Adverse and Performance-Based Actions
Employees may challenge certain personnel actions by requesting that the Personnel Appeals Board (PAB) review GAO’s decision. Generally, the personnel actions that are directly appealable to the PAB are removal, suspension for more than 14 days, reduction in pay or grade, or furlough for 30 days or less.
As discussed below, GAO must follow a pre-decision process before making certain personnel decisions.
Adverse Actions- 4 C.F.R. § 7.6
GAO employees who have completed their probationary periods may be subjected to a removal, suspension for more than 14 days, reduction in pay or grade, or furlough for 30 days or less, only for such cause as will promote the efficiency of GAO. 4 C.F.R. § 7.6(a). A non-probationary GAO employee against whom an adverse action is proposed is entitled to the protections in 4 C.F.R. § 7.6(b), such as the following:
(1) 30 days’ advance written notice (unless there is reasonable cause to believe that the employee has committed a crime for which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed) stating the specific reasons for the proposed action;
(2) A reasonable time (at least 7 days) to answer orally and in writing and to furnish affidavits and other documents in support of the answer;
(3) Be represented by an attorney or other representative; and
(4) A written decision and the specific reasons therefore at the earliest practicable date.
Performance-Based Actions- 4 C.F.R. § 4.3
Performance-based actions generally pertain to reductions in grade or pay and removals when the actions are based on performance criteria. Employees against whom performance-based actions have been proposed are entitled to the protections in 4 C.F.R. § 4.3 such as the following:
(1) Advance written notice of the proposed action that specifies the instances of unacceptable performance on which the proposed action is based and the critical elements of the employee’s position involved in each instance of unacceptable performance;
(2) Be represented by an attorney or other representative;
(3) A reasonable time to answer orally and in writing; and
(4) A written decision that specifies the instances of unacceptable performance on which the reduction in grade or pay or removal is based and has been concurred in by an employee who is in a higher position than the employee who proposed the action (unless the action was proposed by the Comptroller General or by a senior manager, e.g., an Assistant Comptroller General, or a Division or Office Director).
GAO employees who are not members of the Senior Executive Service, and against whom an adverse or performance-based action has been taken, may appeal that action to the PAB by filing a Charge with the PAB/OGC. Usually, a Charge arising from an adverse or performance-based action must be filed within 30 days from the effective date of the action. As discussed herein and under other sections of the “Rights Protected” and “How to File” tabs of the PAB website, an employee who has been subjected to an adverse or performance-based action may, in addition to appealing the decision to the PAB, have alternative avenues for challenging the decision.
Please note that employees covered by the collective bargaining agreement between GAO and the GAO Employees Organization, IFPTE Local 1921, should contact the GAO Employees Organization to see what additional rights they may have under the negotiated grievance procedure related to adverse and performance-based actions.