information; annotating that he/she has independently reviewed the factors, and that the information remains relevant to the action). The deciding official then signs and dates the Douglas Factors. The deciding official in consultation with the ERS prepares a notice of decision. All material relied on to support the decision is assembled in the case file. It is, again, reviewed and staffed for coordination.

9. After coordination, the deciding official issues the decision to the employee.
Douglas Factors
(This fact sheet is provided as a brief overview only. For more complete information refer to AFI 36-704, Discipline and Adverse Actions.)